Heritage, Summer 2005 Page: 13
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Coming Home Again places elsewhere?' It was an incredibly easy
decision to become a Texas Main Street
When Beaumont decided to
become a Main Street city in
1991, it was an easy decision,
according to Evelyn Lord who was
mayor at that time.
"Prior to joining the Main Street
Program, downtown Beaumont was dull,
lifeless, and without focal points. Activity
was at a minimum; young people were discouraged,
and many of the mature citizenry
had lost both contact and interest in the
heart of the city.
"So when we heard the presentation
about joining the program, we thought:
'Who doesn't want to see new life downtown,
to delight in the restoration of our
city's treasures of yesteryear, to encourage
new enterprise, and to retain our young
people who might seek more attractive
And just like that, city leaders signed up.
From the beginning, revitalizing downtown
Beaumont was a community-wide effort.
According to Carolyn Howard, the city's
Main Street director, there have been many
players over the years. From the City of
Beaumont to the private sector, the entire
community has joined the effort to bring
life back to its downtown.
"While the city has been an amazing
partner, private investors have stepped forward,
too. In fact, for every dollar that the
City of Beaumont has put into the Main
Street program, more than $45 has been
invested by the private sector," said
Howard. She continued, "About 40 percent
of our Main Street membership
growth has come from outside of the
downtown area. This tells me that people
now understand that downtown belongs to
everyone. Even area malls and corporate
retail giants-who some might consider to
be the enemy of downtown revitalization-are
members of Main Street."
With this partnership of the public and
private sector, Beaumont has been able to
rally behind several significant developments.
In 1996, over a napkin at a local restaurant,
representatives of Main Street and
the Jefferson Theatre Preservation Society
formed a partnership whose mission was to
restore Beaumont's magnificent 1927 theatre
and then run it like a business.
Above: The 1927 Jefferson Theatre in
Beaumont won restoration honors in
2004. Courtesy of Beaumont Main
HER I TAGE SUMMER 2005
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2005, periodical, Summer 2005; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45369/m1/13/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.