As we search for the “prettiest painted places” in America, it’s evident that many of the country’s most beautiful and distinctive towns and neighborhoods owe their names and appearance to our nation’s rich cultural diversity. That’s certainly the case on the East and West Coasts, but it’s just as true in America’s heartland.
Case in point: Lindsborg, a community that was founded in 1869 by Swedish settlers on the plains of Kansas. The town is notable not just for its beautifully painted historic buildings, but also for its outdoor murals and exceptional collection of fancifully painted Dala horses (traditional Swedish carved figures) that appear on Lindsborg street corners and in public spaces.
Frankenmuth, billed as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria”, is another good example. In pretty Frankenmuth, building exteriors are painted with Bavarian inspiration, ranging from the traditional appearance of half-timbered structures to blue and white diamond gingerbread patterned exteriors, and a charming shopping village decorated with a German-influenced paint color palette.
In Louisiana, Baton Rouge (“red stick” in French) has nominated its Spanish Town, a quirky neighborhood with a “front porch culture” that is the oldest part of the city. In a unique blend of cultures, Spanish Town holds its own Mardi Gras parade, where partiers revel on streets lined with historic homes painted in bright “pops of color”.
Brightly painted Spanish-style architecture is also the focus of Oklahoma City’s nominee: The Paseo Arts District. Brimming with art galleries, restaurants and boutiques, the Paseo is an historic Spanish-style village with painted stucco exteriors that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
And then there’s Lafayette Square, one of the most picturesque areas in St. Louis. Named after the French Revolutionary War hero, Lafayette Square is a regal neighborhood of tastefully painted stately homes built in the 1870s and 1880s that frame a beautiful public square. Among the neighborhood’s claims to fame: It was one of 12 national winners in our inaugural “Prettiest Painted Places” competition back in 1997!
Every one these nominees – and all the others we have received – show very clearly that beautiful exterior painting is common in every culture. And we have the pleasure of seeing them all right here in America!