It is a human and technical reference center established to administer the Main Street program in North Carolina, which works to stimulate economic development within the context of historic preservation. The North Carolina Main Street Center is in the Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance. The center utilizes the approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and operated through their National Main Street Center (NMSC).
In 1980, the NTHP created the National Main Street Center to share lessons learned in a revitalization pilot program. For the next three years, the NMSC conducted a national demonstration in six states, including North Carolina, that encouraged imaginative use of business and government resources to support local revitalization initiative. Since completing the demonstration project, the NMSC has grown to now include 38 states and over 1,500 communities. North Carolina having completed the demonstration program, has continued to offer the Main Street program to cities and towns throughout the state and now provides direct assistance to 49 Main Street communities and indirect assistance to countless others.