Press Release | Washington, DC | May 23, 2016


The National Main Street Center, Inc. announced today that Dahlonega, Georgia has been chosen as a 2016 Great American Main Street Award® (GAMSA) winner. The City of Dahlonega and the Dahlonega Main Street program were recognized at the 2016 Main Street Now Conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

With a charming and walkable downtown, first-rate restaurants, and unique shops featuring the best of Southern Appalachian hospitality, downtown Dahlonega is a top destination in the Southeastern United States. Located just 65 miles north of Atlanta and the site of the first U.S. Gold Rush, more than a million visitors travel to Dahlonega (pop. 6,000) every year. With the Main Street approach as its guide, Dahlonega Main Street uses a combination of tools, including preservation grants, design guidelines and promotion strategies to preserve downtown Dahlonega’s strong sense of place while also expanding economic development opportunities.

“Downtown Dahlonega is a sparkling example of how careful planning, small business support and historic preservation can combine to create a thriving downtown,” says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Its downtown district, art galleries, restored theater and courthouse stand out in North Georgia, making Dahlonega a truly distinctive shopping and dining destination and a charming place to call home.”

“Dahlonega’s economic success has been built upon our precious historic architecture and resources,” says Dahlonega mayor Gary McCullough. “Local leaders, partners and stakeholders continue to plan and work diligently to preserve and promote our historic village as an economic center of North Georgia.”

In its 15 years of operation, Dahlonega Main Street distinguished itself as a vital downtown partner in several ways. When a fire devastated several businesses in 2014, the organization led the effort to assess the damage, create an action plan and relocate displaced businesses and 40 employees. In partnership with the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce, local and state government agencies, and the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega Main Street has facilitated 180 building rehabilitations, 108 new business openings and a reduction in retail vacancy rates from 20 percent in 2000 to 2 percent today.

The other two 2016 GAMSA winners are Shaw District in Washington, D.C., and Audubon Park in Orlando, Fla.

To learn about GAMSA and previous winners, visit

For more information about Dahlonega Main Street, visit and find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

About the Great American Main Street Awards

Each year, Main Street America, a program of the National Main Street Center, celebrates the country’s best examples of comprehensive commercial district revitalization. Winners are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants by a national jury based on successful and innovative uses of the Main Street Approach. ® Criteria for winning include: strength of the Main Street in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit; commitment to historic preservation; implementation of model partnerships, and demonstrated success of the Main Street Approach.® The National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About the National Main Street Center

Originally launched as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980, the National Main Street Center pioneered a transformative, grassroots strategy to help flagging downtowns counteract booming suburban growth. This novel approach was in stark contrast to the urban renewal projects that were destroying commercial districts and neighborhoods all over the country. Today, the Center leads a coast to coast network of revitalization programs – known collectively as Main Street America – who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.


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

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