As florist Laura Levin gets her final Christmas orders finished on Tuesday, she said she enjoys working in downtown Dandridge. That's where her shop, Wice Flowers, is located.
"When you look at the streets, everything is kind of older," Levin said. "And it makes you feel at home."
However, while there is a historic atmosphere in the Jefferson County town, leaders with Main Street Dandridge said there's always room for improvement.
"(We) could use the expertise of the developers of Knoxville that have done bigger projects that we have not tackled ourselves," said Main Street Dandridge's Barbara Avery Garrow.
That's when the organization called for help through the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance. The program is a division of Knox Heritage, which helped continue growth for downtown Knoxville in recent years.
"It's interesting to see the same issues that we had in downtown Knoxville, just on a smaller scale," said Knox Heritage director Kim Trent. "So the idea is to take what we've done here down there for them."
Last Friday, Trent and other experts and architects from Knox Heritage went on a tour through four towns the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance helps. In all four places, including Dandridge, organizers said the best thing these smaller communities can do is preserve older buildings, rather than tearing them down.
"(The buildings were) either ones that need to be restored or ones that already are, so that was very refreshing," said Trent. "They're not wanting to clear their downtowns; they want to restore them."
Hearing this news makes Dandridge shopowners, like Levin, happy to see the preservation efforts continue.
"We do need a lot of upgrading, like our sidewalks, but we still want to keep our same old history still here," Levin added.
The tour also covered Jefferson City, Newport, and Morristown. The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance covers 16 counties in East Tennessee.