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Group says 5 Phila. area historic structures at risk

Five structures in the Philadelphia region appear on the annual endangered list released today by a nonprofit historic preservation agency.

The reasons for the designation by Preservation Pennsylvania include the threat of demolition, deterioration, vandalism, or alteration, the group said in a statement.

The list, which described the historic significance of the structures, was released in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Committee.

The endangered historic resources in the area include:

The USS Olympia in Philadelphia, a former, state-of-the-art flagship purchased in 1996 by the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, which has struggled to maintain it. The last surviving warship from the Spanish-American War of 1898, it also brought home the remains of the Unknown Soldier from France in 1921.

The Schuylkill School in Chester County, which was built in 1930 and is now part of the Phoenixville Area School District. Despite protests, school district officials said the building was too far gone to be saved, and they are moving forward with plans to demolish it.

122-124 and 126 W. Miner St, Borough of West Chester, two homes on the National Register of Historic Places. The First Presbyterian Church, which purchased the contiguous buildings as part of an expansion plan, wants to raze them. On Wednesday night, West Chester Borough Council denied the church's application. It is not known yet whether the church will appeal that decision.

Laverock Hill "Sims" Estate in Montgomery County, a 42-acre property with a neo-Georgian residence, horse and cattle barn, and other historic structures. The estate, which lies in Cheltenham and Springfield Townships, was purchased in 2008 by Hansen Properties L.L.C., which envisions a large housing development.

For more information, visit the Preservation Pennsylvania website at or contact it at 717-234-2310.