June 24, 2014
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CINCINNATI - The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today that Cincinnati's Union Terminal and Music Hall were named to 2014's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation's architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. This is the first time in the 27-year history of the list that two sites from the same city are included.
Union Terminal, originally opened in 1933, is a piece of Cincinnati's past that has since become home to Cincinnati Museum Center, a cultural institution unrivaled in the region or the nation. The building is a city icon, a defining and instantly-recognizable feature of Cincinnati's landscape. Each year it welcomes over one million visitors to the Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and special exhibits housed within.
Union Terminal is plagued by significant deterioration accumulated during its 81 years. The structural and water damage has caused walls to warp, steel to rust, ceilings to crumble and bricks to bulge out from walls. The damage threatens the long-term viability of the building and the exhibits and artifacts in Union Terminal.
"While this designation has an ominous tone to its title, it is a sign that now is the time for our community to act and to delay no further," says Francie S. Hiltz, chair of the board of trustees of Cincinnati Museum Center. "I am even more pleased to know that as of today, Union Terminal and Music Hall will benefit from the attention of the Trust's National Treasures program."
In its 27-year history, the National Trust's Most Endangered Historic Places list has included over 250 sites. In that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.
"The National Trust is one of the world's most effective organizations in preserving our nation's history and culture," says Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. "The National Trust's attention is a resounding endorsement of the work happening now in our community to save our icons."
Designation by the National Trust as an endangered historic site has in the past been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites. Union Terminal officials are hopeful that the National Trust's recognition of the building's repair needs will boost community awareness and be another powerful advocate in the effort to save Union Terminal.
"The National Trust's attention is an endorsement of the recommendations shared with the County Commissioners and is a clear mandate that our citizens should have the opportunity to vote on this issue in November," says Hiltz.
About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution as well as national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, Museum Center was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Our Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within Cincinnati Museum Center include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. Recognized in Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, Cincinnati Museum Center welcomes one million plus visitors annually. Cincinnati Museum Center gratefully acknowledges operating and capital support from the taxpayers of Hamilton County and the State of Ohio. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org.
America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places has identified more than 250 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures since 1988. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country. 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 National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places. Learn more at www.preservationnation.org.