Located northwest of downtown Columbus, Ohio, the Victorian Village Neighborhood is a long-established region of the city that had its start in the early 19th century. Officially bounded by Goodale Avenue on the south, N.High Street on the east, W.Fifth Avenue on the north, and Harrison and Neil Avenues on the west, the area features a fine collection of Victorian-style homes, thus its name. Along with neighboring Short North, it has gained a reputation as a gay-friendly area, but people of all persuasions live and work in this bucolic neighborhood.
Many of the homes in the Victorian Village Neighborhood were constructed as long ago as the early 19th century when the street car first extended into the region along Neil Street, still the village's main thoroughfare. Much of the area's early population were wealthy businessmen and their families who built large, opulent homes near public transportation but somewhat removed from the then city center. There were also several large farms in the area that were later subdivided and turned into parks or sold to developers.
Like many portions of the city of Columbus, urban blight came to this neighborhood in the post World War II years when suburbs began to spring up and people left the city for the quieter areas that surrounded it. Victorian Village was one of those areas that became run down and crime ridden by the late 50s. In the 1960s and 1970s, revitalization of the neighborhood began when the city declared the area an official historic district. Low interest loans were offered for urban renewal projects and many artists and others looking for affordable housing took advantage of these, purchasing homes of all sizes and renovating them. The result, 40 years later, is one of the city's loveliest districts, complete with many intact Victorian homes, thanks to the 1974-formed Victorian Village Architectural Review Commission, which sees to it that the treasures here maintain their architectural integrity.
A stroll around the Victorian Village Neighborhood will allow visitors to view a number of different styles of Victorian homes, including Italianate, Queen Anne, Second Empire, Carpenter-Stick, and Four Square. Other architectural styles are evident as well, such as Tudor, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, and Romanesque. The largest homes can be seen around pretty Goodale Park while the smaller domiciles are on the side streets.
Each September, the Victorian Village Neighborhood sponsors an annual Victorian Village Tour of Homes and Gardens, providing a prime opportunity to view these homes on the inside. This tradition began in 1975 and is still one of the highlights of the year for architectural history buffs who live in Columbus. Ten homes are showcased each year, and for a small fee, guests can visit each one and receive a tour by the homeowner. The committee in charge always takes care to choose a variety of homes for the event, including new construction. Churches are often included as well. A preview tour and reception are also offered at an additional cost.
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