Red Wing soars high in National Geographic Traveler rankings of history stewardship

Red Wing gets high ratings in a new list of historic places that are holding up to development pressures around the world, as determined by National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

The southern Minnesota city on the Mississippi was rated 23rd out of 109 worldwide destinations in the magazine’s fifth annual destination-stewardship survey. Only three U.S. cities are on the list.

The magazine said it looked at “… how well historic destinations are withstanding mass tourism, neglect, and wrecking balls — as well as the more subtle threat of overplaying the past, where a place ends up embalmed as a lifeless museum or Disneyfied into a cute parody of its true heritage.

“For this year’s survey, conducted by the Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, we chose more than a hundred historic places around the world. We then asked an international panel of 280 experts to evaluate the destinations based on our six criteria … This being a destination survey, we skipped living museums and stand-alone sites and chose only populated communities possessing a historic character, district, or dominant site. The score for each place is the average of the panelists’ ratings, accompanied by a sample of comments they posted in the course of the survey. We also skipped some destinations we’d rated in previous surveys.”

Top rated: Austria’s Wachau Valley and Welk Abbey, with a score of 88 for excellent preservation of both landscape and structures. The top-rated U.S. site, at No. 11, is Columbus, Ind., renowned for its modern architecture.

The Red Wing Republican Eagle talks to locals about the lofty designation.

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