"History is made all around us all the time," said Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "And sometimes, there are very important pieces of history that take place in very common looking buildings."
On Wednesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its annual list of America's 11 most Endangered Historic Places.
"The 11 most list serves as an alarm when important places are threatened," Meeks said.
But while the organization sounds the alarm, Meeks noted it's the local citizens that make things happen.
"Grassroots preservation plays an important role in saving national heritage," she said. "There are 15 million local preservation activists working in their towns and communities across America. They are the heart and soul of the preservation movement and have been behind the great successes we've had with the 11 most endangered list."
The privately funded nonprofit organization works to save America's irreplaceable architectural, cultural, and natural heritage. The trust has identified over 233 threatened "one-of-a-kind historic treasures" since 1988 and uses the annual list, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, as a rallying call to raise awareness and save endangered sites from every region of the country.
The Trust's efforts run the gamut of American history from the oldest surviving McDonald's in Downey, Calif. to JFK International Airport's TWA terminal.
Attention from the nonprofit has, at times, quickly garnered public support to rescue a treasured landmark. In other instances, however, it has been the impetus for a long battle to save important pieces of American history.
Not all battles have ended well. According to Meeks, 10 sites have been lost over the past quarter century, including Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater and Detroit's Tiger Stadium. Both were demolished.
Three of the sites on this year's list, Ellis Island Hospital, Texas Courthouses, and Sweet Auburn Georgia, are carryovers from previous years. Meeks said there is more work to be done and she hopes that by including them again, the organization can spur additional conservation efforts.
"All of these places have great stories to tell," she said.
Click "Start" for a look at the complete list of the 11 most endangered historic places in America in 2012.