Historic preservation groups are sometimes able to save properties with historical significance from demolition... and sometimes not. If a building is saved, it's often remodeled or completely re-purposed into something new.
Here are a few examples where the building and all of its history went the way of the wrecking ball. Are these cases of necessary demolition and renewal... or acts of unexcusable historical destruction?
1. The Original Pennsylvania Station (1910-1963)
Via: the MCNY
While Pennsylvania Station still stands today, the original building has long since been demolished. It was constructed of pink granite, with classical Greek columns that made it quite beautiful. In fact, standing at 150 feet high, the original Penn Station was widely known as the largest indoor space in New York City at the time, if not one of the largest public venues in the world.
Which is precisely why the destruction of Penn Stations original structure in 1963 left such a lasting wound on the city. When the dismantling of the structure began, The New York Times wrote, "Until the first blow fell, no one was convinced that Penn Station really would be demolished, or that New York would permit this monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age of Roman elegance."
Since then, Pennsylvania Station has been rebuilt, and is now a major commuter train in New York City serving over 300,000 passengers a day.
2. The Hollywood Hotel (1902-1956)
The Hollywood Hotel was constructed in 1902 by H.J Whitley, a real estate developer, also known as the "Father of Hollywood" due to his large impact on the Hollywood subdivision in Los Angeles, CA.
The hotel was known for its elegance and attracted many different movie stars during its time.
However, by the mid 1950s, the hotel became run down, a shadow of its former self. Renovation was considered; however, in August of 1956 the hotel was razed to make room for a $10 million dollar development in the city.
Shortly after, the First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Hollywood, a shopping center, was constructed in its place.
3. Palace Amusements (1888-2004)
Palace Amusements opened in July, 4th of 1888 and was a famous indoor amusement part in the Ashbury Park, New Jersey area. The amusement park was known for its intricate carousels, hand carved animals, and other elaborate detailing - including the two grinning faces on the side of the building, which later became known as "Tille", making the Palace a very identifiable building in New Jersey.
The park was well known for inspiring many different generations of artists, singers, and photographers alike. It was also honored by the National Registers of Historic places, having operated for over 100 years (1888-1988).
Despite all of that, Palace Amusements was slated for demolition in 2004, which occurred over the protest of the Ashbury Park Historical Society, Preservation New Jessey, the Save Tillie Organization, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Before the demolition took place, members of the Save Tillie Organization spent five days removing certificates from the Palace. These items were handed over to the the Asbury Park Historical Society and the City of Asbury Park.
Sadly, all but 4 of the 125 artifacts saved were destroyed in February 2010, an act that greatly upset Save Tillies president, Bob Crane, who has stated that the organization was not aware that the items were destroyed, and that they "Would have taken all of them".
The organization now runs an online museum in memory of the Palace.
4. New York Coliseum (1956-2000)
The New York Coliseum was a well known convention center in New York City, which stood on the Columbus Circle from 1956 until 2000.
The building was 323,000 square feet, contained four exhibition floors, and three exhibitions: the New York International Auto Show, the National Photographic Show, and the Fifth international Philatelic Exhibition.
The coliseum was demolished in 2000 to make room for the AOL Time Warner Center.
5. Queens Pier (1925-2008)
From 1925 to 2008, the Queen's Pier acted as a public pier that also served as a major exit and entry point in Edinburgh Place, Hong Kong. The pier witnessed the arrival of any different important people, including all of Hong Kong's Governors, Elizabeth II in 1975, and the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1989
Over the years, the pier saw many different renovations, but was shut down in April 26, 2007 by the Hong Kong Government, who wanted to enable land reclamation on the location of the pier. This decision was met with harsh opposition from local conservations, who began a full fledged campaign to preserve the landmark.
Despite that, the Pier was demolished in 2008.