National Trust Calls Arts & Industries An Endangered Site

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The Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building, the second oldest structure on the Mall and a national landmark, was named an endangered historic place yesterday by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Designed by architect Adolf Cluss and built between 1879 and 1881, the building was the Smithsonian's first museum. The building has served many purposes. It was at one time the home of the Star-Spangled Banner. It also housed a popular children's theater. President James Garfield held his inaugural ball in the building.

But almost from the start, the red brick Victorian structure has been plagued by leaks. In recent years, Smithsonian officials placed canopies below the ceiling to catch falling debris. In 2004, it was closed to the public because of its deteriorating condition.

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