Indiana Landmarks announces top ten most endangered places

Eagle Cotton Mill, Madison
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Updated: .

A new list targets Indiana's most endangered historic landmarks.

The list, announced by Indiana Landmarks, includes the Anderson Athletic Park Pool in Anderson and Flanner House Homes Historic District and Phillips Temple in Indianapolis.

The goal of the list is to draw attention to Indiana's historic places in hopes of preserving and revitalizing them.

Indiana Landmarks says the places on its most endangered list are typically challenging to save. Since the first list came out in 1991, the non-profit says only 12 places among 92 were lost.

The 2013 10 Most Endangered list includes seven new entries and three landmarks making repeat appearances.

New on the list:

• Anderson Athletic Park Pool, Anderson - Most people who see pictures of the Anderson Athletic Park Pool say, "oh wow, cool pool!" Built in 1925, it is one of only a few swimming pools remaining of the 130 constructed across America following an unusual design by engineer Wesley Bintz. Bintz patented an egg-shaped above-ground pool that incorporated dressing rooms under the structure. Less excavation, lower construction costs…brilliant! Ten Most Endangered status will help draw attention to this unusual structure, sidelined since 2007 and threatened by vandalism and deterioration.

• Bowen House in Delphi, overlooking Deer Creek - The foreclosure crisis hits new and old structures, but it can strike historic houses with deadlier force. If a roof leak develops in a suburban house, a section of drywall gets ruined, and it's not a big deal to replace. When the tile roof of the Bowen House springs a leak, decorative plaster, wall murals, carved woodwork and wainscoting suffer-and may not recover if it remains vacant much longer. Built on Delphi's Main Street in 1896, it's one of the town's great Victorian houses. It's vacant, in real-estate limbo, and will endure slow demolition by neglect if something's not done.

• Brookview-Irvington Park Historic District and State Boulevard, Fort Wayne - A road-widening project threatens Fort Wayne's Brookview-Irvington Park Historic District, a neighborhood recognized for its picturesque natural beauty, landscape design, and landmark houses by women architects. A plan by traffic engineers proposes widening State Boulevard to four lanes, a change that would alter the historic landscape of the neighborhood, destroy historic houses and a bridge, and violate George Kessler's National Register-listed park and boulevard system. Indiana Landmarks hopes the 10 Most listing will launch a constructive dialogue with the city on alternatives that will minimize damage to the area's historic landscape and architecture.

• Eagle Cotton Mill, Madison - Madison was a working river town long before it drew attention for its dense collection of nineteenth-century houses and commercial buildings. The Eagle Cotton Mill was one of the workhorses, producing twine and fabric that shipped down the river. The four-story mill and additions survive, open to the elements in many places, in the heart of the city's National Historic Landmark District. The man who bought the place in 2007 installed a new roof on the tallest section, intending to reinvent it as a resort. The recession torpedoed his plans. The Eagle Cotton Mill, downtown Madison's largest landmark and connection to its industrial past, needs investment and redevelopment before the walls come tumbling down.

Flanner House Homes Historic District and Phillips Temple, Indianapolis - The National Register-listed Flanner House Homes Historic District in Indianapolis faces threats on two sides. The district's 181 houses were built between 1950 and 1959 through an innovative self-help cooperative. African American families, who found it hard to secure conventional mortgages in the segregated city, helped build their own homes. More than half are still owned by the builders or their descendants. Meijer wants to acquire and demolish 35 of the Flanner House Homes in its bid to build a massive store on city-owned land north of the district. Inside the southern border of the area, the original Phillips Temple sits vacant. Indianapolis Public Schools owns the 1924 African American landmark and wants to demolish it for parking. The Flanner House Homes district represents hard-won heritage that deserves respect, recognition, and protection.

• Kingsbury Ordnance Plant Employment Office, Kingsbury

• Walkerton Church, Walkerton

Repeating from 2012 list:

• Harmony Way Bridge, between New Harmony and White County, Illinois - The Harmony Way Bridge leads from the historic town of New Harmony across the Wabash River to Illinois. It's a 1930 iron toll bridge with a friendly human gatekeeper-or rather it was, until it was shut down. Declared unsafe, the National Register-listed bridge closed last May. Since then, business and tourism in New Harmony have declined. The White County Bridge Commission doesn't have the money for repair, and neither Illinois nor Indiana will accept responsibility for the span. Closed after it first appeared on the 10 Most Endangered list last year, Harmony Way Bridge is even more threatened in 2013.

• Old Clarksville Site, Clarksville

• The Pantheon Theatre, Vincennes

The prospects of seven places on the 2012 Most Endangered list improved enough that Indiana Landmarks removed the critical label:

• House of Tomorrow, Beverly Shores (listed in 2012) has a shot at restoration with an agreement in the works between Indiana Landmarks and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

• Jeffersonville Masonic Hall (listed in 2012) remains in limbo pending resolution of legal and insurance issues, but the city supports saving the landmark.

• Sylvan Springs, Rome City (listed in 2011) found a buyer for a portion of the site who will restore the historic dairy barn as a winery and reception venue. The remainder of the historic buildings still needs a preservation-friendly buyer.

• Taggart Memorial, Riverside Park, Indianapolis (listed in 2011) has new roof, thanks to a task force that raised the money and is working in partnership with IndyParks to pursue more improvements

• Tyson Auditorium, Versailles (listed in 2011) was purchased by locals who banded together and formed a nonprofit to operate the facility

• Wilkinson House, Muncie (listed in 2012) found a buyer who is restoring it

• American House, Centerville (listed in 2012) was purchased by preservation-friendly buyers