After some investigating, we learned that California runs a "Main Street" program through various local governments and private nonprofits. These programs ultimately spring from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center. The Trust seeks to revitalize American downtown commercial districts through a "four point" program: organization/community involvement, promotion, design/atmosphere, and economic restructuring.
California joined this movement in 1986. Communities that adopt the program have the option to go all the way and obtain Main Street certification through not only the four steps and meeting California's stringent criteria, but must also complete an application and pass a state issued on-site assessment.
Ultimately, these programs seek to retain the historic charm and character of downtowns while revitalizing their commercial viability and attracting tourism.
Currently, California boasts the following certified Main Street communities:
Alameda (since 1986)
El Cajon (2000)
Grass Valley (1986)
Los Angeles (2000)
Paso Robles (1988)
San Diego, North Park (1996)
San Diego, Ocean Beach (1998)
San Luis Obispo (1986)
We continue to be inspired by these cities just as we were when we created this blog, and will continue to bring you more information about them and other towns like them. The Main Street Center may not be the most well known nonprofit, but it is an important one when it comes to preserving American heritage, sustaining small businesses, and encouraging fun and historic local tourism. If you have a minute, you can check out their website here and feel free to learn more about the California branch here.
The ultimate Main Street--Disneyland :)