2012 Endangered List

Since 1993, the Kansas Preservation Alliance has called attention to our most threatened historic resources by means of the Endangered Places Program. Over the last two decades, KPA has identified almost 100 significant historic Kansas places in need of immediate attention. Listings include a wide variety of resources, such as rural landscapes, bridges, archaeological sites, downtown districts, and individual buildings; all of which are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate public policy, or insensitive development.


Though not a celebratory moment, the unveiling of the list draws much-needed awareness to threatened historic sites statewide. The list often raises local consciousness and facilitates networks of potential financial and/or technical assistance. While we are proud to report that many previously endangered places have since been saved and/or rehabilitated, the announcement of the list acknowledges there is still much work to be done.

The 2012 Kansas List of Endangered Places:
Ark City Office Building, Arkansas City, Cowley County
Ark City Office Building, Arkansas City, Cowley County, KS
Ark City Office Building

This 1929 Art Deco style office building is the tallest building in downtown Arkansas City. The structure served as the commercial anchor downtown for much of the 20th century. It was a hub of activity with street-level cafes and shops and upper-level professional offices. It is listed in the National Register as a contributing resource to the downtown historic district and is thus eligible for historic rehabilitation tax credits. Unfortunately, the building has been vacant for more than five years and suffers from neglect. There is strong local interest in preserving the building; however sufficient funds to meet the owner’s asking price have yet to be raised. The present owner would like to find an anchor tenant before undertaking any rehabilitation activities.

King Building, Burlingame, Osage County
King Building, Burlingame, Osage County
King Building

This Italianate style commercial building dates to around 1895 and originally housed Charlie King’s grocery business. A recent survey of downtown Burlingame determined the building eligible as a potentially contributing resource to a surrounding historic district. However, the building has been vacant for 27 years and the rear wall collapsed in 2005. Due to shared dividing walls, if this building is lost, the two adjacent buildings would likely come down as well. Two recent engineering studies have stated the building is otherwise structurally sound and is repairable, however the owner does not have sufficient funds to complete the rehabilitation. The owner, the City, and neighboring property owners are in support of this building’s rehabilitation and require technical guidance regarding the various preservation and incentive programs.

Glasco Lumber Company, Glasco, Cloud County
Glasco Lumber Company, Glasco, Cloud County
Glasco Lumber Co.

This collection of three utilitarian buildings dates to around 1903 and various lumber enterprises occupied the buildings for a near century. The office and coal storage buildings are both excellent examples of the increasingly rare False Front building type. Unfortunately the buildings have been underutilized since 1992 and vacant since 2007. The property was listed in the National Register as a contributing resource to the Glasco Downtown Historic District and is thus eligible for historic rehabilitation tax credits and possible grant monies. The current owners do not have the funds to rehabilitate the building and are interested in finding a preservation-minded buyer to take over the property.

St. John the Divine Catholic Church, Kansas City, Wyandotte County
St. John the Divine Catholic Church, Kansas City, Wyandotte County
St. John the Divine
Originally built in 1887 as a wood-framed Methodist church, the building was remodeled and enclosed in the current brick cladding around 1909. An excellent example of the Gothic Revival style, this church building was sold to the Catholic diocese in 1937 and became a cultural anchor in the historically Mexican-American neighborhood of Argentine. Unfortunately, with diminishing attendance the building has been vacant since 1992 and has since suffered neglect. The building was determined eligible for listing in the National Register in 2011 and if listed, would become eligible for rehabilitation tax credits and possibly grant monies. Though threatened with condemnation, the current owner, the St. John the Divine Community Art and Education Center, is working to develop a plan for stabilization and rehabilitation of the building. However, they lack sufficient funds and need guidance for accessing available preservation and incentive programs.
Kansas State University Conservatory, Manhattan, Riley County
Kansas State University Conservatory, Manhattan, Riley County
Kansas State Conservatory
The oldest statewide and one of only a few known to be standing in Kansas, this Gothic Revival-inspired plant conservatory dates to 1908. The structure has been preliminarily determined eligible for listing in the National Register of historic places and is thus eligible for rehabilitation tax credits and possibly grant monies. Unfortunately, the structure suffers from neglect and is visibly deteriorated. University representatives have reported the presence of asbestos in the glazing compound, which has stalled any action toward rehabilitation.
Whitewater Falls Stock Farm, Towanda, Butler County
Whitewater Falls Stock Farm, Towanda, Butler County
Whitewater Falls Stock Farm

Built in 1909 as part of a large draft horse breeding operation, this barn is an excellent and rare example of its property type. With 50 box stalls, the barn originally featured steam heat, gas lights, and its own water plant. Upon opening, it was advertised as the largest barn in Kansas and more than 2,000 people attended its dedication ceremony. Unfortunately, the building has been vacant for decades and has fallen into significant disrepair. Though not listed in either the National or Kansas registers, the building is clearly eligible and listing would be streamlined due to the presence of a statewide Multiple Property Documentation Form for agricultural resources. Listed in KPA’s 2010 Endangered Places list, this may be the last chance to save this unique building from demolition by neglect.

Rural Downtowns Statewide
Rural Downtowns statewide
Rural Downtown
Due to depopulation, the bustling late 19th and early 20th century downtowns across Kansas are becoming increasingly vacant. The 2010 census revealed 75 of Kansas’ 105 counties experienced population loss, with 23 of them losing 10 percent or more of their residents. With farm consolidation and migration to urban areas, the economic base required to support rural main streets is rapidly decreasing. Without sufficient population density, the various preservation programs and economic development tools available can only do so much. There is a need to develop a new preservation model for our historic rural downtowns in areas where depopulation has created vacant and deteriorating main streets.
2012 Watch List
Marlatt House, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Riley County
Marlatt House, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Riley County
Marlatt House, KSU
Due to recent insensitive alterations the Marlatt House is included on KPA’s 2012 Watch List. The 1856 stone house is listed in the Kansas Register of Historic Places and is the oldest house in Riley County. In March 2012, metal siding was installed over the historic wood shingles on the front dormer, an insensitive alteration that is incompatible with the historic materials. Furthermore, this work violated the State Historic Preservation Statute requiring SHPO review of work completed on any Kansas Register-listed property. The Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance alerted the State Historic Preservation Office, who is now in the process of drafting a Memorandum of Agreement with KSU to correct the situation.