Main Street, also known as IL Route 64, a major east-west road from Chicago to the Mississippi River, runs through the city of St. Charles and has long been the main thoroughfare for people travelling into Downtown St. Charles, as well as connecting the east and west sides of the city. Once the central hub of commerce and development, Main Street in St. Charles, like many communities, saw a decline in activity as businesses left for the large shopping centers, and community preservation took a back seat.
The need for downtown revitalization was clear and, in 1992, a group known as the Friends of Downtown St. Charles Inc. formed and began its affiliation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This group was established by the Downtown Committee of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, and evolved to become a dedicated organization of volunteers focused on the preservation and revitalization of historic Downtown St. Charles. Partnerships with city government and civic groups were formed to expand the scope of the organization's efforts.
In 1994, the organization adopted a new identity as the Downtown St. Charles Partnership, Inc. (DSCP). In 1996 the DSCP became part of the Illinois Main Street Program under the office of the Lieutenant Governor. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the DSCP kept its affiliations with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Illinois Main Street until 2012. The framework for the DSCP is based on the national program's Four Point Approach to revitalization.