Historic Lebanon

Historic Lebanon’s overall goal is to use historic preservation for economic development.  Our focus is concentrated in our Main Street area, specifically to increase tourism, entice more retail and businesses and to create a sense of place with Lebanon’s rich history and to create a market identity for the whole community.  We strive to enhance Lebanon’s quality of life and to increase our profile as a great small town.

For more information please visit http://historiclebanon.com/

Historic Driving Tour

Driving Tour front

This historic driving tour highlights buildings, sites and areas which are unique to Lebanon and Wilson County. In all, there are twenty-eight county wide sites, many listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The sites along the tour route are identified with a numbered sign. Corresponding numbers are found on the tour map.

Historic Lebanon Program Benefits

Lebanon is a great small town with a rich history, beautiful neighborhoods and many National Register of Historic Places sites. Historic Lebanon mission is simple; we use historic preservation for positive economic impact in the Lebanon community. A vibrant historic downtown core is essential to Lebanon’s economic development, quality of life and civic pride.

With community support, we will remain a strong advocate for the proper development of our Square and surrounding neighborhoods for now and for generations to come. We all love and want to preserve the small town charm of Lebanon and its sense of community, but to stay vibrant we must have smart growth.

Historic Lebanon’s job is to make sure growth happens in a way that preserves the essence of Lebanon; embracing our past while looking forward to new opportunities in the future.

Our focus is to preserve the historic buildings, increase tourism, entice more entrepreneurs and to create a sense of place in our historic downtown core. We want to use the historic properties in new ways to create a vibrant area with restaurants, retail/office spaces and urban living. Another goal is a more walkable downtown with public green spaces, a direct connection to the Music City Start commuter train station through a walking trail and the installation of public art. These improvements will create a gathering place for locals as well as increase tourism to the historic downtown.

Simply put; Historic Lebanon strives to enhance Lebanon’s quality of life and to increase our profile as a great small town.

Educating the public on Lebanon’s rich history is another part of the non-profit’s mission. The organization has produced a Historic Driving Tour and written two books on local history. Historic Lebanon is also in charge of the local Tennessee Main Street program.  A real advantage of Main Street communities is the program’s

strength in achieving economic vitality. Studies show for every one dollar invested in a historic downtown, there is a thirty-six dollar return. This return on investment (ROI) is achieved by using the four points of the Main Street program, Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Vitality to present our Square is its best light. These four elements come together to create positive economic progress for the community.

In the past two years, we have received major grants from the TN Main Street program. These include a Façade Improvement Grant ($100,000) for historic properties on the Public Square and a TN Main Street Entrepreneur Grant ($50,000) and a TN Placemaker Grant ($70,000).

In 2018, we saw the completion of our façade improvement grant projects for five historic Public Square buildings. Historic Lebanon is very pleased we were able to use the grant money to rehab five buildings, all being empty for several years, into viable, sales tax producing spaces in our Main Street area. Funding these façade projects with the grant allowed the property owners to leverage additional money for the complete rehabilitation of their properties. The buildings now have proper facades and design features that follow the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation.

All five buildings are now fully occupied, all utilizing not only the bottom floor space but the upper story.

as well. The projects have created/recruited six new businesses and given home to two existing ones. These include a much requested full service restaurant, a coffee shop, three boutiques, a yoga studio, two professional offices and a residential loft apartment.

Our Cumberland Ignite Lab-entrepreneur center was created with funds from the Main Street Entrepreneur Grant. The center is used for classes, training and has a Co-Work space upstairs. Historic Lebanon sees an opportunity in our community to “garden” our young entrepreneurial talents while fostering relationships with our established entrepreneurs. Hopefully, this cultivation will lead to a more diverse mix of businesses and owners in the Main Street district and a more progressive economic development culture for the community. We are able to continue the Ignite Lab with the recent TN Placemaker Grant.

The Historic Lebanon 2019-2021 Work Plan will focus on these key recommended Transformation Strategies:

Place-Making and Reinvestment - Continue to preserve downtown buildings and develop infrastructure to support new business creation and investments. Work to create housing in the Main Street district and also in adjoining neighborhoods to attract new residents to support downtown businesses and services.

Multimodal Connectivity - Support City of Lebanon efforts to build sidewalks, trails, greenways and connectivity infrastructure to create an environment where walking and biking is a safe and preferred mode of transportation for residents and visitors.

Entrepreneurship and Business Development - Historic Lebanon and City of Lebanon leaders and community partners can build upon our recent success to create new Main Street business development targets and support entrepreneur and business creation services and incentives.

Market Research and Positioning - Continue market data collection and analysis and potentially complete a market study for the downtown district which can provide in depth information on local and regional markets and consumer preferences. This data can become the basis for targeted business creation, entrepreneurial services, new downtown and adjoining neighborhood resident recruitment, destination tourism, downtown marketing, events, and promotion efforts.

Branding and Promotions – Continue to promote our Main Street District to the Middle Tennessee Region. Use this strategy to recruit new businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, tourists and new residents to the area. Highlight our commuter rail system, historic downtown business core and surrounding neighborhoods.

Kim Parks Executive Director historiclebanon@cumberland.edu 

324 West Main Street, Lebanon, TN 37087 For more information call 615-547-9795

Lebanon uses Historic Charm to Boost Downtown Business

The Tennessee Town & City Article featured the Square with the article, Lebanon Uses Historic Charm to Boost Downtown Business. The article was featured on the Community and Rural Development Best Practices Series. Read the full article here.
Historic Lebanon Main Street 2018 Statistics

Success Starts on The Square

Historic Lebanon