Lanai City One of the 2009 Most Endangered Historic Places

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This year marks the 22nd annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since 1988, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has used this list as a powerful alarm to raise awareness of the serious threats facing the nation’s greatest treasures. It has become one of the most effective tools in the fight to save the country’s irreplaceable architectural, cultural and natural heritage.

The list, which has identified 211 sites through 2009, has been so successful in galvanizing preservation efforts across the country and rallying resources to save one-of-a-kind landmarks that, in over two decades, only six sites have been lost. Dozens of sites have been saved through the tireless work of the National Trust, our regional offices, statewide and local partners, and preservation organizations across the country. Many more sites are considered “favorable” and are on the path to a positive solution. Still others remain threatened and the National Trust and its partners continue in their efforts to protect these important endangered places.

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2009’s Endangered Sites

» Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, CA

» Miami Marine Stadium, FL

» Dorchester Academy, Midway, GA

» Lāna’i City, HI

» Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL

» Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, MA

» Memorial Bridge, Portsmouth, NH & Kittery, ME

» Mount Taylor, Grants, NM

» Human Services Center, Yankton, SD

» Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, TX

» The Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay Hangar, UT

Today, Lāna’i is almost entirely owned by Castle & Cooke, one of the largest private landowners in Hawai’i. The company, which also owns Dole Foods and two high-end Four Seasons resorts on Lāna’i, recently submitted a three-part plan calling for the demolition or alteration of 15-20 historic buildings in Lāna’i City to make way for large-scale commercial development.

Currently, the two-block area that makes up Lāna’i City’s historic downtown is largely intact, but that may soon change as Castle & Cooke has already submitted demolition applications to Maui County’s Department of Planning.  Permit applications have been filed for the demolition of three residential structures, the police lieutenant’s house, the Lāna’i City jail, the laundromat and other historic commercial structures.

The new development proposal includes an oversized, out-of-scale grocery store, dramatically incompatible with the historic downtown. The grocery store’s parking lot alone would consume an entire city block. Local preservationists hope to convince Castle & Cooke that a preserved Lāna‘i City is a draw for heritage tourists and is, therefore, an economically viable solution.

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