Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama SHPO

Alabama Main Street Program

Main Street is a proven, powerful tool for small town economic development. It is a highly focused, long-term, incremental program that capitalizes on the unique character of historic downtowns. Created and trademarked by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it has over 25 years of success in more than 2,000 communities nationwide. 

Currently 13 Alabama communities are using the Main Street Four Points Approach to invest in existing infrastructure, create new jobs and retain and attract businesses. They are returning long vacant buildings to the tax rolls and bringing shoppers downtown. And just as important, they are engaging their citizens in creating stronger communities.

Program Status

Main Street Alabama is the new home for Alabama's Main Street program and long-time downtown advocate Mary Helmer is the new President/State Coordinator. The new program is a statewide, non-profit organization created to reestablish a nationally certified program in Alabama.

Visit their new website You can contact Mary at, by phone at 205.910.8819, or mail at P.O. Box 483, Birmingham, AL 35201.

For close to 25 years the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) served as the state Main Street coordinating program, providing guidance, support, services and essential certification to existing Main Street towns. State budget cuts in 2003 and 2004 resulted in loss of staff and funding for Main Street at the state level.

Program Study

In early 2009, the AHC contracted with the National Trust Main Street Center to recommend an institutional home and sustainable funding sources for a revitalized statewide Main Street Coordinating program.

The goal was to re-establish a stronger program that can match the investment and success rates of neighboring state Main Street Programs. It also sought to link Main Street to other Alabama programs that focus on strengthening small towns.

Program Study Status

For information about the study, see the links below

Frequently Asked Questions

How can communities participate in the Main Street Alabama Program?

Main Street Alabama offers many diffferent levels of support based on community needs. Visit for more details. 

What other organizations help small towns?

Your Town Alabama, Alabama Communities of Excellence, Auburn University Urban Studio-Small Town Design Initiative, Auburn University Economic and Community Development Institute, Design Alabama, and University of Alabama Center for Economic Development

For more information contact Mary Helmer at 205.910.8819 or


Historic Preservation