The Restoration of Van Wert, OH: a Case Study

Coming up:

June 16

Join Eric Doden and Chris Mead for a presentation on the preservation efforts currently taking place in Van Wert, Ohio. Attendees will learn about the positive impact this work is having on that community and its economy. This special presentation is made possibly by Experience the Heart of Kendallville (EHK), supported by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Indiana Main Street, and Main Street America.

The event is free and open to the public! The presentation will be held on Thursday, June 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Strand Theatre, 221 S Main Street in Kendallville.

Eric Doden was raised in Butler and Auburn before settling in Fort Wayne. As an adult, Doden formed a company aimed at restoring small towns across the U.S. During lunch with a friend, who happened to live in Van Wert, OH, Doden was led on a path to meet with leaders from the area to explore ideas.

After his path crossed with Chris Mead, a "kindred spirit" who wrote the first comprehensive history of chambers of commerce called "Magicians of Main Street: America and its Chambers of commerce, 1768-1945", the duo went on to co-author a book called "The Restoration of Van Wert, Ohio, How Local Leaders Flipped the Script on Downtown Decline".

Doden's and Mead's presentation at The Strand Theatre will share the story of Van Wert and how the community decided to do something about its "crumbling downtown". Doden and Mead will also offer signed copies of their book.

Chuck Surack, Founder and Chairman of Sweetwater Sound says, about the book, it is "an excellent resource for leaders looking to revive their downtown. Eric's and Chris's passion for restoring small towns is contagious."

EHK hopes attendees will find additional inspiration to take full advantage of Kendallville's PreservINg Main Street Pilot Community designation and the resources provided by supporting organizations involved in transforming the city's historic downtown district.

Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase during this event. For more information about the Van Wert transformation still underway visit

The Restoration of Van Wert, OH:  a Case Study

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