The Interesting Story of America’s Main Street History

Main Street sign

The American image of Main Street has always represented an ideal of community, where folks from all communities come together in the name of tradition. Main Street is often been described as a model for planning and development, from charming small towns to big bustling neighborhoods all over the country. But it wasn’t always that way. Let’s take a look at the peculuar events in America’s Main Street history.

1920’s

In the beginning, Main Street was a place people would come and go to partake in tremendous advancements in travel and communication, exciting social change, and roaring good times. Lining the streets of just about every Main Street in America were pharmacies, candy shops, barbershops, train stations, and unique shopping experiences. The economy was booming. Main Street was flourishing with businesses and eager people wanting to spend their hard-earned money.

1930’s

By the 1930’s, democracy was taking a big hit and those on Main Street were filling the pain. In 1929, the consumer economy screeched to a halt with the Wall Street crash leading to the Great Depression. This put an end to the roaring twenties and effected every business on every Main Street corner in America. The country was in the worst financial position in history. By 1932, American industries were producing only half of what they had in 1929. Wages were falling and the debts borrowed in the 20’s to build commerces were now owed, and workers were getting paid pennies and hour. Many folks on Main Street were forced out of business. Millions of people could not afford the goods that were being produced which led to a surplus of goods which had to be sold at a loss.

1940’s

Recovering from the aftermath of the Great Depression, the American tradition to build and create was stronger than ever. By now, Main Street America was defined as a place destined for independent businesses in towns throughout America. It was during this era that the supermarket was invented, paving the way for a variety of consumer-driven companies across the country. The idea of shopping was becoming more appealing and realistic. This led to public interest in Main Street toy shops, tea rooms, grocery shops, soda shops, plumbing shops, mechanic shops, and more.

1950’s & 1960’s

America back in the upswing of innovation, new businesses and highways were being erected. At this time, Main Street businesses were finding the need to reach more people which paved the way to new marketing gimmicks such as neon signs, mascots, and special events that drew large crowds. Soda fountains, bakeries, mom and pop shops were opening on Main Streets across the country. Main Street USA ran straight through many of the booming towns which led to the term “Main drag”. Drive-in movies were popping up every where, as was the drive-in diners. Folks were excited to be be out and about and wanted to be seen in good attire and would drive the main drag with windows down. The American fashion industry took off at time, with leather jackets and poodle skirts were available for purchase at every Main Street boutique.

1970’s

By now, many of the Main Street buildings and streets were beginning to show signs of deterioation. In the late 1970’s, a historical preservation project called Main Street Inc was born. Founded by the National Trust for Historical Preservation, the Main Street’s mission focuses on a holistic approach to community revitalization based on the 4-point approach of design, promotion, economic restructuring, and organization. This led to the founding of many smaller groups whose efforts focus on improving community aesthetics to attract tourism or to encourage shopping outside of the big box retailers.

1980’s

In the 80’s, Main Street USA started to see a decline in business as more shoppers were choosing big box retailers. Main Street corners around the world were becoming nothing more than urban eyesores of what used to be. It was around this time that metro rails were being expanded providing a new flow of traffic for Main Street businesses which gave a glimmer of hope in an otherwise bleak time. Surrounding neighborhoods were slowly becoming abandoned as local factories were closing and people were moving away to work in cities and corporate centers. At this time, there was nothing trendy or hip about visiting Main Street. Some folks may have had an affinity for certain buildings connected to their childhoods, but for the most part, the future was looking bleak for Main Streets across the world. Struggling artists found refuge in Main Streets’ cheap rents. This new boom in interest led to developers who began to see potential in the old art-deco buildings rich in Main Street history. Main Street once again became a trendy place that mingled new residents, busineses, and low income residents together.

1990’s-2000’s

By the mid 90’s, Main Street history was coming to new life as hip entertainment districts. But once again, history dealt Main Street another hard hit in the new millennium. First came the 2001 riots followed by the economic downhill trend brought on by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For nearly 100 years, Main Street history across America has been criticized for its conformity and discriminatory practices involving the policing and removal of those deemed out of place from the local, particularly relating to color, class, religion, and ethnicity. In the last few years, Main Street has become more about privately owned businesses and diverse shops rather than local outdated conventional beliefs. These days, Main Street is lined with modern benches, street fairs, art festivals, and town parades.

Here at cbdmainst.com, we hold some of the same traditions of Main Street as being a trusted source for obtaining American-made CBD oil and hemp-derived products. We are a small family owned e-commerce site serving online shoppers since 2018.