September 23, 2015 Community
Restaurants, shops, and yes, actual residents, are joining long-time cultural assets like The Grand to begin making Wilmington’s main street vital once again
Market Street has seen its share of hard times.
The backbone of Wilmington’s commercial and retail life for more than two centuries, the street fell into decline in the late 1960s, ravaged by rioting and a National Guard occupation in the wake of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The continued growth of suburban shopping malls eviscerated its retail core. Market Street’s transformation into a pedestrian mall in the mid-1970s brought a glimmer of hope, but it was short-lived.
Why would a big-name national retailer want to invest millions downtown when the local merchants, who presumably knew better, had decided to close up shop at 5 p.m.—when DuPont employees went home—shuttering their storefronts with forbidding iron gates?
While the passage of the landmark Financial Center Development Act in 1981 would engulf Delaware’s shores with a tidal wave of credit card banks, it meant little to Market Street. The bankers, like almost everyone else in the ‘80s, preferred the suburbs.
Click here to read the full article from Out & About Magazine.