Promoting historic preservation statewide.
Established as one of Preservation Oklahoma’s first programs, Oklahoma’s Most Endangered Historic Places was patterned after a similar annual list produced by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ralph McCalmont, one of the founding board members of Preservation Oklahoma, had also served on the board of the National Trust and was keenly aware of the program’s impact. Realizing the need for Preservation Oklahoma to focus public attention on the state’s historic structures, the Board of Directors agreed to publish an annual list of “properties and sites which have special historic or architectural significance to our state, but which are in danger of being lost, due to neglect, poor maintenance, obsolescence or other causes.” The purpose of producing this listed was stated by John Mabrey, then the President of Preservation Oklahoma, when he said “if we bring the problems to light of a structure familiar to people, they are more likely to do something about it.”
Over the past twenty years, people have done “something about it.” While inclusion on the list does not guarantee protection or funding, it has proven to be a key component in mobilizing support for the preservation of historic sites by raising each structure’s awareness to a statewide level. The nomination process has evolved to reflect the fact that the public is aware of the need to preserve their local structures. Today, nominations are solicited annually from the public. The nominations are compiled and the formal list is selected by a group of preservation experts, including historians, architects, and archeologists.
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