Joe Frazier’s Gym listed among “Most Endangered”

Joe Frazier’s North Philadelphia gym has been named one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2012 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Each year, the organization releases the list of architectural, culture and natural landmarks to highlight the fight for preservation. Frazier’s gym on North Broad Street is where the legendary boxer once lived and trained for his epic fight against Muhammad Ali. He later turned the former warehouse into a gym for the community, but the three-story building currently houses a discount furniture store and is vacant on the top two floors. It is also listed for sale.

The National Trust says that the gym has not been designated as a historic place at the local or national level, putting it at risk for destruction or irreparable damage.

The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and a group of Temple University students are partnering to raise the $10,000 needed to nominate the building to the Philadelphia and national historic registries. They also hope to find a buyer who will commit to preserving the building for future use.

“Joe Frazier was a sports legend, and he deserves a place that celebrates his legacy and his contributions to the sport of boxing,” Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement. “Without question, Joe Frazier’s Gym is an important historic and cultural site, and bringing both protection and recognition to this site by placing it on the local and national registers would be a fitting tribute to one of our greatest athletes of all time.”

There has been increased interest in maintaining the building as a tribute to Frazier following his death last year. An effort to get a statue of Frazier is also under way.

Also included on the list is the last known surviving boyhood home of Malcolm X in Boston, and the Princeton Battlefield in Princeton, N.J., which was the site of a historic battle in the American Revolution. For this year’s full list of Endangered Historic Places, click here.

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