“Why do Main Streets Matter? We all know where our Main Streets are, but do we know what they are and why they matter? Whether they are named First Avenue or Water Street or Martin Luther King Boulevard, what they represent is universal. Main Street is the economic engine, the big stage, and the core of the community. Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us. We do not go to bland suburbs or enclosed shopping malls to learn about our past, explore our culture, or discover our identity.”1
Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play. In Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Main Street” it is traditional American morals and values in the midst of a changing and somewhat frightening modern world. It is a place of challenge and conflict, the individual vs. the community, change of society through thought, spoken word and action.
What is Main Street? “The phrase has been used to describe everything from our nostalgic past to our current economic woes, but when we talk about Main Street, we are thinking of real places doing real work to revitalize economies and preserve the character of the city and town.” 2
Main St, Flushing, Queens ©Art Print Images
Main Street, Auburn 1909
Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us. We do not go to bland suburbs or enclosed shopping malls to learn about our past, explore our culture, or discover our identity. Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play.
Main Street, Red Lodge, Montana ©Wikipedia
Main Street, USA in Disneyland is a sanitized composite of a typical American town during the turn of the century. Fashioned loosely after Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri, Main Street USA features themed dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. Traveling up Main Street USA, you arrive at the Hub, or Central Plaza of Disneyland, which leads to the other various lands of Disneyland.
Main Street Town Sq. Disneyland
At the center of town is a public square. Typically this “node” is a swollen activity center. Be it the core, the public room, the central activity node which in some way links the town, it is the heart of the town/city. As history tells us, many times a church, body of government is nearby and with it, this functional node is an area that can accommodate crowds, festivities, carnivals, dancing, speeches, shouting and mourning – “the life of a town”.3
It could be argued that in fact Main Street is really a mosaic of a diverse country and varied points of view.