A lot of intelligent urban historians and critics have mentioned for decades that Main Streets in American cities are all right and working perfectly fine. And thus there is really no reason trying hard to invent something “cool” to replace the main streets, at least not for the sake of purely inventing something new because there should be something new every day.
As for myself, I totally believe that main street is something that is irreplaceable and crucial to the well-being of people living in a democratic society. I took these photos of the main street in downtown Manistique while they were having their annual Folkfest in the summer. One most important aspect of main street is that it is public that everyone can use. Whether you wear fancy clothes or not, you will not be denied the right to walk on it. Unlike a mall, you can exercise your civil rights on the main street. You could stage a protest or stand there or put in a festival for the community to enjoy.
Also Main Street Manistique is interesting to walk along because there is so many variety of facades to look at. The human scale development and various ownership of land allowed shops to be put up in diverse fashions. There are domes, giant columns, stone, bricks, planting beds, signage, flags and many more other palettes of building materials and displays along main street. While in the mall, every stores, paths and even the plants look alike.
What also makes Main Street so different than a mall or other controlled environment is the excitement and “danger” happening on the street. On a good day, you may walk into a Folkfest that you don’t expect. On a “bad” day though, you may be approached by a stinky homeless person asking for money. Either way, these encounters and discoveries are not something you can find in an artificially made environment.
American Main Streets are a classic that should be preserved and protected. They were created to be the communal and cultural center of each downtown. Let’s continue to use the main street in your town and create memories on them with your friends and family.
folkfest @ main street, manistique, upper peninsula, michigan – 12:45pm, july 10, 2010