2 Western Pa. historical sites listed among most endangered in the state

| Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 12:00 p.m.

A train station in Coraopolis abandoned about 30 years ago and the VA's campus in Lincoln-Lemington are among the most endangered historic sites in the state, according to the Preservation Pennsylvania group.

“This is designed to be a wake-up call to pay attention to these endangered resources, and maybe something can be done,” Mindy Crawford, executive director of Preservation Pennsylvania, said Wednesday.

Preservation Pennsylvania began the effort 21 years ago in response to the demolition of the Syria Mosque in Oakland.

The Coraopolis Station, built in 1895 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is owned by the Coraopolis Community Development Foundation. The building is deteriorating to the point where saving it may not be feasible, Preservation Pennsylvania said, but the foundation was optimistic.

“We're excited, we're gratified to make the list because it's one more opportunity to get this station remodeled and given back to the town,” said Sam Jampetro, the foundation's executive director. He said it would cost about $1.2 million to renovate the building into a 75-seat café with a reading room.

Crawford called the station, with its rounded windows and door openings and square towers, a beautiful example of Romanesque Revival architecture.

“There's a huge nostalgia for trains and train stations,” she said

Built in 1953, the VA Highland Drive Campus is now threatened with demolition. The VA plans to tear it down and keep the land for some unspecified use.

“Currently, we are taking due diligence and pursuing all possible avenues for the future of this campus,” said William Leuthold, a spokesman with the VA Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare System.

Crawford said the VA campus reminds people of how veterans were treated.

“If we're true historians, we need to save the best examples of everything because that tells us who we are and where we came from.”

The other sites on the list are Altman's Mill in Saltsburg, Indiana County; the already demolished Garman Theatre in Bellefonte, Centre County; Old Hickory in Coudersport, Potter County; Monterey Pass Battlefield and Maria Furnace Road in Franklin County; Irem Temple in Wilkes Barre; Public Federal Savings Bank in Montgomery County; and the Legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia.

Bill Zlatos is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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