By the 1970s, after decades of struggle, it had become apparent that downtowns were dying across the county. No longer were they the center of commerce or culture. By 1981, to address the situation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation had created the National Main Street Center and a Four Point revitalization approach that was rolled out across the country. Texas jumped in as one of the first six states in the country to have a program aimed at keeping historic downtowns alive. As a result, the Texas Main Street Program has some of the longest serving cities in what has become one of the nation’s most successful preservation programs, inspiring new communities to join the program annually to restore and revitalize their historic downtown districts. Dedicated local residents working hard to invigorate their community’s sense of place in history is good news for everyone who enjoys visiting authentic places.
Today, participants in the Texas Main Street program include more than 80 (and growing) communities. Historical reinvestments show that designated communities have added almost 29,000 jobs and more than 7,400 new or expanded small businesses to the state, many of which are visitor destinations. These statistics help show that preserving history generates significant economic benefits for communities small and large across the state.
Expect to be wined, dined, and entertained at any of the hundreds of downtown events held annually in Texas Main Street communities, such as the renowned annual Center City Block Party in downtown Amarillo; any of the quirky dog-themed events on the streets of downtown Denton, McKinney, or Beaumont; or at heritage festivals held on the very streets where the history happened. From places like Georgetown with its collection of some of the finest restored Victorian commercial architecture in the country to the red brick streets of Nacogdoches, there’s always something special to learn, see, and do in a Main Street town. Each city has its own unique character, but all Texas Main Street communities share one thing in common—citizens have come together and declared “This Place Matters!”
Explore community histories with the Town Square Walk Around mobile tour, featuring a rich blend of images, videos, maps, and useful visitor information for exploring historical sites across Texas. Download the app directly to your iOS or Android device. (NOTE: If you are opening the mobile tour on a desktop, narrow your browser window to resemble mobile screen proportions for a better view of the content and options.)
Texas Main Street cities featured in the mobile tour include: Gainesville, Denton, Waxahachie, Hillsboro, Waco, Georgetown, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Cotulla, and Laredo.
To explore all Main Street cities in Texas, use the interactive map below (each blue pin denotes a Main Street city).
Watch our Town Square Walk Around video series to learn more about historic Texas downtown architecture. These videos are also found in the Town Square Walk Around mobile tour and on visitor site pages throughout Texas Time Travel.