The German Village Society will receive an award named for a longtime advocate who lived in the neighborhood.

The Columbus Landmarks Foundation at its annual meeting May 10 will bestow the Frederick J. Holdridge Outstanding Group award on the society.

Holdridge and longtime partner Howard Burns were a colorful couple dedicated to improving and shaping the neighborhood for the better part of three decades.

The couple owned Hausfrau Haven, a store that still exists on South Third Street.

"It's very cool, not only to be recognized, but to be recognized in the Fred Holdridge category," said Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the society.

The society will receive the award May 10 at the Athletic Club of Columbus.

The award recognizes an organization that has significantly fostered the cause of historic preservation or improved the built environment, thereby enhancing the quality of life in central Ohio, said Becky West, executive director of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation.

The society will be honored for its work with Columbia Gas of Ohio on the relocation of meters, newly designed heritage tours, signs and advocacy efforts beyond its borders -- for example, speaking out against the demolition of the vacant Columbus Maennerchor building in the Brewery District, West said.

Previously known as the Outstanding Group award, the prize was renamed in 2007 in honor of Holdridge, who was an honorary trustee of Columbus Landmarks, West said.

German Village is one of six groups or individuals that will receive an award at the meeting, she said.

"It is obvious and appropriate that the German Village Society win that award," West said.

"We know they stand on the shoulders of all of those urban pioneers since 1960 who made German Village the wonderful place that it is today, such a great example of what a historic district can be."

The society recently established the Gay Pioneers Tour, a 90-minute sojourn that tells a dozen or so stories of gay men who helped build the village, Todorov said.

There are three schedule tours this summer, and others can request the tour upon visiting the Meeting Haus, Todorov said.

A plaque commemorating Burns and Holdridge, on the front of Hausfrau Haven, is on the tour, she said.

Todorov said the award came as a total surprise.

"For a lot of awards, you have to nominate yourself. Not this one -- totally out of the blue," she said.

A look back

In related news, local author John Clark will present a look back at 175 years of German Village history, with more than 100 rare and historic photos and anecdotes about the neighborhood's innovators.

The discussion will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. May 10 in Stauf's Coffee Roasters, 627 S. Third St.

It is free and open to the public, although seating is limited, Clark said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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