by PIDCphila
November 21, 2017

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Philadelphia residents showed support for a beloved main street, Germantown Avenue helping it to win a contest for the most popular main street in the nation. Germantown United Community Development Corporation was awarded the grant in the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets Campaign — it came in first in an online poll to determine the 11 winners of the contest by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Geographic and American Express to underscore the importance of historic places and their role in sustaining local communities.

The prize: A $150,000 grant to fix up two buildings historically significant in the African-American community. The money will help restore the facades and fix structural problems at Parker Hall and the John Trower Building, both of which date back to the 1870s. Parker Hall served as an unofficial USO and entertainment hall for black soldiers during World War II. Today, it’s home to the medical offices of Dr. Althea Hankins, MD, and the ACES Museum, which honors minorities’ military contributions during World War II. The John Trower Building was owned by a well-known businessman and philanthropist who was once considered the richest African-American in the United States. It’s now home to the Crab House restaurant. The 11 winners will split a total of $1.5 million in grants. Other winners were named in Arizona, California, Iowa, North Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio, Missouri, Texas and Utah.

Prior to the awards being announced Germantown United hosted an open house on the importance of main streets.  According to 2016 data from Main Street America, investments in Main Street districts have a significant impact on local economies – encouraging real estate development as well as the creation of new businesses and jobs. In 2016, $4.65 billion reinvested in Main Street improvement programs resulted in 8,042 building rehabilitations, 5,616 business openings, and 27,462 new jobs.

Furthermore, according to a recent study from Morning Consult of 2,201 Americans commissioned by American Express, 79 percent of Americans say that preserving Main Street is important. Additionally, 79 percent of Americans say that the idea of Main Street is what makes America beautiful. Main Street is also seen as vital in connecting Americans to their local community – 82 percent of Americans say that Main Street is important to their ability to socialize with others in a community. A similar amount, 86 percent, say that Main Street is important to the well-being and the enjoyment of a community.

PIDC is excited for Germantown’s win and looks forward to seeing the restoration of two historic buildings in the community. PIDC supports several clients along the Germantown Avenue corridor and encourage you to support all the small businesses in that neighborhood during Small Business Saturday on November 25th.


About Germantown United Community Development Corporation

The mission of Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) is to promote and facilitate the revitalization of Northwest Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood and its business corridors through a sustainable, creative, and community-driven approach to economic development. Learn more at

About Partners in Preservation

Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic places across the country.

Through this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.



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