The downtown Columbus Historic District likes to dress up for the Fourth of July.
Not just the residents, but the houses and even the street signs. Drive through the city’s original historic district this week and you will see red, white and blue buntings on more than a dozen homes and most of the old street signs.
The colorful show of patriotism is pushed in part by residents, but also by the Historic District Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization established to preserve, protect, promote and encourage residency in the district, which is just south of the main downtown area.
Bob Gahagan, a retired Army colonel, resident of the district and past president of the Historic District Preservation Society, said the patriotic display is emblematic of many of those who live in the 29-block area.
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“Our neighborhood is full of patriots,” Gahagan said. “And the testament to that is when you drive down the street and see all of the American flags.”
Andrea Richardson lives in the 700 block of Broadway and she adorns her two-story home with buntings this time of year.
“I have my flag out every day, but add the extra buntings from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July to honor and remind myself and others about the sacrifices suffered and the pride and grateful honor I feel to live in the USA,” she said.
For years, residents have put up the buntings on the homes, but about two years ago the Historic District Preservation Society joined and enhanced the efforts. The society, under the leadership of Gahagan and board member Dennis Stahl, like Gahagan retired military, purchased the buntings that are hanging from the street signs.
“It’s not just the Fourth of July,” Gahagan said. “We also have wreaths we put on the signs during Christmas. It’s the holidays and we want to be a part of it. It’s a way to dress up the neighborhood a little bit.”
Wayne and Jane Bond, who live in the 600 block of Broadway, dress up their home this time of year.
“We put bunting around our porch each national holiday, especially Fourth of July,” Wayne Bond said. “Why? We find it a way to reflect and celebrate our American heritage. The decorations also give the district a festive atmosphere for celebrating this special holiday.”
Gahagan’s house, in the 600 block of Broadway, stands out because in addition to the American flag, there is also a New Zealand flag on the front porch. His wife, Pip, is a native of New Zealand.
“Though she is an American citizen, we are proud of her heritage — the Kiwis have been our allies and fought beside us many times — and we want to show it,” Gahagan said.
The flags and buntings reflect the mood of the community, Gahagan said.
“You have the flags out there every day and the buntings on the holidays and it makes a statement,” Gahagan said. “It is saying we are all in this together. You have staunch Democrats and staunch Republicans in this neighborhood. You have war fighters and those who are anti-war. But at the end of the day, we are all Americans. And this reflects that, to me.”