Mention the words "main street" to many local residents and a vision of Marietta's Front Street pops into their heads.
"Downtown Marietta, Front Street from Putnam to the Ohio River levee. It's where all the knick knack shops are," said Geneva Moore of Marietta. "If people ask where the town's main street is I would tell them to go down Front Street."
But she noted that people's idea of where a city's main street is located can change.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Donna Vannoy, right, and Melinda Offenberger stroll across the southern end of Front Street which they both consider to be Marietta’s “Main Street.”
"It may depend on the times," Moore said. "When I was younger Putnam Street could have been considered the town's main street because that was the center of activity. Now it's on Front Street."
Melinda Offenberger from Whipple echoed Moore's thoughts.
"I always think of Front Street right away because of all the little shops people visit up and down the street," she said.
Seeking Main Street:
Marietta Main Street is encouraging area residents to get involved in a nationwide online effort called "Seeking Main Street."
To participate, take a photo of what you believe best represents your idea of main street in Marietta. The photo can be of a street or other location in the city.
Upload the pictures via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and tag the photos #SeekingMainStreet.
Photos from Marietta and other communities across the country can also be viewed through a link on the Marietta Main Street Facebook page.
Her friend, Donna Vannoy of Marietta, agreed.
"A main street is where there's always something going on, like the Merchants and Artist Walk with performers out on the streets where you see a lot of people," she said. "And the Riverfront Roar and Sternwheel Festival are all held at the end of Front where it meets Greene Street."
Marietta Main Street executive director Jean G. Farmer is encouraging area residents to take photos of streets or locations in the Pioneer City that they think best represent their ideas of "main street" and post those pictures online.
"With many downtowns across the nation leaving the scene, the NBC network started this program of 'what main street means to you,'" she explained. "We feel our main streets are the heart and hub of our community, so we're asking people to take pictures expressing what 'main street' is to them and post them online (through Facebook or Instagram) with the tag #seekingmainstreet."
Farmer said the photos could be of a street, building, or other location that expresses the idea of "main street."
"Everyone has a different opinion about main street," she said. "I consider it an area where people gather, but others may see it in a building or park area. It's just a fun way to show all America what our 'main street' is.
Ann Marie Krum and her husband, Bob, were walking along Fifth Street in Marietta Wednesday afternoon. Although they currently reside in the North Hills area near Parkersburg, W.Va., the couple spends a lot of time in Marietta.
"To me the heart of a town is its main street,"Ann Marie said. "Without a main street you lose the community."
"It's a welcoming area where people can meet and talk, like Front Street in Marietta and the old Market Street area in Parkersburg," he said. "That area of Parkersburg has changed, but Marietta has been able to keep itself intact."