Colonial Williamsburg’s Duke of Gloucester Street has been named one of the 10 Great American Streets for 2009.
The award, presented as part of the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America program, was announced officially at a special ceremony in Merchant’s Square Saturday.
The program, which began in 2007, acknowledges distinctive and authentic streets, neighborhoods and public spaces that demonstrate how architectural features, accessibility and functionality can encourage a sense of community.
“We’re very excited to single out Duke of Gloucester as one of this year’s Great Streets,” APA Chief Executive
Officer Paul Farmer said. “While many people think of Duke of Gloucester as just part of a historic district, it actually serves present-day needs with Merchant’s Square.”
DoG Street was selected for its ability to physically and symbolically bridge the past with the present. Not only does the street span from the old Capitol building to the College of William and Mary campus, but it also successfully fuses Colonial Williamsburg’s living history museum with the modern retail environment of Merchant’s Square.
“There aren’t very many streets in America like this, and we commend city leaders and citizens for their thoughtful and grand vision to revert this once-U.S. highway into a living museum,” Farmer said.
At the ceremony, Williamsburg Mayor Jeanne Zeidler, College Board of Visitors member and CEO of The
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Colin Campbell and College President Taylor Reveley each spoke about the contributions their respective institutions regularly make to the street.
“Williamsburg was one of America’s first truly planned communities,” Zeidler said. “Duke of Gloucester is anchored by a seat of learning at one end and a seat of governing on the other. They are linked, as they should be.”
She also stressed that the convergence of the street’s three main uses — historical, institutional and communal — is what makes the street so special.
“This designation for Duke of Gloucester Street comes at a particularly special moment in its history,” Colin
Campbell said. “Seventy-five years ago this month, President Franklin Roosevelt came to the colonial
Capitol to dedicate the newly restored Duke of Gloucester Street and declared it ‘the most historic avenue in America.’ We take pride in this latest recognition for this historic and vibrant boulevard which links the historic area to Merchant’s Square and the College of William and Mary.”
The other 2009 recipients of this designation are: oadway Street in Skagway, Alaska; President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock, Ark.; Front Street in Bath, Maine; South Main Street in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Front Street in Traverse City, Mich.; Haddon Avenue in Collingswood, N.J.; Main Street in Greenville, S.C.; North Main Street in Wheeling, W.Va.; and East Newberry Boulevard in Milwaukee, Wis.
The ceremony coincided with the weekly Williamsburg Farmer’s Market, which was also recently singled out as America’s Favorite Midsize Farmer’s Market by the American Farmland Trust.