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Ruston makes the top five

Best Historic Small Towns List announced
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Ruston makes the top five

Photo courtesy of Henry McCoy

Ruston has placed in the top five choices for the USA Today’s 10 Best Historic Small Towns.

The city placed fourth behind No. 1 Ludington, Michigan; No. 2 Wickford, Rhode Island, and No. 3 Abilene, Kansas.

“To be recognized among the top five Best Historic Small Towns by USA TODAY is more than just an accolade; it’s a reflection of our town’s deep-rooted history, cherished traditions, and an invitation to explore and experience its unique character,” Amy Stegall, Ruston Main Street director and community coordinator, said.

The results of the online voting contest were announced Wednesday morning.

“This recognition is a testament to the dedication of the city of Ruston, downtown Ruston, and all the merchants, businesses, and community organizations whose hard work make Ruston a thriving destination,” Amanda Carrier, president and CEO of Experience Ruston, said.

Experience Ruston is the marketing arm of the Ruston Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“Landing on this list means more than just bragging rights — it also provides us with some unique marketing opportunities to position Ruston and Lincoln Parish as a top small-town destination in the South,” Carrier said.

Ruston had held steady in the No. 2 spot for in most of the fourweek voting period trailing only Ludington. Twenty cities with populations of fewer than 25,000 were in the running for the Best Historic Small Town honors.

In addition to historic sites, long- standing businesses, and notable museums throughout the city, Ruston is home to a thriving 25-block historic downtown that serves as a hub for culture and commerce.

The district itself is on the National Register of Historic Places and features public art installations, local shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cultural events year-round.

“It is a real honor to be voted in the top five Best Historic Small Towns in America,” said Mayor Ronny Walker. “Thanks to all those who voted and to USA TODAY for their interest in recognizing small towns in America.”

Nominees for the Best Historic Small Town were chosen by a panel of experts that included include a combination of editors from USA TODAY, editors from, relevant expert contributors, and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties.

Here’s the list of the Top 10 winners in order: Ludington, Michigan; Wickford, Rhode Island; Abilene, Kansas; Ruston, Louisiana; San Elizario, Texas; Winslow, Arizona; Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; Cumberland, Maryland; Jonesborough, Tennessee; and Winterset, Iowa.