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Trust says Old Mint in SF is endangered
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The National Trust for Historic Preservation has listed San Francisco’s Old Mint as one of the nation’s 11 most endangered historic places.
The site appears on its annual list spotlighting architectural, cultural and natural heritage at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.
The Mint was built in 1874 and is one of the few downtown San Francisco buildings to survive the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire.
Since March, it’s been closed to the public because of a faulty elevator. There are no immediate plans to reopen it to the public.
Mike Buhler of San Francisco Heritage, a nonprofit that nominated the Old Mint for the endangered list, is working to save the building.
“Without question, the Old Mint is one of San Francisco’s most significant historic buildings,” he said.
The Old Mint once safeguarded $200 million in gold reserves that backed the U.S dollar. It also served as the city’s depository for all emergency financial transactions as San Francisco embarked on its recovery after the earthquake.
In 1994, the federal government sold the building to the city for $1.
A lease went to the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society in hopes of opening a museum. But that didn’t happen. The society’s permit ends on Aug. 1.
The area surrounding the Old Mint is being rapidly transformed by new development projects.
“Through these planning efforts, there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the city to leverage the billions of dollars in anticipated investment, new tax revenues, and development impact fees for the benefit of the Old Mint and the city’s cultural heritage,” Buhler said.
More than 260 sites have been on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list over its 28-year history, and in that time, only a handful of listed sites have been lost, said Stephanie Meeks president of the National Trust.
The trust has also put the Grand Canyon, Miami’s Little Havana and a former gay nightclub in West Hollywood on its list.
Meeks and Buhler said there needs to be a public-private partnership to restore The Mint as a cultural space.