What is the History?
Established in 1993, the Massachusetts’ Most Endangered Historic Resources Program is one of Preservation Massachusetts most important preservation advocacy and education tools. Local groups or individuals who are deeply concerned about the potential loss of these significant resources nominate sites from across the state. The list is one of the first steps in focusing statewide attention on the condition of these historic resources and their importance to communities, and often serves as a catalyst for extensive preservation opportunities.
What is the purpose?
The Most Endangered list at its core an advocacy and education “PR” program. Preservation Massachusetts utilizes our statewide visibility, resources and networks to promote the importance of these resources and work with the nominators and other involved parties to find a solution to the preservation challenge in a positive and cooperative manner. Since the first listing in 1993, only 24 resources have been lost, over 82 completely saved and restored and many more progressing well on the long road back from the brink.
What is the Process and Time frame?
Nominations to the MER program are accepted from early spring to the end of the summer via electronic and hardcopy form. The nominations to the program are reviewed by staff and nominators are contacted to acknowledge their nomination package has been received and to provide supplementary information, if necessary.
A Selection Committee of preservation professionals is convened in early September to review, discuss and chose the MER list. The MER Selection Committee is comprised of a diverse group of preservation professionals in fields such as architecture, history, construction, consultation, development, higher education, advocacy organizations and regulatory entities.
After a Most Endangered Historic Resource List is determined each nominator is informed of their resource listing or denial. Preservation Massachusetts then embarks on a “PR” campaign to raise awareness of the Endangered Resources through advocacy outreach to partners, and media outlet contacts via press releases, website updates, and electronic mailings. The Most Endangered list is formally announced each year at the Believe in Preservation event which takes place in the fall as a free event to celebrate historic preservation advocacy efforts.
What exactly is a Historic Resource?
A Historic Resource is defined a district, site, building, structure or object of historical, architectural, archaeological, engineering or cultural significance. Examples: commercial building, residential home, mill, farm, view-shed, cemetery, bridge, dam, statue, signage
How long does a resource remain on the list?
A resource remains on the Preservation Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resource list until it is saved, or sadly lost and is not re-listed. As part of website upgrades, Preservation Massachusetts will be noting the status of each resource.
What is Preservation Massachusetts role?
As each listing is unique, so is the role of Preservation Massachusetts with each listing. Creating energy and awareness for listings is the main objective of Preservation Massachusetts. Often times discretion and networking play an integral part in sending a resource and the people committed to seeing a positive outcome in the right direction. PM prides itself on being a conduit to nominators, owners, friends groups and the like to expand their capacity of handling historic preservation advocacy issues and to that end enjoying a saved resource.
What the MER is not:
The Most Endangered Historic Resource Program is not:
• Legally binding in any way
• Smear campaign or tool to shame an owner
• Entitle resources, their nominators, groups, or owners to funding, or professional services such as legal council
In 2013, Preservation Massachusetts conducted an in-depth review of the Most Endangered Program for it’s 20th anniversary. The retrospective, resource updates and other important information is in the process of being uploaded and arranged on our site. We hope that this new information will prove even more useful to our preservation partners as they take on their own preservation challenges or research past endangered properties.
See what 20 years of this critical program has done for preservation in Massachusetts and what we can learn for making this program better for the next two decades. Watch the 20th Anniversary Retrospective below.
For information on the 2014 Most Endangered Program please contact Courtney Whelan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Program Manager.
Peruse updates and our collective findings in our Massachusetts Most Endangered Historic Resources20th Anniversary Retrospective Report.