Preserving History in Sweet Auburn

Two million dollars in American Express preservation funding is up for grabs, and Sweet Auburn Works Inc. is in the running to receive a preservation grant to enhance the Bryant-Graves Historic Home and to help introduce the local businesses and organizations of the district to the 1 million-plus visitors to the MLK, Jr. Historic Site, as part of Partners in Preservation: Main Streets.

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, a campaign launched today by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Main Street America, will award  preservation grants to historic sites on Main Streets across the United States — and the public will help determine if funding will go to Sweet Auburn.

Sweet Auburn Works, Inc. intends to use their current offices, the Bryant-Graves Historic Home, as an information hub to help introduce the local businesses and organizations of the district to the one million-plus visitors to the MLK, Jr. Historic Site. Built between 1893 and 1895, the Bryant-Graves Home’s original occupants opened an institute in 1910 for older African-Americans, including MLK Sr., to learn to read and write. By enhancing the home and creating an information hub within it, Sweet Auburn Works intends to integrate the Historic Site into the fabric of the recent commercial resurgence in Sweet Auburn. This transformation will serve as yet another example of African-American self-sufficiency and innovation within Atlanta.

Why Preserving Main Street Matters:

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets reminds us of preservation’s impact in not just preserving the past — but also about building the future.

  • The impact and importance of main street preservation on Americans’ lives is proven, with $4.65 billion reinvested in Main Street preservation programs resulting in 8,042 building rehabilitations, 5,616 business openings, and 27,462 new jobs in 2016, according to Main Street America
  • During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Main Street revitalization programs generated between $2.4M to $22.3M more in tax revenue for an individual city than would have been expected without the presence of the program, according to Main Street America
  • A new survey commissioned by American Express from Morning Consult revealed that 79% of Americans say that the idea of Main Street is what makes America beautiful.
  • This same survey revealed that among those in leadership positions at small businesses, 65% say that the preservation of the historic character of Main Street plays a factor in the success of small businesses located in the Main Street area.

At, votes can be cast daily through October 31 for the 25 sites across America that are part of the program.


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