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      Residents take part in walking tour of historic Columbia neighborhood

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- John McLean has lived in Melrose Heights for two and a half years.

      He heard a lot of good things about the neighborhood before moving in.

      "We had some friends who lived here," McLean said. "They moved into the neighborhood and moved out. But in coming over and visiting them, playing with their kids in the park, we just fell in love with the neighborhood."

      While he enjoys the community located a couple of miles east of downtown, the Columbia architect admitted that he did not know much about Melrose Heights' history until Sunday. That is when he along with about 50 other Columbia residents went on a walking tour put on by the Historic Columbia Foundation.

      "Melrose Heights is one of the architecturally significant, historically significant early suburbs," Henry Nechemias with the Columbia Historical Foundation said. "It was built between 1900 and 1950. Many of the houses were built pre-World War II."

      Nechemias said Melrose Heights is an important piece of Columbia. It is protected by the city as an architectural conservation district. The community offers a variety of houses from bungalows and cottage styles; to traditional and contemporary.

      McLean said he learned a lot in the one hour walking tour; and heard a lot of stories on the way.

      "I did not know about the Sullivan house; some of the history on how this part of town was developed. I did not really know much about the different housing styles. It was interesting."

      Nechemias said the tour gave current residents a new love for where they lived.

      "You can't appreciate where you live unless you have some idea of the history and what exists beyond your old neighborhoods."

      A neighborhood McLean is proud to call home.