June 6th, 2012
03:01 PM ET

Joe Frazier's gym, post offices on 'endangered historic places' list

[Updated at 5:42 p.m. ET] A Philadelphia gym where boxing great Joe Frazier trained and historic post offices nationwide are among the United States’ most endangered historic places, according to an annual list that a preservation group released Wednesday.

The 25th annual "America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places," released by the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation, lists what the group says are examples of important buildings, districts or landscapes that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.

The list includes the converted three-story brick Philadelphia warehouse where Frazier, a two-time heavyweight champion who handed Muhammad Ali his first professional loss in 1971's "Fight of the Century," trained throughout his career, according to the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

Frazier kept the gym open after his 1976 retirement, but it closed in 2008, three years before his death at age 67, according to the alliance.

The building, now home to a furniture store and two vacant floors, is for sale. In putting the building on its list, the NTHP says it hopes to identify a preservation-minded buyer and raise $10,000 to cover the costs of nominating it to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

"Joe Frazier was a sports legend, and he deserves a place that celebrates his legacy and his contributions to the sport of boxing,” Stephanie Meeks, NTHP president, said in a news release. "Without question, Joe Frazier's Gym is an important historic and cultural site, and bringing both protection and recognition to this site by placing it on the local and national registers would be a fitting tribute to one of our greatest athletes of all time."

Also on the list are what the group calls historic post office buildings that are closed or that may close in the near future. The group says that developers who would like to purchase and rehabilitate the buildings sometimes abandon their pursuit because they don't get timely or clear answers from the U.S. Postal Service regarding their disposition.

"There needs to be a clear and consistent process with these buildings no matter how they are disposed of, and that has not been provided," Chris Morris, a NTHP senior field officer, said by phone Wednesday.

In an e-mail to CNN, Postal Service spokeswoman Sue Brennan wrote that the service wants "to sell the property we have on the market," and that it is working with real-estate service provider CBRE to do this.

"And we follow all of the established laws and provisions regarding historical properties," Brennan wrote.

About 500 post offices have closed in the last two years, according to CNNMoney. The Postal Service, which reported a $5.1 billion loss last year citing a down economy, declining mail volume and a congressional mandate to prefund retirement health care benefits, recently backed off a plan to close thousands more post offices, deciding instead to cut hours at 13,000 rural sites, CNNMoney reported.

The NTHP's lists have highlighted 242 places over the last 25 years, with sites rarely appearing on the list more than one year.

(See the 2011 list)

The lists have "been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country," the group said in the release.

"At times, that attention has garnered public support to quickly rescue a treasured landmark; while in other instances, it has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history," the group said.

The 2012 “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list:

Gym where Joe Frazier trained, Philadelphia

Historic U.S. Post Office buildings

Bridges of Yosemite Valley, California

Ellis Island Hospital Complex, New York Harbor, New York and New Jersey

Last known surviving boyhood home of Malcom X, Boston

Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, New Jersey

Sweet Auburn Historic District, Atlanta

Terminal Island, Port of Los Angeles

Texas courthouses

Theodore Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, Billings County, North Dakota

Village of Zoar, Ohio

Do you know of a building, district, municipality or landscape that you think should be on this list? Please leave a comment below.

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Filed under: U.S. • U.S. Postal Service
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Katie

    None of those places are really all that important.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hope

    I don't get it...

    We worry about some heap of rotting timber and mortar, like it's something holy, while we let the earth and all living things in it go to pot. Is our short-lived history even worth celebrating in comparison?

    I feel ashamed of our past and look forward to a brighter future that doesn't depend on the things that corrode, but is everlasting.

    Breath in the Air, if you dare...

    June 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • raptor57

      malcom x ? one of the most dangerous man to the well being of this country, let's not forget mcveigh where is his house

      June 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ravioli

    Roosevelt's ranch, some of those bridges and the Ellis Island hospital are the only things worth saving out of that list. Malcolm X's (that racist's) home should be demolished

    June 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Paulo

    So a boxer punched a bag in a building, and that makes it historic and important? Please. Joe was a good boxer and added to boxing's legends, but was not a game changer or an icon. Tear down the building, install a nice park, and put a little plaque in the corner. Much better use of the real estate. Done and done.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Elizabeth

    I visited Zoar last December, and it is a jewel. People live there, but the whole town is also a museum, and the photos in this article don't show the beautiful center of the town with their unique buildings. Nothing is falling down; the only problem is that the levee on the nearby river needs to be repaired to prevent flooding. An entire town in danger of destruction; sure it happens due to weather disasters, but due to army corps. policy? This is one piece of Americana that is worth hanging on to; if they move the buildings it will change the plan of the town. The other endangered places are not difficult to repair, and could help people take pride in our heritage. There are other places that are endangered, such as some of the prehistoric Indian mounds and artifacts in Ohio and West Virginia. Right now people are counting their pennies and not thinking about tourism, but it is so much nicer to keep tourism close to home in America than to send people on a cruise to nowhere; this is truly money worth spending.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tsckay

    I think a lot of these are overly superficial. Historically, they hold some importance, maybe, but I think instead of worrying about this short and mostly irrelevant list of 'historical' places, we should worry about the Earth itself. As a whole, it's more historical than any of these named places, and is being ruined faster than it appears. :/ Just my opinion.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MarcNJ

    It's sad how little people care about history. Newer, bigger, shinier seems to be all that matters.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JustSayin

    Rosevelt's ranch, The bridges, and the ellis Island Hospital got it....the rest can go by the wayside.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda Thomas

      I agree! The others can be torn down and the property recycled!

      June 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CURTIS

    If these are the most endangered historic places, we must be doing something right. Dispose of all of them.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Really!

    "Geremans"??? Come on...

    June 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Calcommuter

      No, really, the Geremans. Jedediah and Honoriah Gereman...

      June 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. moronicarticle

    Um, I don't think that post offices and texas courthouses (both extrememly general in nature), need to be saved for historical purposes. If the building in question was not apart of an impactual part of history why would anyone consider trying to save it. I understand that the Post office is on the verge of extinction, but really? Unless you are saying it is the last standing post office in our country or the first one ever built than what would be the point. Not like anyone would ever visit it anyway. Maybe the people that created the list were high when they were thinking of places and it made sense at the time (cause it sure doesnt make sense to the rest of us). Historical society fail!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I don't look forward to be haunted by Mac the Mailman anytime soon.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Magic Loogie

      It could be worse. You could be haunted by Newman.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    Too bad they're confusing "old" with "historic". This is a non-story. Sounds like CNN wants to become hoarders of old places, and create more uses for taxpayers dollars to keep up sites that no one cares about or will visit.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Zammy

    People do care about history– when the places in question are worth saving in the first place. If any of these places WERE worth saving, they wouldn't be endangered. Do you agree or do you disagree?

    June 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    Lets raise taxes to preserve these places, call it a stimulus, and place the blame on Bush!

    June 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
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