PRESS RELEASE – American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation today announced $1 million in funding to support the restoration and preservation of five National Treasure sites, in or adjacent to National Parks. National Treasures are endangered buildings, neighborhoods, communities and landscapes that reveal the vibrancy of the American story.
These grants complement a $5 million commitment made earlier this year by American Express to increase volunteerism and encourage people of all backgrounds to rediscover their parks – particularly in urban areas. These accessible sites represent a unique perspective on the American experience.
“The parks receiving these generous grants from American Express reflect important chapters in our nation’s rich history, from Negro League Baseball to architectural Modernism, and the railroad boom to the Civil Rights Era,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “American Express’ timely support of these preservation projects at such diverse places will give more Americans access to appreciate these National Treasures for generations to come.”
“As the presenting partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged to save and sustain historic places that represent our country’s rich history,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. “The sites we have selected to receive funding reflect the great diversity of the American experience. By preserving these sites, we are helping to ensure their legacy and cultural significance for future generations.”
The National Treasures receiving grants are:
• Hinchliffe Stadium (Paterson, New Jersey): Opened in 1932, the cast concrete, art-deco style stadium is one of the few remaining sports grounds in the country associated with Negro League baseball. In 1997, the stadium closed because of a lack of funding and structural issues. This grant will preserve two original ticket booths at the entrance to the complex.
• Pullman Historic District (Chicago, Illinois): Built in 1880, the nation’s first model industrial town attracted skilled workers to the Pullman Palace Car Company, where the first African-American labor union was born. Today, the district is a National Monument, and showcases a revitalized historic neighborhood that honors the important role the town’s residents played in American history. This grant will restore the original multicolored, stained-glass windows at the Hotel Florence.
• Painted Desert Community Complex (Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona): Completed in 1963, the collection of steel, glass, and masonry buildings, designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra, are one of the earliest examples of modern architecture in a National Park. The complex is still in use today, but limited funding for repairs and maintenance have impaired the condition of the buildings. This grant will restore the glass storefront of the Oasis Building.
• Sweet Auburn Historic District (Atlanta, Georgia): Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, located in the district, commemorates the leader’s birthplace and significance within the American Civil Rights Movement. This grant will fund the preservation of five Victorian and shotgun homes on Dr. King’s childhood street.
The fifth grantee will be announced at a later date.
American Express is deeply committed to historic preservation and has provided more than $50 million in grants to preserve more than 500 historic places globally. Since 2013, American Express has served as the Presenting Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Treasures program, which aims to save endangered cultural and historic places across the United States of America. Through the program, American Express has supported the preservation of National Treasures throughout the country including: Haas-Lilienthal House (San Francisco, California), Nantucket Lightship/LV-112 (Boston, Massachusetts), Miami Marine Stadium (Miami, Florida) and Union Station (Washington, D.C).
On November 6, at PastForward, the National Preservation Conference, in Washington, D.C., Mr. McClimon will speak about American Express’ commitment to preservation.