Duke of Gloucester Street, which links Colonial Williamsburg's reconstructed Capitol building to William & Mary's ancient campus and its historic Wren Building, was officially recognized Saturday as one of the "Top 10 Great Streets in America."
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Just steps off the William & Mary campus - and affectionately known as "DoG Street " to students, faculty and residents alike -- the historic patch of roadway was recognized as one of the country's best for 2009 by the American Planning Association. The street received this honor for its historical significance to the foundations of America.
Williamsburg dignitaries, along with citizens and students in the Williamsburg community were met by the sounds of fife and drum as they gathered in front of the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square to honor the 300-year-old street.
"Duke of Gloucester has been one of America's great streets for centuries," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley, who joined Mayor Jeanne Zeidler of Williamsburg, Colin Campbell, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Robert Hunter, past president of the APA, Oct. 31 to celebrate the honor. "It is marvelous to see it officially anointed as such by the American Planning Association."
Duke of Gloucester Street's place and connection to history is well known. W&M alums and former U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler walked it. So did Franklin D. Roosevelet, who 75 years ago proclaimed Duke of Gloucester Street the "most famous avenue in America."
Campbell, who also serves on the William & Mary Board of Visitors, noted the impact of the historic Duke of Gloucester Street.
"At one end, sits a great American university, the second oldest in the land," he said, "At the other end, the colonial capitol of tyranny thrown off and freedom won. And between those two icons? Life. In all its variety. Life today, and life as it was lived in the 18th century."
Surrounded by dozens of vendors selling produce and other goods during the Williamsburg Farmers Market in Merchants Square, Zeidler noted that modern uses of the street are just as immense as they were hundreds of years ago. The street is home to many events that mark the Williamsburg calendar, including the last weekend's William & Mary Homecoming parade that brought out hundreds of residents, alumni, students, faculty and staff. The street is key part of the Williamsburg community, Zeidler said.
"Its recognition by the APA, and the central role it plays in the community today, are a testament not only to intelligent and thoughtful planning, but also to the collaboration and commitment over many years by the city, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, planners, business leaders, and citizens," said Zeidler.
Reveley added, "DoG Street symbolizes our capacity to recreate the past and learn from it, as Colonial Williamsburg has done so brilliantly, and the street symbolizes our capacity to grow and evolve marvelously over time as the College of William & Mary has done so splendidly through more than three centuries.
"So, Duke of Gloucester, congratulations on being named one of America's great streets... You are a great street, and you were a great street before there was a State of Virginia or a United States of America. Long live DoG Street!"