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. Glenn-O

    Put Charleston, Sc on the list; our historic district is getting buried under hotels, cruise ships, parking garages, and way too many developer interests.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      They put it on their "watch list" in 2011.

      June 6, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew

    If there's something 'historic' that happened in a certain location, then by all means protect it. If something's just old and was visited by someone who was involved in something truly historic, then it's just old.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Yossarian

    Zoar, Ohio was founded by "Geremans," if the photo caption is to be believed.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. FLwright

    Put a nice little story about these places in a book and tear em down... Think they would last another 50 years without maintenance? These are by no means architectural masterpieces.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dazzle ©

    BIG LOL!!!

    June 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Calcommuter

    If something is being condered by developers, you can say hello to development and goodbye to history. A greased politician is an easy politician. Tearing down bridges in Yosemite? That's just wrong.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tara

    Helen Keller's summer home in Wrentham, Massachusetts should definitely be on this list. Currently, it is a house divided into apartments.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |

    Notice how a lot of those sites are nice pieces of land greedy developers want to destroy

    June 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • cs

      Like the greedy developers that built the house you are living in.
      Or the greedy developers that built the whole foods market you shop in.
      Or the greedy developers that built the REI store you get your camping equipment in.
      Or the greedy developers that built your PAC office.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Thezel

    Developers! My G0D, can't we just demolish some old dilapidated inner city blocks for new development. Leave open space alone!

    June 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harry Bevere

    The childhood home of Malcom X... Really?


    June 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. raving

    Yeah, that part of Atlanta is a pile of crap.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ron

    The Sweet Auburn district should be saved. Everyone is saying this and that and passing it by. Sweet Auburn was the most prestigious black communities in the US. If it were not for the Tulsa Race Riot we would still have Black Wall Street to show off these powerful black communities. Joe Fraiser's gym can fall, either you love or hat Malcom X, Teddy's Ranch is beautiful but eh, but take care of "Sweet Auburn"

    June 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. edvhou812

    Just because somoene was born in a certain location doesn't mean that location is historic.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dana

    I live on an Island with tons of WW2 history that the natives are allowing to rot. Tens of millions could be made in the tourist trade if they would fix and promote the sites, loser race.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    I think if the buildings are safeable safe them if not do a notebook or something with pictures and information and tear down

    June 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
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