Guests exploring Heritage Hills during its annual Historic Home and Garden Tour this weekend may not realize it, but they are getting an education.
“People get to see what a historic home looks like and learn about the objects in the home,” said Suzette Hatfield, president of the Heritage Hills Associate Board. It also gives people a chance to learn more about Heritage Hills and the preservation there, she said.
The event is the centerpiece of the board's education efforts, which also include three general meetings a year bringing in experts to share their knowledge.
The 46th annual tour wraps up Sunday.
Rich history told
The neighborhood traces its history back to the early 1900s when city and state leaders built their stately homes amid what had been remote farmland. Most of the area was fully developed by 1925, and it was home to the city's elite for decades. But Heritage Hills felt the effects as nearby downtown fell into neglect, and encroaching businesses began to nibble at its edges.
But when Mayor George Shirk came into office in 1964, he made preservation a priority, creating the state's Historic Preservation Commission and instituting on-the-ground efforts to save the city's oldest structures.
Heritage Hills became the state's first Historic Preservation District in 1969 when three downtown neighborhoods joined forces. Residents formed Historic Preservation, Inc. to direct preservation efforts in Heritage Hills. HPI works with historic neighborhoods as well, especially neighboring East Heritage Hills and Mesta Park, Hatfield said.