With many cities touting themselves as “historic towns,” it is possible that town officials are referring more to the history books and discolored photographs that showcase the town in its former state, because it is tough to see many towns as pleasantly historic.
Many of these historic cities are not necessarily terrible towns to visit. There are some scenic areas, and a small amount of shops, the crime is low and the surroundings could be worse. However, it's the label of “historic” that is sometimes troubling. There is a difference between “historic” and “old.” Something that is historic would almost require it to be well maintained. However, right now, it seems as if many towns just qualify as being plain old.
Dictionary.reference.com defines “historic” as, “well-known or important in history.” If either of these conditions are true – that a place is well-known or important in history – why would they be left to partially rot? Half of some "historic" towns are well maintained, as if they were actually important at some point in history, and the other half is sometimes practically rotted into the ground. For example, one of the key attractions of a town whose claim is to be historic, Owego, NY, is a scenic, classic-looking bridge that crosses the Susquehanna River. Unfortunately for those enjoying a stroll on the bridge, they have to deal with terribly dilapidated riverside buildings when facing the town. Yet, centered with the bridge is a nice park area featuring a courthouse and several war monuments. It's as if the town cannot make up its mind. It is deceitful to sell the town as being historic when a good portion of it resembles a skid row-influenced version of Sesame Street. There is even still a gaping hole in the riverside shops where a building burned to the ground years ago, just a short walk from beautifully preserved houses. Many towns such as this exist in a state of architectural schizophrenia.