Why Main Street is Hip Again | Back Home Again: Why Main Street is Hip Again

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why Main Street is Hip Again

While I think that this #2014BloggerChallenge, "High Street v. High End" is geared more towards your thoughts on designer v. mass produced, I knew immediately what I was going to write about. Historic Preservation!

The High Street (or Main Street here in the US) is readily used as the primary business district in Britain, however it is pretty much dead in many towns here in the States.

LaborDay 021

Have you ever driven through a small town and seen those abandoned old buildings lining Main Street? They used to be hoppin' in their day and that town was the gathering place for the area, particularly in county seats. The courthouse square was extremely important for this aspect. It was the gathering place for farmers coming to town to sell their goods and for the townspeople to purchase them. They were the center of government for the county. If you wanted to know what was happening in your area, you went to Main Street or your courthouse square.  

 LaGrange County Courthouse - Indiana
Did you know that in Indiana there are only 2 counties out of 92 that do not have a courthouse square?

Unfortunately, with the advent of the interstate, suburbia, shopping centers, and big box stores such as Walmart (which is the death sentence of a small town business district!), Main Street slowly died during the mid and late-twentieth century.

There is a whole "back to the city" movement going on within this country and it's not just for local business. People are purchasing old houses and restoring or rehabbing them as well. Being "green" and sustainable is definitely in these days and these businesses and homeowners are "recycling" old buildings so they aren't demolished and we completely lose the architectural and cultural heritage located within. One of my favorite aspects of my job and something that originally drew me to historic preservation is learning about the people that lived in and worked in and built these places. Their heritage shouldn't be forgotten.

That's why it's so important to buy local and from these Main Street shops - to support this movement. So, which do I prefer, high end or high street? My answer is both. While I do shop at some big box stores, I do try to shop as local and as much as I can. A lot of the time that is more "high end" than anything you can find in a big box store.

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25 comments:

  1. I was raised in suburbia so the city transition is hard as far as things like parking and crime...but we're taking steps towards a city move ourselves...I do love visiting them though! The small businesses are the best!

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  2. I grew up in a city and in a town house, but there was parking readily available. It is definitely different on the East Coast than in the Midwest, but the general principle is the same.

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  3. I can tell Evansville is trying to get their downtown "working" again, but I wish it would happen sooner!

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  4. I love small town Main streets! I truly hope that we will son live in a small town with an active main street. Here in the Midwest, there are still quite a few "restored" main streets.

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  5. Like I said, Main Streets are slowly coming back to life. There are so many funding opportunities out there now if you know where to look!

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  6. There's a fair bit of movement in my town to get businesses downtown going again. My grandparents always talk about how when they were first married downtown was the greatest place. Everybody went there on Friday nights and would wander around and shop and talk to everybody else. Now downtown is dead by five o'clock on a Friday. I think this is a really important post. Thank you for writing this :)

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  7. We don't have anything like this in our city and I always get excited when I see towns like this while traveling. It's a shame they are always closed down though.

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  8. I know. It's slowly changing in cities, but in many small towns off the beaten path, these buildings are being subject to demolition by neglect unfortunately. Without the high volume of travel through them on state highways or some other nearby attraction, there just isn't enough revenue coming in to support the businesses that DO try to open...sounds about like the film Cars. Who knew it was about preservation? :-)

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  9. Thank you! Even after Google searching I had not idea what "high street" meant and that was making the blogging challenge hard. At least now I know what the topic is about now.

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  10. I once lived in a town with a square and a courthouse in the middle. Sometimes events were held on the courthouse lawn, but it's true that most of the shops around the square were abandoned--that's sad! They sure are picturesque little places!

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  11. One of my favorite places around me is a "Main St", it's actually called Broadway. But I love it. Businesses, some big, a lot of "small", a park at the end that I love. I just love walking around there.

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  12. There are initiatives in place that are slowly changing that!

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  13. Sounds like my kind of street! I work downtown and we utilize Main Street all the time. However, it shut down at 5 and becomes a ghost town.

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  14. My grandmother would talk about taking the streetcar downtown during the 1940s and my mom talks about going downtown to go shopping in the 1950s and 1960s. I remember going to eat at the soda fountain counter in the last department store that was downtown in my hometown when I was really small, like three, before it closed. Maybe one of these days that can happen with my kids.

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  15. Our town just built a little area sort of like a main street, but not really...I wish we had a main street. It brings so much character to a town.

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  16. Great post.
    I went from living in the city to a smaller town. At first I was completely out of my comfort zone and I didn't like it one bit.. now after 2 years of living here I love it. Now I feel uncomfortable when we go into the city! Love how you wrote this topic for the challenge! :)

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  17. In all honesty, I don't know if I could ever live in a small town isolated from a larger urban area. I have always lived in a city and I love it. I do love to visit small towns though. Their Main Streets, abandoned or revitalized fascinate me!

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  18. I really like how you've put a spin on this subject! I know I wasn't happy when Primark moved into town, but we still use our old little streets and local businesses ^^ Which I'm happy for.

    Check out my post on this topic: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/02/high-end-vs-high-street-2014-blogger.html

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  19. Yes! It is a really hard adjustment. I guess I have just gotten used to it though :) I agree though, I'm fascinated by the scenery of small towns as well!

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  20. Thanks! I work in historic preservation so I see this stuff all the time.

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  21. Great take on the prompt! I wouldn't have thought of doing it this way! Nice and outside of the box thinking there! I do love little old country towns with lots of family run businesses, local produce etc, but living in the city makes it really hard to get to these kind of places regularly!

    Sarah :)

    Saloca in
    Wonderland

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  22. I'm really lucky in that there's a great localvore group in my city that has hooked me up with all sorts of locally sourced meat and produce. Are there any csa's or farmers' markets in your area? That's a great way to get local produce in season. Check out localharvest.org

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  23. I love shopping Main Street! My parents were big believers in supporting local businesses and I am trying to instill this in our kids. Every Christmas I issue myself a "shop local" challenge before I turn to the big box store or internet.

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  24. I prefer going to the smaller stores. There is usually a lot less people there, but the ones that are tend to be great people to talk to and share stories with. Another thing that I like is once you start to be a regular customer most small business owners take the time to learn your name, your likes and dislikes, and start to really become great friends.

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