Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Hal Knight

Committee Members

Terrence A. Tollefson, Michael P. Marchioni, Jasmine R. Renner


Historic preservation has been a successful economic development tool that has led to heritage tourism in some Tennessee towns but not in others. The problem studied was to determine if there was a set of tangible attributes a town must possess to be successful in using historic preservation as an economic development tool. Through an extensive literature review, 59 predictor variables were identified and arranged into 6 research questions looking at the tangible attributes related to town demographics, geography, organizational structure, historic preservation organizations, heritage tourism organizations, and town financial structure. Data were collected from a mailed survey of 32 town managers. The response rate was 68.8% (N = 22). Secondary sources, such as U.S. Census data, were used to collect data when those sources appeared consistent and mandatory. The study used logistic regression analysis to compare successful towns, defined as those towns in the upper third of study towns for tourism expenditures per capita, with less than successful towns. The 32 study towns met the criteria of having a 2003 population of fewer than 10,000 and a nationally-recognized historic district that coincided with the towns' central business districts. The results of the logistic regression analysis on the individual predictor variables indicated that 5 were statistically significant--median age, distance to a major city, restaurant beer sales, Grand Division, and merchants' association. Constraining the final predictive model (Garson, 2006) to no more than 1 variable per 10 cases 3 led to the inclusion of median age and merchants' association as the 2 predictor variables that provided the highest predictive value of correctly classified towns (95.8%). In summary, this study is inconclusive in determining whether historic preservation leads to heritage tourism and can be used as an economic development tool by small Tennessee towns. However, it has been established that 5 attributes or characteristics of small towns does contribute to the probability of success and that median age and the existence of a merchants' association proved to be the best predictive model.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.