I took a trip to Galena, IL this weekend. I don't have any pictures to post right now but if you are familiar with Galena you know almost the entire Main Street is fully intact with original front facades.
My question is this: most small towns in the Midwest experienced a rebirth of their downtowns in the 1950's after WWII. This usually meant tearing off at least the first floor of older buildings and replacing it with something new for the era. We now look back and realize how ugly and bland they are compared to what was built originally. What were the factors that allowed Galena's buildings to retain their storefronts? If you go through any small town in the Midwest you'll see metal or glass siding, utilitarian windows where ornate Italian windows once stood. Clearly there wasn't just a rejuvenation effort in Galena because that would cost way too much money. It's almost as if economic "progress" forgot about Galena and now the city is better for it. Does anyone know this history?