Have you taken the City’s new Community Survey? The results will be part of the 2021 Strategic Plan update, which will guide the City’s future decision-making process for the next five years. Be sure to get your feedback in by April 30.
It’s been making the rounds in preservation circles, and PHW agrees: Urge Your Representative to Cosponsor HTC-GO! Last week, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced a new version of the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO) in the House of Representatives. It includes temporary tax provisions that will bring relief to projects impacted by the pandemic and permanent provisions that will add value to the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), improve access to the credit and increase investment in smaller rehabilitation projects. Introduction of companion legislation in the Senate is expected soon. Locate the name and phone number of your House Representative at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. In your outreach, please share the HTC-GO Fact Sheet as a link or attachment.
We were notified of a Battlefield Interpretation Grant opportunity from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (NPS ABPP). These grants are to fund projects that use technology to enhance battlefield interpretation and education. Eligible sites include those associated with the American Revolution, War of 1812 or the Civil War. These competitive grants are open to state, local, and tribal governments, other public entities, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. Eligible activities are diverse and may include content development, consultation with stakeholders, audience research, fabrication and installation, costs associated with Section 106, and more. This grant requires a non-federal cost share of at least 50%.
The application deadline is May 5, 2021. The funding announcement and application materials are available on Grants.gov. For more information, head to the NPS ABPP website or check out this informational webinar on Battlefield Interpretation Grants. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance or questions.
As you may have seen, we lost one of the mature white pine trees behind the Hexagon House in the high winds of last weekend. Luckily, the tree did not fully fall after cracking near the base, as it was propped up by a second large pine tree. We were very fortunate that no damage was caused to the house, grounds, or neighbors, and the tree was removed safely. This prompted us to find some articles on maintenance and care of historic trees that so often accompany our historic homes:
In PHW Office news, we have completed recreating the hand-colored 1897 Sanborn maps that were used for the meetings with City Council to establish the Winchester Historic District. The close examination of the map was fascinating and an intriguing look into the diversity of Winchester businesses and dwellings close to the turn of the 20th century. Our next project, spurred by a research request, is organizing our Mutual Assurance Society photocopies into a more searchable format for future research requests. These insurance policies are some of the only ways to explore now vanished buildings in the era before Sanborn maps documented the core downtown.
We have been working on a few items behind the scenes at PHW, and we could use some extra input on a few topics that are proving elusive or could be better tackled with multiple minds and research angles. If you can contribute anything, please drop us a note at email@example.com!
The identity of John Mann: While his name is well-remembered because of his connection to the John Mann Church, details about the man himself are sketchy at best. He is believed to have resided in Winchester and served as the pastor for the black freedmen in the Methodist church from 1815-1861. The researcher who approached us has not been able to locate John Mann in census records or death registers, or in the records of the Market Street Church (the parent church for the John Mann congregation prior to Emancipation). Our own searches into newspapers and court records have only turned up the “new” information of a suit linking John Mann and Thomas Stump, but the actual court documents from Frederick County for many of these cases have not yet been added to the online chancery files. The newspapers and chancery cases indicate there may be a Leesburg/Loudoun County connection to John Mann as well. If you would like to further explore these chancery items, we have been looking for items of interest using the surname “Mann.” Be prepared to read cursive!
Historically or architecturally interesting buildings in Winchester: This week, we have been exploring the history and reasoning behind the handful of designated landmark buildings of Winchester. While we have received the answer to why (and the broad reasoning behind the inclusion of most buildings in said list), an adjacent question arose. Are there other historically or architecturally significant buildings or sites that lie outside of Winchester’s local and/or National Register Historic Districts? The question is specific to the City of Winchester (so no Frederick County sites) but the qualities that would make a place significant can be fairly subjective. If you have ideas of a site that could be worth landmark status outside the Historic District, drop us an email.
PHW Preservation Award nominations: As you know, last year PHW did not present preservation awards at our truncated Annual Meeting. We are tentatively hoping to host awards this year in June, and as such, the award nomination form has been updated. Projects completed between June 2019 to May 2021 are eligible for this combined round of recognition. Awards are open to BOTH Winchester City and Frederick County. People or projects may be nominated by anyone (including the potential award recipient or family member) AND you may nominate an unlimited number of projects. Applications DO NOT need to be complete, but should at least have enough identifying information that the project can be further discussed by the award committee. Return applications or suggestions to PHW, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications should be sent by May 28, 2021 for consideration for a 2020 or 2021 award. Thank you!
Before we start today’s post, if you are a Civil War aficionado, take note that Kernstown Battlefield will open March 23 for the 159th anniversary of the First Battle of Kernstown. You may also wish to register for a tour and book event with Gary Ecelbarger on March 27. For more information and to register for the tour, visit www.kernstownbattle.org or leave a message at 540-450-7835.
By fortuitous happenstance while looking for information in the Library of Virginia’s newspaper collection on local buildings, we came across a news story close to the anniversary it mentioned. Although we are about one week late of the actual 110th anniversary of its first publication, here is an article recounting the lead-up to the first occupation of Winchester by Union General Banks (March 12-May 25, 1862). The article originally ran in the Winchester Star, but was reprinted in the Times Dispatch on April 16, 1911. The article as reprinted reads:
Forty-Nine Years Ago.
Saturday was the anniversary of an event in our city, but it is only the silvered heads that remember what was passing in Winchester on the 11th day of March, 1862. Forty nine years of shade and sunshine have passed since then, and few of us care to own to memories of that faraway time; but clear-cut as a cameo those days stands [sic] before us. Our first taste of what war meant came then; our forced parting with those we loved, our forced meeting with those we hated. How strange it all seems now; how horribly real it was then.
Many in our midst remember when Jackson's headquarters were in the historic mansion on Peyton Street, now owned by Dr. Hyde; that rainy winter of 1862, and the terrible sufferings of poor Loring's command, who left Winchester on the first day of January for a forced march of six weeks through the mountains. There was snow or rain during all that time, and as there were many from the far South in his command they suffered terribly from exposure to the weather. Some were left in lonely graves on the mountains. That march that resulted in no good was probably the only blunder that Jackson made in his whole military career. Loring bitterly resented the unnecessary suffering of his poor Southern boys, so unused to the exposure. But those were hopeful days. Had an angel come to us and told of the three dark, bloody years to follow we would not have deemed it possible.
But the 11th day of March, 1862, found Jackson carrying out his Fabian-like policy of falling back before the enemy. Banks with a large army was advancing on the Martinsburg Pike [Rt. 11], and Jackson then must have been aware of the fact that owing to the hills around the town that the attacking army had all the chances in its favor, for the forces inside of the town could be flanked and cut off from retreat. We yet remember that the fateful day of the first evacuation of Winchester was balmy and bright, and that there was a full moon that night [the full moon was actually March 15-16 in 1862, but still close to full on the night in question. - Ed.]. By night the last tent had been struck from the camps north of the town, and the last soldier in gray had disappeared. The camp fires on the western hills were left burning brightly to deceive the enemy, not many miles away. But there was little sleep that night in and around Winchester. There was many an agonized parting with the loved ones who were going out into that dread unknown that held such awful possibilities, and those who remained were feeling as did the people of Brussels the night before the battle of Waterloo--"whispering with white lips, the foe, they come, they come."
But the full moon looked calmly down upon it all, and we were angry that nature did not sympathize with our misery. We were new to sorrow then, but we have never forgotten that first baptism of it on the 11th day of March, 1862. But many a full moon has shown since that night, of many years ago.--The Winchester Star.
As some of you may know, when we returned to the Hexagon House in 2006 we uncovered a treasure trove of PHW articles that had been left behind in the move to the Kurtz Building. One of those items was the portfolio of colored Sanborn Fire Insurance maps that were used in our presentation to City Council lobbying for the creation of the Historic District. The maps languished forgotten in the basement at the Hexagon House in a damp spot and have been very badly damaged. In addition, the rubber cement used to mount the maps to display boards has also greatly discolored the paper and made the color-coding hard to discern.
During one intern program several years ago, we assembled the individual 1897 Sanborn map pieces into one larger map. At long last, we have unrolled this assembled map and begun the task of recreating the color-coding from the portfolio sheets on the wall-sized map. While it will not have quite the same feel of a portfolio of individual pages, we hope the fully assembled and colored map will provide the same impact of seeing the amount of historic building stock left in the historic downtown. (We must note, however, that we are exactly recreating the color-coding from the portfolio, and that work in itself was preliminary before the more in-depth architectural surveys of 1974-1976 took place. The color-coding is only for historic purposes and not intended to be a 100% accurate representation of the age, building material, or significance of any property colored or uncolored in the maps.)
March is women’s history month, and PHW’s past is filled with women who believed in Winchester’s architecture and sought to improve the quality of our historic downtown. Perhaps none did more for PHW in our founding years than Katie Rockwood. Before PHW had an executive director, it had Katie, who worked tirelessly coordinating the original publication of Winchester: Limestone, Sycamores & Architecture. Her coordination skills were also utilized in the 1976 architectural survey of Winchester (plus a few add-on surveys after the fact) that guided the National Register of Historic Places listing for Winchester’s Historic District, PHW’s targeted areas for the Jennings Revolving Fund, and Board of Architectural Review decisions. Much of the basis of the historic walking tours of Winchester still in use today came from her pen. Schools benefited from her knowledge and enthusiasm for Winchester’s buildings in their teaching curricula. She coordinated countless events and touched countless lives as she moved with grace and dignity through the often fraught trials of saving importance places for fifteen years.
Due to her importance to PHW, she features in a number of our history of PHW blog posts previously written. If you would like more details on some of the items she worked on, you may wish to read:
PHW and Winchester lost Katie at the tragically young age of 44. To help keep her memory alive, a memorial fund was started in 1991. In 1996 PHW named its preservation award for outstanding work on a Jennings Revolving Fund property in her honor.
From the Winchester Star editorial on April 11, 1991 following her funeral: “Those of us who know Mrs. Rockwood only by that work [in historic preservation] cannot truly share in the grief of her friends and family. But the whole community — those of us who live here now and those who will live here in the future — will share in and benefit from her legacy.”
Preservation Advocacy Week -2021, hosted by Preservation Action & National Conference of SHPOs, is going virtual on March 8 – 11, 2021. In-depth advocacy training, policy briefings, networking opportunities for Historic Tax Credit advocates will take place March 9th. Participants will be able to participate in virtual Capitol Hill visits March 10th. Registration is now live, and to participate in Capitol Hill visits, please register as an “advocate.” If this is your first time participating in the conference, please email Michael Phillips at email@example.com to assist in connecting you with appropriate registration links and individuals coordinating the conference.
The recent snowy weather is ideal for doing some reading in historic news articles. Like any good treasure hunt, you never know what you might find when you start a general search. While some searches turned up nothing, we stumbled across a deep rabbit-hole of stories related to the Hotel Evans on Piccadilly Street while attempting to find information on the Hotel Evans of Sharp Street. If you would like to follow the saga of attempted murders related to James M. Jack, son of the proprietor of Hotel Evans, the stories found so far are:
If you have a Winchester or Frederick County topic or building you would like investigated for a future blog post, drop us a note on any of our social media outlets. Results are not guaranteed, but anything we can find will be shared.
While we work on one of the major membership renewal batches for our snail-mail list in the coming week, we also wanted to reach out to our social media and email followers. We appreciate your support and interest in PHW as evidenced by you reading this post, but what you may not know we are also an organization with membership dues.
A substantial portion of our ability to provide research and images for free to the community is derived from our membership dues. Individual support from people like you who read, react, and share our posts and links helps us keep the lights on and the research flowing. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in Winchester’s history and architecture.
Please help us keep sharing our love of Winchester’s architecture and history in 2021 by taking the next step and becoming a member. Individual memberships start at $30 and are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
We would be grateful for your generosity, whether it be through becoming a member, making a tax-deductible gift to PHW, making an earmarked donation to the scholarship fund, contributing in-kind donations, or by adding your name and interests to our volunteer database. All kinds of support are welcome and appreciated. Thank you in advance for supporting PHW and Winchester’s architectural heritage!
Most of the world will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Sunday. This is also the weekend PHW marks its first officially organized meeting in 1964, during the grassroots movement to preserve Winchester’s architectural heritage. We will be marking PHW’s 57th year in 2021!
To get you in the Valentine spirit this weekend, we have gathered a few newspaper stories from around Virginia of Valentine celebrations of yesteryear.
Jolly Comic Valentine Party (Clarke Courier, 17 February 1904) “A most delightful Comic Valentine Party was held at the residence of Mr. A. Moore, Jr. . . . Cards and dancing were indulged in until a late hour, when refreshments were served. Everyone present had a merry time.”
Valentines for the Lady Fair (Morning News Item, 12 February 1907) “For St. Valentine’s Day comes Thursday, which is a good two days before pay day. If each young man’s particular affinity expects some material expression of her admirer’s adoration and it’s ‘up to him’ to cut down temporarily, at least, personal expenses.”
Valentine Parties (Morning News Item, 14 February 1907) “Although this is the Lenten season, it is understood that a number of valentine socials and a few select dances will be held this evening. It is said, however, that those who rigidly observe Lent will not be in attendance.”
A Valentine party (Peninsula Enterprise, 19 February 1910) “The interesting features were the shooting at a heart by each guest with a bow and arrow, and the fishing from a lover’s pond for the name of his or her intended. After punch, fruit, jelly and cake were served the favours were drawn from a Valentine pie.”
West End Hotel Valentine party (Times-Dispatch, 25 February 1912) “The parlor and halls were decorated in ferns, potted plants and red hearts, the color scheme being red. Many games were played, but the fortune telling by Mrs. A. P. Goldsmith and Cupid’s post-office, where Miss Brownie Delp presided, were the main features of the evening.”
Valentine parties delayed (Culpeper Exponent, 12 February 1920) “On account of so much sickness it was decided it would be best to postpone the entertainment until it is safer to bring the children together.”
Valentine Bridge (Crawford’s Weekly, 21 February 1931) “A very realistic castle lighted within and flying cupid’s flag, stood in the hallway where the guests were greeted, and pretty hand made tallies bearing cut-out Cupids paired off the partners for bridge”
Surprise birthday and Valentine party (Farmville Herald, 22 February 1935) “Due to the weather and condition of roads there was only a small number present. . . Miss Mollie was presented with some nice and useful gifts including an autography album in which many of her Sharon friends had written wishes of love and scripture verses and a large white birthday cake and home made candy in a large heart shaped box in red.”
Valentine costume party (Sun, 12 February 1937) “Guests came in costume and games suitable for the occasion were enjoyed. A prize for the most original and the most beautiful costume was given.”
Enjoyable Valentine Party for Service Men (Farmville Herald, 19 February 1943) “No paper decorations were used because of fire hazards and because of war shortage, but gay big red and white balloons bobbed from each light in the game room and lent a festive air.”
The Winchester Star has been publishing the bank building at 201 North Loudoun Street, most recently a Wells Fargo, was constructed in 1950. The Beaux Arts style building was actually constructed in 1903 for Shenandoah Valley National Bank. The bank appeared in a newspaper special on Winchester commercial enterprises published in 1904 and has been documented extensively since that point via postcards throughout the 1910s and ‘20s.
For more information, you may also wish to refer to the 2011 architectural survey of the building, which can be found here.