Partners In Preservation: Main Streets Awards $2 Million in Preservation Grants to Sites Reflecting America’s Diverse History

Oct 30, 2018 2:30 PM ET

October 29, 2018 /3BL Media/ — Today, American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street America announced the winners of the 2018 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign. The 11 winning historic sites will receive a total of $1.6 million in grants to fund their respective preservation projects. At the outset of the campaign, an additional $400,000 was allocated to the 20 Main Street communities that participated in the program to increase public awareness of the importance of these historic places and build grassroots support for the participating Main Street districts.

The 2018 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets winning sites are:

  • The Tabor Opera House, Leadville, CO
  • The Women’s Building, San Francisco, CA
  • City Hall Clock Tower, Biddeford, ME
  • The Church of the Epiphany, Los Angeles, CA
  • Bronzeville Cookin’, Chicago, IL
  • Wah Chong Tai Mercantile, Butte, MT
  • Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL
  • Historic First Baptist Church, San Marcos, TX
  • Spring Street, Danville, VA
  • National Women’s Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, NY
  • The Arch Social Club, Baltimore, MD

Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership created in 2006 to engage the public in preserving historic places. To-date, it has committed over $22 million in support of more than 200 historic sites across the country.

The 2018 Partners in Preservation: Main Street campaign featured 20 sites around the country which celebrate diversity and the struggle for equality. The sites participated in a public voting campaign hosted by media partner National Geographic from September 24 through October 26.

“We are pleased that such varied sites won grants for their historic preservation projects,” said Richard Brown, vice president of philanthropy, American Express. “From churches at the center of the Chicano and Civil Rights movements in California and Alabama to the birthplace of Women’s Rights in New York, these historic places located in the heart of America’s Main Streets highlight that our diverse history is deeply embedded in communities from coast to coast.”

“This year’s Partners in Preservation campaign saw a record-level of engagement by both the sites and the public,” said Germonique Ulmer, vice president of public affairs, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The campaign’s success further demonstrates local communities’ commitment and support for Main Streets and celebrating our diverse history.”

The Winning Sites

Birmingham, AL
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Local Organization: Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church intends to use $150,000 to restore the church’s historic windows, cupola and bell towers installed in 1911. In 1963, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was the target of the infamous, racially motivated bombing in which four young girls were killed. It still functions as a house of worship and gathering space, as well as a tourist destination.

Los Angeles, CA
The Church of the Epiphany
Local Organization: The Epiphany Conservation Trust

The Church of the Epiphany intends to use $150,000 to repair the roof and rehabilitate the church basement to provide community meeting space, healthcare services, and legal and eviction clinics. The Church of the Epiphany was a former safe haven during the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and a hub for the Mexican immigrant community.

San Francisco, CA
The Women’s Building
Local Organization: San Francisco Women’s Centers

The Women’s Building intends to use $150,000 to retrofit the 108-year old building. The Women’s Building became the first woman-owned and operated community center in 1979. The site now welcomes 25,000 clients and visitors each year and seeks to connect women and their families to social services, arts, wellness and educational events.

Leadville, CO
The Tabor Opera House
Local Organization: City of Leadville

The Tabor Opera House intends to use $150,000 to rehabilitate two of the opera house’s facades, helping it to serve as a mixed-use cultural center for locals and tourists alike. Built in 1879, during an era of tremendous migration and immigration, the Tabor Opera House stands today as a reminder of Leadville’s diverse past that parallels the story of equality.

Chicago, IL
Bronzeville Cookin’
Local Organization: 51st Street Business Association

Bronzeville Cookin’ intends to use $150,000 to renovate the building’s facade in order to catalyze reuse of the facility, transform the retail district and continue to help revitalize the community at large. Bronzeville Cookin’ is located on Chicago’s South Side, an economic hub during the Great Migration. It is a unique dining destination and culinary incubator celebrating African-American cuisines, cultures, and communities.

Baltimore, MD
The Arch Social Club
Local Organization: Upton Planning Committee: Pennsylvania Avenue Main Street

The Arch Social Club intends to use $118,000 to improve facade lighting and update the marquee, leading the way for Baltimore’s Arts and Entertainment District. Founded in 1905, the Arch Social Club is one of the oldest, continuously operating African American men's clubs in the U.S.

Biddeford, ME
City Hall Clock Tower
Local Organization: Heart of Biddeford

The City Hall Clock Tower intends to use $150,000 to restore the clock and rebuild four faces of decorative work outside the clock room. In a mill town that drew immigrants from around the world, the City Hall Clock Tower called mill workers to their shifts and welcomed a diverse community downtown.

Butte, MT
Wah Chong Tai Mercantile
Local Organization: Mainstreet Uptown Butte, Inc.

Wah Chong Tai Mercantile intends to use $132,000 to restore the south facade and roof of the building, which is now maintained by the Mai Wah Society as a museum to honor and preserve the Chinese heritage in southwestern Montana. Constructed in 1898 by the Chinn family, the Wah Chong Tai building was once a mercantile and noodle parlor for the Chinese immigrants who helped build the City of Butte.

Seneca Falls, NY
National Women’s Hall of Fame
Local Organization: National Women’s Hall of Fame

The National Women’s Hall of Fame intends to use $150,000 to relocate the hall of fame to the 1844 Seneca Knitting Mill to double its space to make room for a wider historical scope of movements on equality. Founded in the birthplace of America Women’s Rights Movement and the location of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, the National Women’s Hall of Fame was established to permanently recognize women who make history.

San Marcos, TX
Historic First Baptist Church
Local Organization: City of San Marcos

The Historic First Baptist Church intends to $150,000 to restore the historic First Baptist Church, located in the Dunbar neighborhood. Constructed in 1908, the Old First Baptist Church was once the meeting place for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Danville, VA
Spring Street, Danville, VA
Local Organization: Downtown Danville Association DBA River District Association

Spring Street in Danville, VA intends to use $150,000 to restore two storefronts into a business incubator and a space for celebrating the area’s civil rights history. From the early 1900s through the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, Spring Street was a mecca for black businesses and entrepreneurship.


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.

About American Express

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, InAuth, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.

About Main Street America

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About Shop Small®

Shop Small® is a nationwide movement to support small, independent businesses and call attention to the valuable and distinct contributions they make to their communities and the economy. Shop Small celebrates small businesses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to fitness studios and salons, and everything in between. The Shop Small movement was spurred by the widespread participation in Small Business Saturday®, a day founded in 2010 by American Express. This national holiday shopping tradition is dedicated to celebrating small businesses and driving more customers through their doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. November 24, 2018 marks the ninth annual Small Business Saturday, proudly backed by American Express. Learn more and connect with us on,,

Media Contacts:

Amelia T. Woltering, American Express

Germonique R. Ulmer, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Sarah Tanner, Day One Agency


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. | @savingplaces