When there is a planned vacation in Europe, many people expect to hear about old castles, locations, and monuments that may have stood but now are only noted in brochures. You need a guide to point out where they were and what they meant. However, in the US there is hardly a note on any historic sites that may no longer exist. Unfortunately, this statistic may be changing as more and more historic sites and famous places disappear due to climate change, lack of repair, or development. Here are some you should visit as soon as possible while they are still here.
The Outer banks of North Carolina are slipping into the ocean says Stanley Riggs, a coastal geologist at East Carolina University in Greenville. " We are losing them right now. In the next ten years it is going to be awful."
In an area of Hatteras Island between Avon and Buxton, the beach has receded about 2500 feet in the last 150 years. Further north in Nags Head, houses once on solid land now stand on stilts in the surf. What is a stake here is more than summer fun, but an economy built on tourism.
Hard hat tours are still available for the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital located on two man-made islands in New Jersey. In its current state there is peeling paint, and a floor trod upon by more than a million immigrants that is buried beneath dirt and grime. When the hospital was abandoned in 1930, everything was left in the building. It all deteriorated, and later was removed. Now there are several walls that are crumbling and you have to use a guide to walk safely through the building.
Joe Frazier became the heavyweight Champion of the world when he defeated Muhammad Ali in March 1971, and this building is the gym where he trained for that fight. Now the building is used for a discount furniture store, and two vacant floors of space. The gym contents have been removed. The building has been declared a Philadelphia landmark, and there is currently a coalition in place to raise money to conserve the history of this man and his legacy. The conservationist program protects the building from demolition, and there is discussion about future use.
The Florida Everglades is in a state of crisis. Recently it has been pointed out that the fresh water that supports this environment has been depleted by housing expansion to the north, and the increase of salt water due to climate change and the rise of the oceans.
In addition, the lack of rain in 2015 destroyed vast amounts of seagrass, and Hurricane Irma tore up the mangrove trees that had survived the drought. The Everglades is now half its size and is also affected by invading species of fish and snakes.
NASA has always known that the position of Cape Canaveral on the coast of Florida was exposed to the sea and to the storms that occur in that area. However, the space center was placed there for access to the ocean , and for the extra acceleration the closeness to the equator would provide to launching rockets. In 2012 when Hurricane Sandy was attacking the New Jersey shore, NASA personnel watched as the storm took out 100 feet of the beach near the launch pad. This could be serious if a storm hit the area directly.
In 1991, a huge slab of rock fell from the Landscape Arch at Arches National Park in Utah. This slab was over 60 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 4.5 inches thick. Earlier, in August of 2008, the Wall Arch collapsed leaving the trail closed and debris piled up. All of these arches are temporary features of the landscape and eventually succumb to erosion and gravity. The Loop Trail that takes you under the Landscape Arch is now closed, but you can see the Arch form the Double Garden Trail.
On March 1, 2019, an appeals court judge for the District of Columbia revoked a permit given to Dominion Energy to construct a massive power transmission line across the James River in Virginia. The temporary permit was issued by the Army Corp of Engineers in 2017, and the towers are now in place and operational. The court declared that Dominion Energy had not done a complete study on the impact of the towers on the historic site and park at Jamestown Island. This is a controversial situation. Visit the park when you can.
Faneuil Hall marketplace is located in North Boston and is an attractive tourist stop for the summer months. Unfortunately, the market has become mostly a stop for seasonal tourists and many of the locals do not visit. The market is slated for renovations and updates, but the current vendors fear the change will alter the area forever. Harry Haralabatos and family have been here for 4 decades selling BBQ chicken. He welcomes the renovations but fears there may not be a place for him when it is done.
The cliffs of the Palisades are located along the Hudson River across from Manhattan in New York City. They are about 12 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, or about 2500 acres of beauty and grandeur for the residents and visitors to New York. LG Electronics has proposed a new eight-story 143 foot office complex to be built on top the the cliffs, and such construction would greatly disrupt the current landscape and beauty. In addition, once this building is complete it would open up the area to extensive development.
Since May of 2018 the park staff and the park's landscape have been bruised and battered by the eruptions of Hawaii's Kileuea volcano. The landscape has been cracked, the vegetation has been burned, and many buildings have been destroyed.
Visiting the park is no longer the same, and according to park officials it will continue to be in a state of flux. There is a massive effort to revisit the park sites and assess the overall damage, but many options that were once attractive have been closed to the public.