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Mokuaikaua Church named one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

June 24, 2014 - 8:27am

The 2014 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in alphabetical order):

Battle Mountain Sanitarium –Hot Springs, South Dakota. Battle Mountain Sanitarium has provided medical care to veterans in the region for more than a century, and is one of the few properties owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be designated a National Historic Landmark. Today, the VA is moving forward with a proposal to abandon the facility.

Bay Harbor’s East Island – Miami-Dade County, Florida. Bay Harbor’s East Island’s collection of Miami Modern buildings are threatened with demolition by development proposals.

Chattanooga State Office Building – Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Chattanooga State Office Building, a midcentury landmark in the heart of downtown, is threatened with demolition by its new owner.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House – Tallahassee, Florida. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed in 1954, Spring House is the only built private residence designed by Wright in the state of Florida, and its novel "hemicycle" form of is one very few surviving homes that Wright designed in this style. Weather and the ravages of time have deteriorated the building.

Historic Wintersburg – Huntington Beach, California. Historic Wintersburg is a Japanese American pioneer property with several existing structures that tell the story of Japanese American immigrants in Southern California, and is now threatened by demolition.

Mokuaikaua Church – Kailua Village, Kona. Mokuaikaua Church, completed in 1837, is Hawaii’s first Christian Church and is at risk from both earthquake damage and natural wear and tear.

Music Hall – Cincinnati, Ohio. A National Historic Landmark, Music Hall has played a significant role in the cultural fabric of Cincinnati since it was built in 1878. Today, it is deteriorating and in need of extensive repairs.

The Palisades – Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Several generations have cherished the scenic Palisades cliffs along the Hudson River. Despite its designation as a National Historic Landmark, the LG Corporation plans to build an office tower along the cliffs in New Jersey, forever altering the landscape.

Palladium Building – St. Louis, Missouri. The Palladium Building housed a nightclub in the 1940s that—although restricted to a whites-only clientele—played a prominent role in the development of African American music. It now faces an uncertain future because it is not protected by local or national historic designations.

Shockoe Bottom – Richmond, Virginia. Once a center of slave trade in America, Shockoe Bottom was home to Solomon Northup’s jail in "12 Years a Slave" and contains numerous underground artifacts. The site is threatened by potential development of a minor league baseball stadium.

Union Terminal – Cincinnati, Ohio. Union Terminal, an iconic symbol of Cincinnati and a world-class example of Art Deco architecture, is suffering from deterioration and is in need of extensive repairs.

Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua Village has been named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2014 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Mokuaikaua Church is Hawaii’s first Christian Church. Completed in 1837 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, Mokuaikaua Church represents the new, western-influenced architecture of early 19th century Hawaii, according to the trust. The stone and mortar building is believed to be built out of stones taken from a nearby heiau with mortar made from burned coral. Construction beams are made from ohia wood joined with ohia pins.

A Hawaiian landmark for nearly 200 years, Mokuaikaua Church now needs immediate attention to repair earthquake damage, as well as dysfunctional and faulty electrical wiring, termite damage, and dry-rot damage to beams in the steeple and wooden window frames, according to the trust.

“As the first Christian church in Hawaii, Mokuaikaua has withstood the ravages of island life nearly 200 years” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Today, however, it needs critical improvements to carry its history forward into a new century.”

The trust’s annual list highlights examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage, according to the orgnaization. More than 250 sites have been on the list during its 27-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.

Members of the public are invited to learn more about the 2014 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and hundreds of other endangered sites by clicking here.

Subscribers get the full story by West Hawaii Today reporter Erin Miller by clicking here.

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