Each year the National Trust for Historic Preservation releases a list of 11 Most Endangered Properties in the U.S. to draw attention to the issue of preservation. In years past, Philadelphia has made the top 11 a handful of times, including the Boyd (Sameric) Theatre in 2008. This year we made the list again with Joe Frazier's Gym, which was something of a dark horse candidate given that the property isn't even listed on the local or national register.
If it seems like an odd fit with the other endangered sites—which include Ellis Island and Elkhorn Ranch—part of the reason for the pick is that the gym represents a minority population, explained Stephanie Meeks, the Trust's CEO, on a phone conference today. "Only 3 percent of the places listed on the National Register of Historic Places represent the history of diverse populations in the United States. We hope the 11 Most list can play some small role in remedying that." This year's list includes three sites—Frazier's gym among them—that represent "diverse constituencies," Meeks said. "We're looking broadly at making sure the stories of all our people are eligible for protection."
In the media, the Trust is focusing on the gym as the place where Frazier trained for his legendary bout with Muhammad Ali. But long after Frazier retired from boxing, he turned his gym into a pillar of the community for neighborhood kids, which is just as important to his legacy as any boxing match.
· 11 Most Endangered Historic Places: Joe Frazier’s Gym [National Trust for Historic Preservation]
· Smokin' Joe Frazier's Gym for Sale for $1 Million [CPHI]