People seem to have the cart and the horse all mixed up.
The purpose of a local historic district since Charleston, SC started it, has always been to preserve culture and history and to save the community spirit. The original intent as it was in Newburyport back in 1971 was always the first thing in the citizen’s mind – preserve our town!
But the unintended consequence of controlling the aesthetics has been a tremendous upsurge in economic rejuvenation and a lifting of the community’s quality of life.
Thanks to both cities, Charleston and Newburyport (which so happen to both have large amounts of Federal architecture); this achievement has been used in hundreds of communities in New England and a couple of thousands other towns and cities across the country.
After making the blunder of demolishing half its buildings, Haverhill had the sense of instituting an LHD on the west end of the city and it has been the nucleus that started a rejuvenation throughout the community.
It is a recipe for success!
But the point to make is simple: it was local, committed citizens who made it all happen.