Is Solvang America's "Best Historic Small Town?" That's what the editors of USA Today are asking their readers. They've published a poll question on their "10 Best" site, with 20 cities from around the country nominated for the title. Readers are being asked to vote online.
The competition defines its nominees as having "big histories and small populations." The maximum population is 25,000. Solvang has just over 5,000 residents. All of the 20 nominees are also considered fun and affordable places where visitors and locals alike can delve into the nation's past. The description for Solvang notes it was founded in 1911 by Danish-Americans, and is now a "thriving hub of Scandinavian architecture and culture."
"The Danish heritage and its evolution into a Disneyesque place are what make Solvang special," Mayor Jim Richardson said, adding that the late Earl Petersen, one of the city's most influential residents, played a significant role in that architectural evolution. "He had been to Disneyland and wanted to turn Solvang into Main Street, USA," Richardson said. "And he did."