Hundreds of old Texas dance halls are among the 13 sites that Preservation Texas has named to its annual list of the state’s Most Endangered Historic Places. Houston Public Radio’s Jim Bell reports.
For more than a hundred years, public dance halls have preserved the cultural traditions of the ethnic groups who built them after immigrating to Texas, but they’re either gone already or in danger of disappearing. Preservation Texas President Lubby Buuck says many of the old halls that are still standing have been converted to other uses, but several hundred are still open and serving their communities, and they’re all on this year’s endangered list.
“They seem like the ordinary buildings of our lives, but those are the buildings that define our context, so I think those of us who are looking for that place that we define our community do need those buildings to help us with that process.”
Other endangered places: several 19th century homes notable Texans built and lived in for many years, old schools, old churches, several commercial buildings, including the Hendley Building on the Strand in Galveston, and the Statler Hilton Hotel in Dallas. Libby Buuck says there is hope for saving these places because she believes historic preservation is finally catching on in Texas.
“I think we are aware that there is a bell tolling, and that we have a limited time unless we act to save some sites that culturally, socially, architecturally have great significance. And these are one-of-a kind buildings that really define the communities in which we live.”
You can get the full list of this year’s Most Endangered Historic Places, and their stories, in a link on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.