I live in a historic town.
You can tell by the road signs and billboards, and by the fact that here and there, you have a building that is more than a hundred fifty years old.
It’s not a particularly exciting history.
And honestly, it’s not that much different than the history that the other 4,683 historical small towns in my state have on display. By the luck of the draw, we were first at something, once. There’s a plaque.
And if you go on a tour of downtown, you’ll find a lot of plaques. The downtown committee put them up a few years back, so that you can read all about what the empty buildings and tumble-down ruins used to be.
There’s not a whole lot left to bring outsiders here. A few old papers in the archive, and an eclipse that will come and go this August. We got eclipse glasses printed up with our name on them.
So did the towns next door.
And down the street.
The “historic” market share is minuscule.
Sure, it worked for Williamsburg, and that picturesque little town on the river–the one with all the B&Bs and the arts festivals, every summer. The one that grows to five times its size, every year. But they got their start decades ago. Before the market was divvyed up.
Before any of the bigger towns even realized they would need to be historic.
Back when we still had businesses in those empty buildings.
Back when we were modern, and proud of it.