The National Trust for Historic Preservation has asked for nominations for its 2008 list of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. According to the Trust’s website, a "distinctive destination" must “provide an authentic and dynamic visitor experience; have a heritage tourism infrastructure, such as unique shopping, dining or lodging (e.g. historic hotels); have interesting and attractive historic architecture and/or cultural landscapes; and organizations actively working to promote and protect the community’s historic assets.”
That certainly sounds like St. Louis — and the CVC’s Kitty Ratcliffe, working with Barb Geisman, the St. Louis AIA, local preservationists, and others, has sent in a nomination form. Being selected for the 2008 list would put the City into the minds of thousands of travelers and visitors next year.
Here’s our brief:
The City of St. Louis is blessed with a wide variety of distinctive architecture, ranging from our wealth of historically rehabilitated downtown buildings (including the magnificent Old Post Office building, renovated with the Trust’s assistance) to Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch, the symbol of our City that is recognized worldwide. These architectural assets are the foundation for our visitor experience.
Downtown’s historic buildings, including our convention hotel, are our Convention Center’s front door and are home to a wide variety of new restaurants and other retail stores that have opened within the past four years. We are extremely proud of our unique historic buildings, and we have used the historic rehabilitation of these unique buildings as the foundation for our City’s revitalization.
Missouri is blessed with one of the nation’s most effective state historic tax credit programs, and this program has been a significant factor in much of our success. It is our understanding that, for several of the past five years, the City of St. Louis has led the nation in the both the number and dollar volume of historic rehabilitation projects proposed.
We believe that the City of St. Louis will be an excellent showcase for the value of historic preservation in the revitalization of a City and in the marketing of our City as a wonderful destination for both business travelers and tourists.