When the original 200 Colonial Hills homes were built in 1942, they stood on barren land. Each was 1,000 square feet in size, built according to nine models that differed primarily in the placement of the one-car garage or the spacing of the front windows.

When the original 200 Colonial Hills homes were built in 1942, they stood on barren land. Each was 1,000 square feet in size, built according to nine models that differed primarily in the placement of the one-car garage or the spacing of the front windows.

Nearly 70 years later, there is little evidence of the stark beginnings of one of Worthington's most picturesque neighborhoods, with its towering canopies of trees and houses that have been enlarged and individualized.

"Where every house is a home," reads one of the signs welcoming visitors to the subdivision. "The friendly community," reads another.

Like a surprising number of its residents, George Campbell lived there as a child, and decades later moved back to raise his own family.

He has become fascinated with the history of the neighborhood, and his knowledge continues to expand as others lend their memories, photos and memorabilia to his collection.

Campbell, president of the Colonial Hills Civic Association, will be on hand during the July 11 Tour of Homes and Gardens to present the story to anyone who would like to hear about the beginning of Worthington's post-World War II baby-boom development.

The subdivision was originally platted by real estate developers in 1927, but the Great Depression postponed plans.

But by 1942, the Columbus area needed affordable homes for white-collar defense workers, and plans were revived by the government, with a focus on the southernmost, flattest section, which is now Selby Boulevard East, North, and South, and Kenbrook Drive.

The Defense Homes Corporation financed construction. The 200 one-story houses were designed by young architect Todd Tibbals. Construction began in the winter of 1942, and the first occupants moved in the following summer.

The houses were constructed of prefabricated sections delivered by rail. Old photos show pieces of the homes stacked in what is now Selby Park.

The 1,000-square-foot, two- and three-bedroom homes were rented to workers at the Curtiss-Wright Aviation plant at Port Columbus. Campbell doesn't know why an area so far from the plant was chosen.

Following the war, the federal government sold the homes to occupants and to others. Many were bought as rental properties, though today it is believed that more than 80 percent are owner occupied.

They sold for $6,000 to $8,000. In 2007, the average value of a Colonial Hills home was more than $177,000.

When the boom in housing came with the end of the war, old plans for the northern section of the subdivision were dusted off and the homes on Loveman, Colonial, Park, Meadoway, Park Overlook, and cross-streets were built. Several developers built the homes, usually in groups, explaining why houses in certain areas tend to look alike.

Unlike the one-story homes, most of the two-story homes have basements.

Construction began in 1948 and continued into the early 1950s.

By 1955, there were 800-plus homes and the population was 3,000.

The original subdivision was in Sharon Township, but the township, Columbus, and Worthington all bid for the residents to annex. Even though the taxes there were the highest of the three, Colonial Hills residents chose to annex to the city of Worthington in the mid 1950s.

The population took the city to the 5,000 population mark, which made it eligible to become a city.

Worthington promptly built Colonial Hills Elementary School, which is still an integral part of the community.

The civic association has always been important as well. In the early days, it represented residents in important matters of water and zoning.

The Independence Day celebration began in the early 1950s at Selby Park, one of the subdivision's two major parks. For many years, the civic association also sponsored fireworks, setting them off in Indianola Park.

Traditions such as the kiddie parade continue and this weekend youngsters will decorate their bikes and parade around Selby Park just as their parents, or grandparents, did years ago.