Staunton, Virginia

Virginia | 2002 Great American Main Street Award® Winner

Founded in 1747, Staunton experienced unprecedented prosperity and growth from 1870-1910, when many of city's commercial buildings where built. During the 1950-60s the buildings along the railroad tracks, including hotels, shops, loading docks, and warehouses, fell into serious decline.

Preservation-minded citizens partnered with the National Trust to study the Wharf District in 1979. The result was a plan of action that funded a streetscape project and revitalized the commercial district. Using the tools of the Main Street Center, Staunton has converted an abandoned department store on Beverley Street into City Hall, constructed a parking garage that blends the city's Victorian architecture, and added the Blackfrair's Playhouse, an authentic recreation of William Shakespeare's 17th century London Theater. The Wharf District is now a thriving commercial center, and Beverley Street represents one of Virginia's finest main streets. The city that was once a gateway to the west and birthplace of our twenty-eighth president, Woodrow Wilson, is now proud to be called the "Queen City of the Shenandoah Valley" once again.