A federally created preservation group is seeking suggestions for its list of National Treasures.
A building, a boat, a neighborhood — even a nuclear plant — can become a National Treasure if it has a few key things going for it:
It must have national historic significance. People must care about it. And it must be in danger.
The designation was created in 2011 to help “significant threatened places” across the U.S. identified through the federally created National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Tim Mikulski, spokesman for the nonprofit National Trust, said 62 such treasures have been designated across the country, and the agency is seeking to identify more.
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The program’s intent is to attract attention (and funding) to preserve elements of local and national heritage before they crumble, disappear, sink or get swallowed up by development.
Besides the Panama Hotel, the only other treasure yet identified in Washington state is the Hanford reservation, one of three sites that together make up the Manhattan Project National Historic Park, authorized by Congress and President Obama within the past year.
The park, still in the planning stages, is envisioned as a way to preserve the formerly supersecret story of the creation of the World War II atomic bomb. The park will also include features at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Oregon has one treasure on the list, the Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks, south of Portland. The locks, operated since 1915 by the Army Corps of Engineers, have been closed since 2011 and need significant repairs.
Other treasures across the country reflect the variety in the program:
• The Miami Marine Stadium is an out-of-use concrete grandstand built in the 1960s on Virginia Key, where audiences of 6,566 watched boat races or performances staged on a barge.
• The Mountain View Officers’ Club at Fort Huachuca in Southern Arizona was built in 1942 for African-American officers in the then-segregated U.S. Army.
• Princeton (N.J.) Battlefield is the site of George Washington’s victory over the British and now the target of a housing developer.
• Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia is a three-story brick building where Frazier, who died in 2011, trained for his world-championship boxing career and later guided subsequent generations of boxers, offering inner-city youth an activity away from the dangers of the streets
Information about nominating a potential treasure is at www.savingplaces.org/apply.