I am 100 percent geeked out about the award our neighborhood won from the Columbus Landmarks Foundation.

It was such an honor, not only for the specific efforts it recognized, but in the "Fred Holdridge" award category for Best Group.

Fred was the innovator and instigator of many of the things we still hold dear in German Village, and that includes community and preservation.

The award recognizes a neighborhood, community group or organization that has significantly fostered the cause of historic preservation or improved the built environment, thereby enhancing the quality of life in Columbus and central Ohio.

Here's some of the language from the award presentation:

"Last year, and with tremendous cooperation by both parties, the Society reached an agreement with Columbia Gas to position meters out of public view when possible, retaining the character and aesthetic value of the buildings.

"The Society Board also approved a plan encouraging advocacy beyond their borders. We can assure you there is strength in numbers in preservation battles, and we have been bolstered by joining forces twice recently in the Brewery District, fighting for the Maennerchor and the South High Antique Mall.

"The Society celebrated the 150th anniversary of Schiller Park last year with the publication of a beautiful coffee table book. And in addition to their well-developed heritage tours, German Village Society just unveiled an immersive interpretive trail called 'The Brickline: An Urban Historic Discovery' with recurring themes including German settlement, immigration and culture; the groundbreaking historic preservation movement; the architecture, landscape, and physical context of the neighborhood; German Village parks and gardens; and LGBTQ residents as community visionaries.

"Fred Holdridge was known for his generosity, commitment and his fun-loving spirit ... German Village Society carries forth these values and we are so pleased to recognize them with this award."


Under the leadership of our dedicated Board of Trustees, the German Village Society sets a high bar for neighborhood advocacy and support.

Our board is drawn from all kinds of different backgrounds and these leadership volunteers are invited to participate -- often -- because they've done some aspect of the multitentacled German Village Society pretty well.

But because we do events and we do art shows and we do parks and we do businesses and we do tourism and we do preservation, not every single board member is 100 percent laser-focused on the preservation mission at all times.

But when we were challenged by the needs of Columbia Gas to revise the way our gas meters work in German Village, we pivoted to think deeply about our mission and about what this threat might mean to preservation of the district.

Luckily, we had recently hired Nancy Kotting as our preservation advocate and Nancy brought with her 25 years of experience.

She educated us and she coached us and the board really had a principled debate about our role as preservationists.

The same thing is happening now as we see historic buildings and buildings important to the cultural story we tell, such as the Columbus Maennerchor, being threatened.

The whole board and the community engage deeply in how we live our mission.

And speaking of those cultural stories, we aren't just about old bricks and mortar. We care deeply about the people -- the people we call Caretakers of a Legacy.

Starting with the Germans, who created then neighborhood, and celebrating the early pioneers in the district -- many of them from the LGBTQ community -- right up through the 400 people who will engage us this June 23-24 to create the 59th annual house and garden tour, this is our heritage.

And through our group tours and our new Brickline sign trail, we are bringing heritage tourism to the fore in German Village.

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column .