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Americana Lives On
June 10, 2000

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Rudy: "Sometimes you really have to search to find Americana, even right here at home. Seems like no matter where you go these days, there's some new chain store or a new mall or a new housing subdivision that's making everything, well, look the same. Enter the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is a non-profit group who's main mission is to seek out those extra-special, specifically American things and then work to make them stay that way. This summer, the Trust is making it easier to find America. They've put out a list of 12 "Distinctive Towns" where Americana lives on. Here to tell us about them, is Michelle Kholos, with this week's culture watch. Hi Michelle."

Michelle: "Hi Rudy."

Rudy: "So, 'distinctively American towns'. What does that mean anyway?"

Michelle: "Well, basically what you were just talking about. Towns where people have decided they don't want to become one giant Gap store where everyone drinks non-caf Grande-mocachinos and lives in cookie cutter houses. Towns where people have made efforts to preserve the old, instead of pave over it."

Rudy: "Such as?"

Michelle: "Such as Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Here's a town founded back in 1836 when a logger thought it'd be a great place for a sawmill. Fifty years later, a number of other industries moved in, including the Leinenkugel brewery and its great beer. And today, many of those original buildings, built in the 1840s, 50s and 60s, still stand. In fact, you can take a tour and see them bottling the Leinies in the original brewery. Built in 1872."

Rudy: "Wow, that is Americana. Where else is a distinctive city?"

Michelle: "Well, there are eleven others, as far flung as San Luis Obispo, California, to Fredericksburg, Texas, to Lowell, Massachusetts to Port Townsend, in the state of Washington. Another one of my favorites that made the list and one that fits in with what you were talking with the listeners about is Petoskey, Michigan."

Rudy: "Petoskey, that does sound familiar. Where is it exactly?"

Michelle: "It's way up in the northern-most part of the state. And you recognize it because it's where Ernest Hemingway used to hang out as a kid. His parents owned a lodge up there and it's where Papa got his first taste of hunting and fishing. You can still visit the historic Hemingway cottage on Walloon Lake."

Rudy: "Sounds great. If our listeners want more information on historic towns to visit this summer...?"

Michelle: "Just check out these links. And that's this week's Culture Watch."


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