What do a theater, a stadium and a former candy factory have in common? They all made Historic Fort Worth, Inc.’s 2022 list of most endangered places.
With the exception of 2020 and 2021, the preservation nonprofit has been putting together a list every year since 2004 to mark national preservation month and raise awareness of local structures in need of support.
Each year, the historic preservation group issues a public call for submissions. Their public affairs committee reviews the list and determines if the structures truly are at risk, which includes everything from facing encroaching development, structural damage or are in need of financial support to carry out a restoration plan.
“It’s really wonderful to have the public looking for endangered properties as well as our members, because everybody lives in different places, drives to work in different places, sees things differently,” said Jerre Tracy, the group’s executive director.
After the public affairs committee reviews and edits the list, they hand it off to Historic Fort Worth’s board for further review. The board can also make additions to the list.
“Really, it’s not meant to be punitive. It’s meant to create a conversation that typically doesn’t happen unless people are given permission in some way to talk about buildings that they see are in distress or that are hard to fund because the group is small and the building is big,” Tracy explained. “We could go on and on, but there’s so many different circumstances where a building needs some additional help.”
In the past, Historic Fort Worth put one of its own buildings, Thistle Hill, on the list, and other building owners have nominated themselves as well.
The list has its advantages, John Roberts, an architect and the chair of Historic Fort Worth’s public affairs committee, said.
“It is notifying the public and making them aware of the building’s importance in the city. It’s also an educational tool. We’re saying that these buildings are threatened in some form, and the public should be made aware,” Roberts explained. “And it’s saved a lot of buildings, too, over the years because it’s generated more interest.”
Appearing on the list doesn’t prevent demolition, but dozens of structures have been preserved or designated as a landmark at the municipal, state or federal level. Having these designations can help cut down on costs of restoration through programs like the Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program and the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, which offer a 25% and 20% tax credit on respectively for rehab costs of eligible buildings.
Aside from buildings, the list also features Garda Park on Lake Como Drive, and highlights the city of Fort Worth’s small preservation department staff compared to cities like Dallas and San Antonio.
“It’s a very important department for any city,” Tracy said. “But especially since we have the second largest inventory of historic buildings in the state.”
The department has appeared on the list once before.
Justin Newhart is the historic preservation officer for Fort Worth. He attended the event and said that more resources would help engagement within the city.
“I would like to see better education and engagement programs out in the community so people can really understand the importance and the value of preservation, not just in our currently designated historic districts, but in neighborhoods that are eligible for designation around the city,” Newhart said. “The more we can get out there and engage with the public and really educate them, I think that would be really great for Fort Worth’s historic neighborhoods.”
Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.