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National Trust for Historic Preservation Declares the Palisades one of America’s National Treasures

May 19, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced the Palisades in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey as the organization’s newest National Treasure. The following is a statement by National Trust for Historic Preservation president Stephanie Meeks.

“This new National Treasure designation signifies our ongoing commitment to preserving this irreplaceable landscape. Even though the 2,500 acres of shorelands, uplands and cliffs that comprise the Palisades were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965, the LG Electronics Corporation has recently proposed a new tower that would rise above the treeline and forever alter the landscape.

“For generations, residents and visitors alike have cherished the scenic cliffs of the Palisades along the western shore of the Hudson River. This historic resource has been protected through the conscious efforts of dedicated residents and national leaders since the 19th century.

“While the Trust has long supported preserving the Palisades, establishing this area as a National Treasure today is indicative of how responsible management of building height along these scenic cliffs is no longer just a New York or New Jersey issue. The construction of an office tower would represent a visual degradation of this landscape that serves as an amenity to millions. Continuing to preserve the Palisades merits the country’s attention. Working together with LG, elected officials and others, we will endeavor to find a sensitive solution before this special place is forever altered.”

The Palisades are remarkable as the object of some of our country’s earliest conservation and protection efforts, with such figures as Teddy Roosevelt and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. leading the charge. Native American tribes, including the Sanhikan,HackensackRaritan and Tappan nations used the cliffs as shelter and protection for centuries. After the Civil War, as industrial development encroached on the landscape, the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs secured passage of legislation to save the Palisades.

This diverse history of inhabitants and allies is even more significant when coupled with the Palisades pure physical presence representing one of the nation’s most treasured viewsheds. LG Electronics Corporation has proposed a new, eight-story, 143-foot high office tower as its headquarters that would disrupt the treeline and spoil this landscape protected since the 19thcentury.

The National Trust has been working with leaders at Protect the Palisades, Scenic Hudson, the National Resources Defense Council and the World Monuments Fund in this urgent effort to save the Palisades from unnecessary development.

National Treasures are a portfolio of highly-significant historic places throughout the country where the National Trust makes a long-term commitment to finding a preservation solution. Recently named National Treasures in the New York metropolitan area include the New York State Pavilion in Queens and Madam C.J. Walker’s Villa Lewaro in Irvington. As the Presenting Partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places.

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