Bath Maine Named One of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2005

The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Bath, Maine one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2005. “Bath is a jewel hidden in plain sight,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust. “A small, historic and relatively unspoiled New England town, Bath had the good sense to hang on to what makes it so special. The result is a vibrant community that offers travelers an ideal retreat.” Main Street Bath, which nominated Bath for this honor, announced the selection at a noontime gathering at City Hall, complete with ringing of Paul Revere Bell to celebrate the historic occasion.

Each year since 2000, the National Trust has chosen a dozen communities from across the country that offer visitors enjoyable natural, historic, aesthetic, recreational and cultural experiences. Criteria include a dynamic downtown, commitment to historic preservation, interesting architecture, cultural diversity, an economic base of locally owned small businesses, and walking access for residents and visitors.

“We are very proud to be selected for this august honor”, said Elena Vandervoort, president of Main Street Bath. “It is a wonderful tribute to the hard work by so many local people to preserve our historic buildings and our maritime heritage. We are thrilled that Bath has received this national recognition for all the distinctive aspects of our city that we residents know and love.”

The National Trust cited Bath as “an old seafaring town that has reinvented itself as one of the best small cities in America. The area’s proud maritime history dates from the launching in 1607 of the first ship built in the New World by English settlers. For centuries, shipyards that lined the river’s edge sent wooden sailing ships, steel vessels, and graceful yachts around the world. Today the Bath Iron Works, founded in 1884, carries on the proud shipbuilding tradition of turning out frigates and destroyers. At the south end of the city, the acclaimed Maine Maritime Museum offers gallery exhibits, a historic shipyard, educational programs and narrated boat cruises to points of historic significance and natural beauty. Bath’s tree-lined avenues are an outdoor gallery of humble and grand examples of classic American architecture. The year-round downtown area, with its 19th-century brick storefronts and narrow streets, has become a magnet for shoppers, in part through ! a successful Main Street program, while the expansive Historic District offers guided tours of carefully preserved homes and year-round performances in the 1846 Gothic Revival landmark that houses The Chocolate Church Arts Center. The ocean can be enjoyed at nearby Reid State Park, a rugged and scenic beach, and at Popham Beach, a glorious five-mile stretch of white sand rated one of the most beautiful beaches in New England. In addition, there is sailing, golfing, waterskiing, boating or just unwinding on the veranda of a romantic inn after a long day of sampling Bath’s many pleasures.”

This is not the first time that Bath has been honored by the National Trust. In 1977, the Trust presented its President’s Award to Sagadahoc Preservation, Inc., theMaine Maritime Museum, the Bath Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Bath city government for their exemplary cooperative preservationist achievement in downtown restoration. The joint restoration effort had transformed downtown Bath with brick sidewalks, period street lighting, underground wiring, trees and plantings and wooden benches, and storefronts renovated to restore them to the appearance of the late 1800s.

In recognizing Bath as a Distinctive Destination of 2005, the National Trust stated that “It is encouraging to see communities such as Bath so committed to the preservation of their historic landmarks, the revitalization of their downtown areas, and the protection of their unique heritage. Preserving our communities and landmarks such as The Chocolate Church Arts Center, the Winter Street Church, thePatten Free Library and Morse High School helps tell our nation’s story so that our children and grandchildren will have tangible evidence of our history close at hand and will enjoy the opportunity to live with it, learn from it and be inspired by it.”

Congatulations Bath, Maine!!!!