Historic Columbus names new director

Elizabeth Barker grew up playing behind the homes in Columbus' Historic District. Now she's charged with saving them.

This week, Barker was named executive director of the Historic Columbus Foundation, a non-profit organization with the mission of historic preservation.

"This is my career as well as what's in my soul," Barker said Friday.

She has worked at the foundation for nine years as director of preservation services. She has been the interim director since the first of the year when Susan Lawhorne retired.

Barker has an impressive education background for the job. She has a degree in history and psychology from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., and a masters in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. She was raised in a home on Seventh Street in the city's original historic district. Her parents — Mary Burke and Larry Barker — still live in the district.

Barker was hired by former executive director Virginia Peebles and worked for her six years.

"She has the educational experience, a master from Georgia, which is one of the best preservation graduate degree programs in the country," said Peebles, who is on the 25-person Historic Columbus board of directors. "She is passionate and committed. This is my opinion, but they interviewed or talked to a lot of people. Elizabeth's qualifications kept rising to the top."