"Rome's downtown has become a major hub for events and entertainment," said Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce Chairman Anne Kaiser. "We are excited for this recognition by USA Today and invite everyone to see the vibrancy and variety that downtown Rome has to offer."
In January, Rome was also honored by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs as a Georgia Exceptional Main Streets (GEMS) city, one of four in existence. Downtown Rome also holds claim to Preserve America City, Georgia Main Street City, and Tree City USA designations.
In 2003, Rome was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a Great American Main Street City. In 2007, Forbes Magazine named Rome as one of America’s Top 100 Places to Live.
`We were very excited and honored when USA Today approached us about being on a list that included several small towns with big names and huge draws for tourism,” said Luke Chaffin, GRCVB special projects coordinator. “One of the first stops that many tourists here visit is the downtown area because they want to get what they often describe as the ‘true feel’ for our wonderful community.`
According to local lore, the city of Rome was founded in 1834 at a spring near the present-day intersection of East 4th Avenue and Broad Street. As Downtown Rome and the Between-the-Rivers Historic District continued to grow, the area became ravaged by the Civil War and much of the town was subsequently burned. From the ashes, the spirit of Rome emerged and rebuilt the community into a thriving town.
Following a successful revitalization in more recent decades, Downtown Rome has again claimed itself as a center of activity in Floyd County, becoming the home of unique shops, restaurants, rich history, community theater, live music and more. Historic Downtown Rome boasts the second widest main street in Georgia, and is where the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers merge to form the Coosa River.