Savannah, Rome, Cartersville, Athens, Carrollton. With just a quick glance, the well-traveled Georgian can readily recognize major landmarks that reveal the identity of these cities with bustling and thriving historic downtowns. Restaurants, boutiques, bars, festivals, live music and public art are just a few of the draws that bring in customers, locals and tourists alike, and the money they spend. And these are just a few of the Georgia cities reaping the benefits of their well-preserved history.
Thirty years ago this was not the case. Historic downtowns in Georgia and throughout the South sat mostly empty. Building crumbled from neglect as businesses, customers, and dollars fled the districts for their shinier shopping malls that sprung up on the outskirts of town. The outward sprawl of shopping centers often led to the destruction of historic neighborhoods filled with the residential architecture of yesteryear thereby adding to the loss of a significant heritage.