Publishing a list of the most-endangered historical places is a common practice, but Charleston's Preservation Society hopes its new 'Seven to Save' list will do more than attract attention to the threatened sites.
Director Evan Thompson says the list is an agenda — a way for the society to focus its energies for the coming year.
The society also hopes to channel at least a little money toward each of the seven, which Thompson's says represents a sort of return to the society's roots.
When it was founded in 1920 as the nation's first membership-based preservation group, it played an active role in saving the Joseph Manigault house at John and Meeting streets and saving the cobblestones on Chalmers Street.
'It's also a way for us to learn what some of the issues are out there in the wider community that might not be on our radar,' he says.
The society will discuss the list in depth when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, but here's an early peek:
Magnolia Cemetery's Receiving Tomb
The problem: The 1850 masonry structure, which received bodies into the then-new cemetery, is crumbling. Why it's important: Mausoleums, while used less today, are part of the city's architectural heritage. The plan: Do a preservation plan for this and then restore it. Survey other historic mausoleums.
Civil rights-era sites
The problem: These sites are disappearing, such as the Henrietta Street home of civil rights leader Septima Clark. Why they're important: The sites are important part of the Lowcountry's recent history, but they're threatened by a lack of documentation and awareness. The plan: Organize the Charleston African- American Preservation Alliance and begin doing oral histories of civil rights-era people. Create five historic markers for sites.
The Admiral's House at the former Charleston Naval Base
The problem: The grand 1905 home is suffering from rot and neglect. Why it's important: This home and other officers' quarters tell part of the story of the former base, but many need stabilization work.
The plan: Prepare an adaptive reuse plan for the structure, now owned by the state. Help find dollars for its preservation.
The single cottages at 193-199 Jackson St.
These four one-story homes are suffering from demolition by neglect.
Why they're important: These homes are great examples of a vernacular building type found in the city about a century ago. Sometimes called 'Freedman's Cottages (though evidence shows their ties to freedmen are slim), they're still very suitable for affordable housing.
The plan: Nominate them for the National Register of Historic Places and conduct an architectural design competition for their re- habilitation.
Rose Lane Belgian Block Paving
This 900-foot-long lane in Elliottborough was paved with granite blocks around 1915, but they've since been covered up by asphalt.
Why they're important: Historic paving materials add character to the city's greatest public spaces: its streets.
The plan: Survey existing historic paving material in the city's historic district and begin removing asphalt and restore Rose Lane's block paving. Urge City Council to pass an ordinance protecting historic paving materials.
New Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church
Architect Francis D. Lee's circa 1860 Gothic Revival church, first built as St. Luke's Episcopal Church, needs extensive work.
Why it's important: Like many downtown congregations, New Tabernacle is having trouble maintaining a grand structure.
The plan: Survey the needs of historic downtown churches and conduct a workshop to discuss issues around their preservation. Work on an adaptive reuse plan for this church at 22 Elizabeth St.
King Street Off-Ramp Houses
The four houses at 68 and 74 Fishburne St. and 306 and 308 St. Philip St. were built around 1920 but have been vacant for years and need work.
Why they're important: The four houses anchor the southeastern corner of an eligible historic district.
The plan: The society's Spring Master Preservation class already has come up with an adaptive reuse plan for these four homes. The society also wants to survey other at-risk structures and find new incentives to help solve the city's demolition by neglect problem.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.