Zoar, Ohio, is a tiny little village not too far from where I grew up. While the population is only 169 (yes, 169 people) those residents welcome 21,000 tourists each year. The village was originally settled by some Germans looking for religious freedom way back in 1817. Today, the village, including many of the restored buildings, are open for tourists and staffed by folks in period attire.
In elementary school, I went to Zoar on at least one school field trip. Hubby camped there with the Boy Scouts more than once.
Imagine my surprise when my research, (and by research I mean, "Dearest Google, please find a Z word for me to use on this very last day of the challenge!") led me to this article explaining the addition of Zoar to the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places!
Shocking, I say!
First of all, who would have thought an organization named "National Trust for Historic Preservation" would be all rebel-like and come up with a Top 11?
Secondly, I had no idea that Historic Places could be endangered. Endangered Animals? Yes. Endangered places? No.
Anyway, it seems the dam that was built to protect Zoar from the Tuscarawas River 100 years ago is falling apart. The question now up for debate is should the government spend $100,000 to rebuild the levee and save the village, or let the levee go and allow Zoar to be wiped off the map?
Talk about a conundrum.
Considering I've never heard of the National Trust for Historic Preservation nor the list of Endangered Historic Places, I'm thinking their marketing strategy could use some work. Perhaps they could take some notes from the Endangered Species people? Put a cute face on each place and have donors "adopt" a location. It worked for whales, so why can't it work for a village started by German separatists 200 years ago? Surely there is at least one baby in the population of 169. Or a kitten? Perhaps a re-enactor holding a baby holding a kitten on the steps of one of the historic buildings? That image would secure their future for sure.
Then I got to thinking, "I wonder what other Historic Places are endangered."
Well, there's a site for that. There are actually almost 270 endangered historic places.
Quite the variety they have, too.
Joe Frazier's Gym in Philadelphia is on the list. This is where the gold medal winning boxer and heavyweight champion trained. Unfortunately, the building is currently being used as a furniture store, so the NTHP (my acronym, not theirs) has their work cut out for them.
Although, it will probably be harder to save the Prentice Women's Hospital, which is already scheduled for demolition by the owner.
Oh, another idea. The two endangered organizations should band together. Let an endangered Golden Lion Tamarin loose in the hospital, and they can't tear it down.
No, that idea isn't the greatest idea, but we're simply brainstorming here. Ideas flowing. Creativity blooming. No idea too outlandish.
There are some sites that I just don't see as any hope of being saved. Tiger Stadium for one. According to NTHP, it is threatened by poor public policy, deterioration, and neglect. I don't see how even the biggest brainstorm in the world could come up with something to save a huge, decrepit baseball stadium, even if some of the greatest players of the game called it home.
Of course, I am in Indianapolis, which happens to be the city which purposely blew up the old Market Square Arena, despite the fact it was the last place Elvis ever performed. I guess you'd say we aren't exactly nostalgic around here.
For Zoar, though, I wish all 169 residents the best.
The good news? It's the government. They aren't exactly quick to get things done. The baby and the kitten should live nice, long lives in the village.
And with that...
Have a lovely day!