Columbus' Hanford Village gets national historic designation
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The East Side neighborhood that many African-American military veterans and their families called home after World War II has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hanford Village was marketed to returning veterans in 1946 and became a middle-class neighborhood of Cape Cod houses, according to Columbus Landmarks Foundation, which hired a consultant to submit the application last year.
“It’s a recognition of the historic value of that community,” said Ed Lentz, the foundation’s executive director.
Hanford was founded as a village in 1909 and had its own mayor and police department. Columbus annexed it in 1955. Nine years before that, developer Ivan Gore built a subdivision of Cape Cod houses that advertised “Homes for Negro Families” for $6,500 apiece.
Black veterans, including some of the Tuskegee Airmen, lived there. The neighborhood was 8 miles from what was then Lockbourne Air Force Base, now Rickenbacker Airport.
But much of Hanford Village was wiped out when I-70 was built in the 1960s. The freeway curves around what remains of the neighborhood.
Dorothy McQueen, 85, moved into a model house in 1947 with her husband, Harold, a serviceman who worked on planes.
“It was wonderful in the beginning,” said Mrs. McQueen, who added that many called the area a “ baby village” during the baby-boom era following the war. But she said it’s heartbreaking to her that some property owners don’t take care of their houses like they did years ago.
Owners of income-producing properties in the neighborhood, including residential rentals, could be eligible for federal tax credits for improvements, said Barb Powers, a department head at the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
And all property owners could be eligible for state historic-preservation tax credits, which is a competitive process, she said.
Lentz said the designation also provides a level of protection to the community.
Hanford Village becomes the 22nd such historic district in Columbus.