We all know where our Main Streets are, but do we know what they are and why they matter? Whether they are named First Avenue or Water Street or Martin Luther King Boulevard, what they represent is universal. Main Street is the economic engine, the big stage, the core of the community. Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us. We do not go to bland suburbs or enclosed shopping malls to learn about our past, explore our culture, or discover our identity. Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play.


So what is Main Street? The phrase has been used to describe everything from our nostalgic past to our current economic woes, but when we talk about Main Street®, we are thinking of real places doing real work to revitalize their economies and preserve their character. Specifically, Main Street® is three things: a proven strategy for revitalization, a powerful network of linked communities, and a national support program that leads the field.

Panama City Main Street Logo that looks like 4 city buildings next to eachother

Downtown PC


The downtown area was originally called "Harrison" and briefly "Park Resort" in the 1800s. Under the developer G.M. West, the community was named Panama City in 1906, and the focal point of downtown became the waterfront where rudimentary piers housed commercial shipping, a post office and the city jail. Businesses extended northward up the first two blocks of Harrison Avenue. Panama City gradually became a municipality. Under Mr. West's guidance, a newspaper called The Panama City Pilot was organized in 1906.




Redevelopment and revitalization programs started in the latter half of the 20th century. A new marina was built at the end of Harrison in 1957. In 1984, the Panama City CRA was created to revitalize the area. In 1999, the Streetscape project on Harrison Ave. gave the sidewalks, landscaping and lighting a renewed look. There are new improvements occurring today! Take a walk downtown and see our commercial grant money hard at work as businesses along Harrison Avenue improve their properties.



The town of Millville, Florida, was born out of the need for lumber to build houses and ships in the late 1800s when settlers coming to St. Andrews Bay had no way to travel but by sailing vessels.


Millville had a sawmill, a shipyard, and several stores. In the winter of 1885–1886, several families organized a Sunday school. They built a small schoolhouse and the newly formed Watson’s Bayou Literary Society met. By 1910, it was the largest community around the bay and the center of commerce and industry for the area.





Since the original Downtown North Redevelopment Plan, adopted in 1993, progress has been made on many of the projects and programs undertaken by the Downtown Improvement Board/CRA to address the continual decline of Panama City’s African- American community, through efforts such as the Greater Glenwood revitalization and visioning initiative in 2003. While many areas of the Downtown and those neighborhoods adjacent to the revitalization areas have seen significant investment, the areas further away from that economic activity, particularly the Downtown North CRA, are in need of attention.



Main Street America Logo Image

As a Main Street America Affiliate™, Main Street Panama City is part of a national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.