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National Trust for Historic Preservation Calls for Nominations of Latino Endangered Sites

LatinaLista — The year 2012 will always be remembered as the turning point in U.S. Latino history. After all, it was the year when Latino voters fulfilled the prophecy of the ‘Sleeping Giant.’ Yet, as many know, it took years for the greater Latino community to reach this point.

It took years of creating communities and participating in local politics and society. The origins of those first communities that held those first Latinos daring to make a difference in their respective cities and towns have too often been sacrificed in the name of city progress.

The predominantly Hispanic communities of South Pasadena and El Sereno are distinguished by their handsome Victorian, Craftsman bungalow, and Mediterranean Revival-style houses. In the late 1980s, these well-preserved communities were threatened by a proposed six-mile, $1.4 billion freeway extension, which would have cut through four nationally-recognized historic districts and destroyed almost 1,000 homes and 6,000 mature trees. As a result of the planned freeway, thousands of long-term residents would have been forced to abandon their homes, neighbors, and distinctive heritage.

What is left behind isn’t much. But there is an opportunity to save what remains of the architectural, cultural and natural heritage of Latinos in the United States that are under threat of destruction or irreparable damage. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is calling for nominations of endangered Latino sites for its 26th annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Nominations are open until March 1, 2013 and though the sites don’t have to be famous they must meet certain criteria:

  • Be significant within their own cultural context
  • Illustrate important issues in preservation
  • Have a need for immediate action to stop or reverse serious threats

Achieving the distinction of being named an endangered historic place doesn’t just save the site, it preserves a little piece of a collective history of a community that values where it came from as it moves further forward.

“Historic places are a tangible reminder of who we are as a nation,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “For over 25 years, the National Trust’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has helped shine a spotlight on threatened historic places throughout the nation, helping not only to preserve these places, but also galvanizing local support for the preservation of other unique, irreplaceable treasures that make our nation and local communities special.”

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