Texas Main Street Reassessments 2011

This summer has meant unrelenting travel to Main Street towns all over the country, and we’ve loved every minute of it. In July, we spent two weeks in Texas working with the Texas Main Street program for reassessments of four towns that are designated as both Preserve America and Main Street towns. We were delighted to undertake this work again as we did last year with Debra Farst, Jill Robinson and the staff of architects and heritage tourism colleagues at Texas Main Street. July in Texas is hot, but somehow the dry heat—even at 106 degrees—was better than being in humid Philadelphia.

We took trips to four small towns in East Texas:

  1. Nacogdoches, which promotes itself as the oldest town in Texas and has a lovely piazza in the middle of downtown
  2. Marshall is the supposed birthplace of Boogie Woogie music, and is starting to become a vibrant live music destination
  3. Mt. Vernon, where the local museum exhibits hometown football star Don Meredith’s sports memorabilia along with a nationally significant butterfly collection donated by another collector. Mt. Vernon’s preservation ethic is superb, and
  4. Pittsburg which is restarting its Main Street effort after a hiatus, claims to have the only crooked Main Street in the state.

All were fascinating because they were real places, with passionate volunteers who loved their town and had taken remarkable steps towards changing the image and economics of their beloved commercial district. Texas Main Street assembled three person teams to provide observations and recommendations for these towns that had been in the Texas Main Street program in some cases more than twenty years to help them continue with the revitalization journey. We worked on Organization and Promotion points, and enjoyed working with Sarah, Bo, Chet and Teresa, all highly experienced Main Street managers in their respective towns.