This is the only property in the Landmark Historic District on the official list of the 100 worst properties in Savannah

In today’s City Talk column in the Savannah Morning News, I have a few preliminary thoughts on the city of Savannah’s new 100 Worst Properties list, which is part of the Blight to Bright campaign.

I find it so interesting that only one of those 100 properties is in the Landmark Historic District. As I note in the column, that fact speaks to the history of preservation in Savannah: a lot of the most obvious battles are over — many won, some lost.

At this point the real dangers to Savannah’s historic architecture have less to do with blight than with an insufficient commitment to preservation of buildings that are in pretty good shape, both inside and outside the Landmark District. For example, there is a lawsuit about whether Ben Carter Enterprises will be allowed to demolish an obviously historic building on West Broughton Street [UPDATE: looks like as I was writing this post, Julia Ritchey was posting an article about the Historic Savannah Foundation withdrawing the lawsuit that stood in the way of the demolition], a gorgeous 100+ year old home on 37th Street might be destroyed for the building of a church, and the city of Savannah plans to demolish 36 historic rental properties that have been occupied for well over a century by working class black families so that they can build a new Central Precinct.

So here are a few iPhone shots of the only building in the Landmark District that made the city’s list of most blighted properties. It’s at 602 Montgomery St. — the corner of Montgomery and Huntingdon (just a few short blocks from Chatham Square). Click here for the property record card.

I love this building. It is obviously not appropriately secured — boards down, windows broken, other detritus on site — but the basic structure appears sound and some great details remain intact.

I sure hope we see real efforts to save properties like this and to deny their demolition, whether that be active demolition to build something else or demolition by neglect.

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