Culpeper, Virginia Honored with 2012 Great American Main Street Award

National Trust for Historic Preservation Praises Excellence in Revitalization at Annual Conference

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today that Culpeper, Virginia was chosen as a 2012 Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA) winner. Recognized as a leader in implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, embracing sound historic preservation practices and building strategic partnerships, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) was honored at the Main Street Awards Ceremony during the National Main Streets Conference in Baltimore, Md.

The National Trust Main Street Center’s annual GAMSA awards recognize exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing the nation’s historic Main Street commercial districts. CRI is credited with leading the once-thriving downtown district back to vitality after steady decline that began in the 1970s. The demolition threat to a once-bustling train depot was the spark that ignited citizen action. CRI was formed in 1987, became a Main Street program in 1988, and joined public and private entities in redeveloping the depot, making streetscape and infrastructure improvements and restoring badly damaged storefronts. Vacancies are now down to 6 percent from 86, thanks to a mix of banks, boutiques and coffee shops. Upper floor apartments along Culpeper’s Davis Street are occupied and the downtown is again thriving.

“Culpeper demonstrates what can be achieved with a strong commitment to historic preservation and a broad base of supporters,” says Doug Loescher, director of the National Trust Main Street Center. “This combination enabled its swift but thoughtful recovery from the 2011 earthquake and promises a bright future for Culpeper as a growing regional cultural and entertainment destination.”

The other four 2012 winners are: Bath, Me.; Jacksonville, Ill.; Valley Junction/West Des Moines, Iowa and Washington, Mo. They were selected by a national jury composed of former award winners, community development professionals, governmental agency representatives who are active in community economic development and historic preservation. To learn about previous GAMSA winners, visit

GAMSA winners demonstrate exemplary achievement in the process of strengthening their downtowns and commercial districts based on the following selection criteria:

  • Active involvement of the public and private sectors;
  • Broad-based community support for the revitalization effort;
  • Quality of achievements over time;
  • Innovative solutions to significant problems;
  • Commitment to historic preservation;
  • Evolving track record of successful commercial district revitalization;
  • Comprehensive revitalization effort: activity in all four points of the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to commercial district revitalization;
  • Economic impact of the revitalization program; and
  • Successful small business development.

The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based economic development that was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation more than 30 years ago and has been used in more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S.



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces