Gretna's Downtown Area Added to the Virginia Landmarks Register

Gretna, VA - Folks in Gretna always knew the rich history of the town. Now, people across the state will get to learn about it too.

Part of Gretna's downtown area has been added to the Virginia Landmarks Register.

With the addition of Gretna's Commercial Historic District to the Register, officials hope that this will spur new tourism in the downtown area.

The town has already seen a lot of growth in the last few years, and locals say it will only get better.

Elva Mattox owns an antique store on Main Street.

"Gretna is just a wonderful little town. We are just tickled to death to be here, " Mattox said.

She looks forward to the new interest and opportunity Gretna's landmark designation will bring to the area.

"I think it's going to grow. It's got nowhere to go but up and I think the historical designation will bring people in, so we're real pleased with it, " Mattox said.

What used to be a railroad town, Gretna boasts unique architecture that dates back to the late 1800's.

Preservation Virginia Representative Sonja Ingram worked with the town for more than two years to secure its place on the register.

"This just sort of piggybacks on what they've already done. It sort of solidifies...yes, Gretna is a nice, historic town, " said Ingram.

Business owners who choose to remodel will now be eligible for tax credits if they retain the building's historic character.

The town manager hopes the next step will be a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

"It'll mean much more exposure. I guess as they say on TV, it would 'turn it up a notch.' It will be a lot better, " said David Lilly.

With the upcoming Strawberry and Wine Festival and new businesses opening downtown, officials hope to see an increase in tourism.

For most, this honor is proof that "the little town that could" has come a long way.

"Gretna's growing. There's no doubt about it. We're definitely on a roll, " said Lilly.

The town's first McDonald's opened its doors last year, and they're looking forward to getting new medical centers from Centra and DRMC.

Lilly says that growth is only a sign of what's to come for the town.

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