As the world in the tumultuous 60’s was focused on civil rights and anti-war, the people in Doylestown were rising up to reject a federally funded Urban Renewal Program to remove a number of “obsolete” buildings in the town center and replace them with parking lots and modern buildings. During the first week of June, 1964 citizens such as those who participate in the Nature Club, the venerable Village Improvement Association, merchants and politicians joined together with local residents. The plan, called “Operation 64,” was begun to preserve declining structures and renew the beauty of Doylestown.
In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Operation 64, an in-house exhibit of memorabilia, including the exchanges between top federal and state officials with the community leaders. This will be open to the public from mid-May on Saturdays from 11:00am-3:00pm in the Doylestown Historical Society exhibition area. Out-of-doors before and after posters will be viewable around town and in stores as Doylestown businesses display the Operation 64 logo, photos and the displays by artists. The events will culminate on Sunday, June 8th, the 50th Anniversary week, with a celebration offering music and food at the DHS park behind 56 S. Main Street.
Operation 64 resulted in the renewal of many buildings in the center of Doylestown through local volunteerism. Within a year, the ambience of Doylestown’s downtown improved, attracted consumers, and businesses reportedly saw sales increases from 11% to 50%. Officials from across the country began to arrive to consult with Operation 64 leaders to apply the Doylestown model to their own towns.
Today, Doylestown is ranked by Travel and Leisure magazine as #13 of “America’s Favorite Towns.” Doylestown’s Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for the architecture of multiple blocks of businesses and single-family homes.
DHS visiting hours are Saturdays from 11:00am-3:00pm. DHS is also seeking volunteers and new members. Help with Operation 64’s 50th anniversary events by calling 215-345-9430 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.