Each spring Indiana Landmarks releases its 10 Most Endangered list. Inspired by the environmental movement's focus on endangered species, over time many preservation organizations began creating such lists as a call to arms for saving historic places. Success for environmentalists means the regeneration of a species. For preservationists, it's the rescue and revitalization of a special place. Conversely, failure means extinction and the loss of an irreplaceable landmark.
Indiana Landmarks uses its 10 Most Endangered list in several ways. Sometimes it serves an educational role. It functions as an advocacy tool. And it can assist in raising funds needed to save a place. But in all cases, when an endangered place lands on our list, we commit to seeking solutions that lead to rescue and revitalization. Every listing comes with significant challenges. Success is never a forgone conclusion.
Of the 139 listings since 1991 when Indiana Landmarks inaugurated the 10 Most Endangered program, we can count 37 as restored, 48 safe, 38 still endangered, and 16 lost — a commendable record considering the host of threats encountered along the way. Among the saved and restored places are some Indiana Landmarks has saved outright. Many others involved collaborative efforts. And nearly all projects require more time than the one or two years the endangered place appears on the list.
I hope you’ll find the 2019 10 Most Endangered list motivating as we work together to secure a future for Indiana’s heritage. Check out the list at https://www.indianalandmarks.org/10-most-endangered/.
Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks