Missouri Preservation has released a list of the state’s 13 most endangered historic places. The list comprises schools, churches, bridges, jails, the State Pen, a historic home and a hotel.

The Missouri State Penitentiary is on Missouri Preservation's list of endangered properties. While this building still stands, more than 10 others on the prison campus have been torn down. More are still slated to be razed. (Photo courtesy Missouri Secretary of State.)Missouri Preservation helps communities save historic structures in Missouri that are at risk of being lost due to lack of funding, lack of purpose and lack of awareness.

Chairwoman Marion Smith says the group has been creating the list of top endangered places in Missouri for nearly ten years now. Smith says a few places have been removed from the list because they’ve been saved after all.

Smith says the reasons they’re endangered vary. Sometimes it’s not just a lack of resources, but a lack of ideas on how to repurpose an old building. She says that’s where Missouri Preservation can step in and recommend “a new life” for an old structure, help find grants to fund projects and even find contractors accomplished at historic renovation.

She cites the Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lafayette County as a prime example … an old church that lost its pastor, its congregation, and now sits vacant.

Two of the endangered properties are jails: one in Cole County, the other in Chariton.

Smith says they’re from when the jailer lived in the jail, in separate quarters, and his wife would cook for the inmates. She says while these types of jails are now rare in the state, Cole County wants to turn its old jail into a new sally port. Chariton County is currently giving tours of its old jail and has hopes of opening a museum, but faulty structure and lack of funding is an obstacle.

Smith says the Most Endangered Historic Places List brings much needed attention to the threatened historic resources throughout the state. Modeled after the a similar program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Most Endangered Program annually spotlights historic resources that are at risk.

Missouri Preservation provides technical assistance, advocacy, and planning support for the listed properties.

“Even in these difficult financial times, especially with the continued attacks on our State Historic Tax Credits, the need to protect our cultural and historic heritage has not diminished,” Smith says. “Five listings were held over from the 2009 List, as they are still considered endangered and continue to need support to save them from destruction or deterioration. Eight new listings representing nine new properties are new to the 2009 list.”

The 2010 List of Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places:

1. Chariton County Jail and Sheriff’s Residence — Chariton County.

2. Cole County Jail and Sheriff’s Office — Cole County.

3. Historic Bridges of Missouri (Statewide) — Route 66 Bridge, St. Louis County; Riverside Bridge, Christian County.

4. James Collier Marshall Home (Fairfax) — St. Louis County — and the Rock Hill Presbyterian Church.

5. Lexington Municipal Auditorium — Lafayette County.

6. Former Missouri State Penitentiary Complex — Cole County.

7. Odessa Public School Building of 1912 — Lafayette County.

8. Pierce City R-VI Middle School — Lawrence County.

9. Rock Mechanics Laboratory/Former Missouri Phelps County Trachoma Hospital Building — Rolla.

10. The Russell Hotel — Mississippi County.

11. St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad Depot — Madison County.

12. Wheatley-Provident Hospital Building — Jackson County.

13. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church — Lafayette County.

 On the 2010 Watched Properties List:

African-American Schools Across Missouri, including Banneker School in Platte County and Lincoln School of Vandalia / Audrain County.

Jessica Machetta reports [Download / listen Mp3, 1:20 min.]