2008 – 2009 Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places

Maude Frazier Hall, Las Vegas
Built by Zick & Sharp Architects, Maude Frazier Hall held the first classes at UNLV. The building is named after Maude Frazier, who persuaded the State of Nevada to provide funds for a fledgling university system in southern Nevada. Despite an insensitive later addition, the building is an excellent example of the mid-century modern style with its long and low profile, ribbon windows, and asymmetric fa├žade. UNLV is currently developing a fifty-year plan for the university, with Maude Frazier Hall slated for potential demolition in the coming year.

 

The Paradise School, Las Vegas
Constructed in 1949, the Paradise School and associated buildings are located in the Paradise Township of Clark County, and is owned by Clark County. The school is Modern Ranch Style and may be attributed to Robert Stadelman, AIA and Associates. Stadelman designed many local elementary schools between 1949 and 1956, and a Moderne room tower addition to the Flamingo Hotel in 1947. The Paradise School remains one of the oldest intact elementary schools in Clark County. Currently, the proposed placement of the elevated monorail and track structure alongside the gym has the potential to threaten its National Register for Historic Places integrity.

 

The Las Vegas Historic District, Las Vegas
Listed on the National Register in 1991, the Las Vegas High School Neighborhood Historic District began development during the late 1920s. The neighborhood includes examples of several different Revival and Traditional styles of architecture. Since much of the original housing has been demolished or converted into professional offices, the historical integrity of the neighborhood has suffered significantly. Many times, the new development is too large for the neighborhood or does not reflect existing historic styles. Recent attempts to adopt recommended (non-regulatory) design guidelines for new development and alterations failed.

 

Building 100, Date Street Complex, Boulder City
Built in 1941, Building 100 served as the administrative offices of the Bureau of Mines Metallurgy Research Laboratory. The building is located within the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) Date Street Complex, and is listed as a contributing resource within the Boulder City National Register Historic District. Building 100 was designed by A.L. Worswick of Las Vegas, who designed many of Las Vegas’ most important public and private buildings. Currently owned by the BOR, the building has been gutted and roof removed, with the agency citing hazardous materials and other issues. The BOR has decided to demolish the building. However, as of press time, the demolition has been temporarily delayed until the Section 106 Review process is completed and its future is uncertain.

 

Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite was a typical, ephemeral Nevada mining town, platted in 1905 and essentially deserted by 1912. The town is historically significant because many of its buildings were constructed of stone and concrete, which was not a common practice at the time. Additionally, the town represents the end of nineteenth-century mining in Nevada. Most of the existing historic structures are deteriorating and in need of stabilization and/or rehabilitation. Additionally, the town is threatened by vandalism as well as the tourists who love it. Rhyolite is in need of financial support from the Bureau of Land Management as well as a full-time, one-site caretaker to protect the town.

 

The Nye County Courthouse, Tonopah
Built in 1905 at the cost of $55,000, the Nye County Courthouse was the seat of Nye County government until approximately ten year ago. The land had been donated to the county by Jim Butler, who is recognized for discovering the silver deposit that led to the formation of the town of Tonopah. When a new courthouse was built, the historic courthouse was virtually abandoned, except for housing a few non-profit organizations and a state agency field office. After it quickly feel into despair, Nye County Commissioners pledged nearly $200,000 to stabilize and replace the roof to arrest the decay. Currently, the building is an excellent candidate for restoration and rehabilitation projects.

 

Nevada Northern Locomotives 93, 40, and 81, Ely
For almost a century, locomotives 93, 40, and 81 hauled ore and passenger trains for the Nevada Northern Railroad. Yet, mechanical difficulties have currently sidelined all three locomotives. Without the original companies and individuals who manufactured and maintained these locomotives, the challenge is fabricating new parts from steel, brass and iron to put these machines back in service.

 

Stokes Castle, Austin
Stokes Castle is one of the state’s most recognizable historic landmarks. The three-story granite tower was built in 1897 for Anson Phelps Stokes, the driving force behind the Nevada Central Railroad and Austin’s mining industry at the end of the nineteenth century. Currently, it is owned by the Austin Historical Society, which has limited resources to maintain the structure. Stokes Castle faces threats from general decay and vandalism.

 

The Lagomarsino Rock Art Site, Storey County
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, the Lagomarsino Rock Art Site is among the most impressive collection of petroglyphs in the western Great Basin. Located roughly 12 miles north of Virginia City, the site consists of more than 2,000 panels of rock art. Relative inaccessibility and watchful ownership by Storey County have protected this site from overuse and vandalism in the past. Recently proposed suburban development, however, could encroach on site and expose fragile resources to increased vandalism and abuse. While the developer of the proposed housing complex has worked with the Nevada Rock Art Foundation to lessen the potential impact, many parties are concerned about how a large new community can not adversely effect such a fragile and important resource.

 

Commercial Row, Wells
Founded in 1869 by Central Pacific Railroad, Wells retains an enthusiastic grassroots preservation community that preserves the town’s numerous historic structures. However, following a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the Northeast corner of Nevada on February 21, 2008, Wells’ Commercial Row is in need of significant help. Even though the earthquake damage remains widespread, there is a lack of economic support for repair and rehabilitation. (Photo by Carl Poston)

 

Mid-Century Roadside Motor Courts
Following the Federal-Aid Road Acts of 1916 and 1921, which created a national network of two-land highways, automobile driving as well as the motor courts became popularized among American tourists. The buildings, built from the 1920s and 1960s, exhibit the “Wild West” and western lore, with weeping mortar, faux adobe, Spanish tile roofs, and covered arcades with heavy post and beam construction. The now-aging motor courts are often located in areas of town not frequented by tourists, and relegatedto long-term residential use if at all. They are threatened by rising land value as developers are encouraged to building high rise hotels that offer upscale amenities and all-inclusive resort experiences.