Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987 Page: 7
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The mobilization of these preservationists and neighborhood
activists in the late 1970s was timely indeed. For
Georgetown was about to experience a building boom and
population increase to rival the growth patterns of its robust
Located on Interstate 35, just 30 miles north of the bustling
state capital in Austin, Georgetown offered a fine public
school system and private university, a healthy business
climate, pleasant and safe neighborhoods, and numerous
opportunities for community involvement and recreation.
Growth was inevitable.
benefits would be
the need to handle
growth's attendant ilf
which made the iL
town so appealing.
The community and _
its leaders therefore
began to assess preservation
Public hearings soon
proved that there 'i:
was indeed solid
for significant zoning
these changes, en- ci
might destroy the
integrity of older
A bold and far-sighted decision by the city's planning and
zoning commission and city council then "down-zoned"
property along several major streets from commercial back
to residential. Locally dubbed "the rollback," this landmark
rezoning essentially gave Georgetown's historic neighborhoods
a new lease on life. It further underscored the commitment
of the citizenry and of town leaders to protect
Georgetown's remaining architectural resources.
During the five years that
Georgetown participated in
the Texas Main Street Program,
more than $8 million
was reinvested in downtown
Preservation momentum was therefore building when
one dramatically effective renovation program, the Main
Street Project, convinced even disbelievers that historic
preservation is not only aesthetically desirable-it's good
business as well.
Piloted by the National Trust for Historic Presevation,
Main Street is an innovative program designed to bring
about economic and architectural revitalization in towns
across America. In 1982 Georgetown was among the second
group of preservation-minded Texas towns chosen
to participate. The
EiE3l: ^ m. ; M : program's self-help
approach united architectural
Georgetown in 1982
was badly in need of a
the square's wealth
d b e c I a of Victorian commerical
intact, exterior facades
assumed a shabby,
Like countless other
small towns across
the United States,
fallen victim during
the 1950s and
1960s to a national
trend toward decentralization.
of regional shopping
centers in nearby
Austin and the convenience of automobile travel had
taken their toll on downtown retailing. As sales declined
and businesses closed, repair and maintenance of commercial
buildings relaxed substantially. Professionals abandoned
the second floors for modern offices in outlying areas and
the vacant spaces were boarded up.
By capitalizing on the renovation and marketing expertise
made available by the Texas Historical Commission to
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987, periodical, Summer 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45437/m1/7/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.