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National Trust For Historic Preservation names san jose church in old san juan, puerto rico, to its List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places®

Washington (June 19, 2013) – Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the San José Church in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, to its 2013 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. This annual list spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. More than 240 sites have been on the list over its 26-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost.

Old San Juan’s San José Church was built in 1532, the second oldest church in the Americas. One of the few surviving examples of 16th century Spanish Gothic architecture in the Western Hemisphere, the building displays four centuries of architectural design and masonry traditions including the extraordinary Isabelline Gothic vaults, a rare Catalan architectural design. The land upon which the church was built was donated by Governor Don Juan Ponce de León who was also first buried there.

Today, San José Church has been closed for 13 years and is experiencing severe deterioration and structural damage problems. While a coalition of community organizations and individuals is involved in the preservation effort, additional funding is needed to restore this irreplaceable treasure. Patronato de Monumentos de San Juan, a nonprofit organization in charge of the restoration effort, is committed to doing authentic restoration, including the use of original materials and techniques.

“This is the first time the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named a site in Puerto Rico to the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, and we could not have chosen a more deserving place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Dating to the 16th century, the San José Church helps tell the story of the early colonial history of the New World, a legacy that must be preserved.”

Members of the public are invited to learn more about what they can do to support these 11 historic places and hundreds of other endangered sites at www.PreservationNation.org/places. And for more information about Church San José please visit: www.iglesiasanjosepr.org

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