PHW has been notified the demolition applications for 411 and 514-520 South Loudoun have both been withdrawn from the August 18 Board of Architectural Review agenda. Thank you to those who showed interest in speaking at the public hearing; we will keep you posted on future developments as they become available.
PHW has reviewed the preliminary structural reports for 411 and 514-520 South Loudoun Street this week. From our reading and conversations, we believe 411 South Loudoun is able to be rehabilitated following some selective (not total) demolition to the rear of the structure. The main block of the house facing Loudoun Street appears to be relatively sound and the issues found are common enough to correct. The rear wing is more deteriorated primarily through water damage, but reconstruction or a new addition to the rear of historic buildings is an acceptable and common way to repurpose historic buildings for new uses and needs.
The townhouses at 514-520 South Loudoun are more deteriorated, but we would like more information from the completed structural reports. Again, it sounds like water and lack of maintenance were the primary sources of deterioration. One of the issues we have circled back to many times at PHW during discussions involving these properties is the unique character of the townhouse facades. While there are a few townhouses of a similar style in Winchester, none have quite the same “San Francisco” feeling as these units with their walk-in basements. One idea that may be worth exploring for the townhouses is a facadectomy, wherein the facade (the most architecturally interesting portion of the building) is retained, and an entirely new structure is built behind. This approach may be particularly useful in this case because the interior of the building may be difficult to work with for modern conveniences, as the units are reported to be very narrow, dominated by staircases, and the rooms quite small inside.
In either case, for both structures, there is no plan by the applicant to rebuild. Philosophically, PHW is opposed to demolition that leaves holes in the streetscape. Given the slow pace of action of these properties throughout almost the entire existence of PHW as an organization, we have little hope should this demolition be approved that anything will be built on this land within the next fifty years. We urge the applicant to finally relinquish these properties to other entities who are willing and able to proceed in meaningful action instead of continuing a slow and painful demolition by neglect.
If you would like to make a statement on these properties, the public hearing for demolition is scheduled for August 18, 4 PM at Rouss City Hall.
In other news, we also watched this presentation from the Thomas Balch Library on African American Genealogy this week. While this is focused on Loudoun County and some of the search resources are not available for Winchester, it can provide ideas for alternative lateral research avenues. If you are on the hunt for more information, you may wish to check out the Virginia Untold website to start or flesh out your search.
A notice was posted in Thursday’s Winchester Star for the proposed demolition of structures at 411 and 514-520 South Loudoun Street for the August 18 Board of Architectural Review, 4 PM at Rouss City Hall. We are awaiting further clarification at the time of this post, but we will follow up with additional information when/if it becomes available.
Both structures are deemed architecturally contributing to the Historic District, and PHW has received word of several people who would like further investigation into the ability to rehab these structures. 411 S. Loudoun (believed to date to the 1860s through deed research, with likely late 19th century porch embellishments) is a typical Winchester vernacular house, similar to many others that were bought, resold, and restored in the Potato Hill neighborhood. The houses at 514-520 S. Loudoun may be the last intact frame Queen Anne style rowhouses left in the Historic District, possibly due in part to their relatively late construction date of 1903.
PHW’s preference is always to attempt rehabilitation for our contributing Historic District properties, particularly if there are people willing to undertake the work. As we have seen through PHW’s Revolving Fund and other private investments over the years, some truly astounding work can be accomplished by motivated and dedicated individuals. We hope that whatever entity undertakes the necessary work on these properties will do so in a manner sensitive to this special neighborhood and its plethora of early historic homes.
Photo help time! Do you recognize the locations below in PHW’s “Vanished Winchester” holdings? These photos were not labelled and were discovered in limbo this week during filing. If you recognize either image or building, please contact the office through social media or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This unmarked image is of a five bay, two story unpainted brick house with chimneys and stepped parapets on both sides. The windows all appear 2/2 with shutters on the front. A porch with jigsawn brackets spans the central three bays. There is a wrought iron fence and gate, a hitching post, and a carriage block along the street. Although hard to see, there may be dentil detailing along the cornice and a rectangular transom above the door. PHW’s copy is a photograph taken of another photograph and may have been stuck in the file for planning the “Vanished Winchester” exhibit at the Kurtz.
We have ruled out the Betty Dandridge House (116 N. Braddock), the Miller House (125 N. Washington) and the Overacre House (141 N. Washington). Other guesses or provenance on the mystery photo are welcome!
This unmarked image of a demolition in progress is another head-scratcher. Our two unverified guesses are the former Solenberger warehouse site at 119 North Cameron Street (beside the BB&T/Truist bank building, now a parking lot) or the greenspace area of the current Our Health campus in the 300 block of North Cameron Street. The building appears to be primarily painted concrete block with at least one brick pier.
If you’d like a different trip down memory lane, this week we also enjoyed reading and seeing images of Canada’s $50 million 1980s ghost town by Justin McElroy. We’ve come across other stories of ghost towns or buildings abandoned to harsh environments or frozen in time when the owners left, but most are left to their own devices to decay on their own terms. This may be the first ghost town outside of a National Park that we’ve heard of with caretakers keeping the lights on and the buildings secured and maintained.
Are you heading downtown tomorrow, July 23? You may want to stop by the Old Frederick County Courthouse at 5 PM, reenactors will have a living history program to recreate the July 24, 1758 election of George Washington to Virginia’s House of Burgesses. All four candidates plus other top figures involved in the 1758 election will be on hand. The reenactment is sponsored by Jim Moyer, the French and Indian War Foundation, the Capt. George Mercer Company of Col. George Washington’s Virginia Regiment and the Virginia Beer Museum in Front Royal.
Preservation Virginia is offering two upcoming webinars cover state and federal grant opportunities as well as ways to cultivate individuals and private foundations. The webinars are paid events, but scholarship opportunities are available. Contact Sonja Ingram at email@example.com for more information.
Do you have questions about applying for statewide grant programs or private foundations? Panelist from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will provide an overview of state grants currently available for physical “bricks and mortar” preservation projects, including the new Virginia Black, Indigenous and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund and the Commonwealth History Fund. The program will also discuss other avenues for fundraising, such as approaching private foundations and cultivating support from individuals. Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan, Community Outreach Manager at Preservation Virginia, will moderate the discussion.
Dig deeper into the application process to understand how to prepare and what you need to apply for federal programs. Megan Brown from the National Park Service and Lawana Holland-Moore from the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss grants administered by their organizations, including National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grants and Underrepresented Communities Grants and the National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Preservation architect Joseph (Jody) Dye Lahendro will discuss the details of application requirements, like establishing historic significance and identifying the project scope, phasing and costs to support and justify grant requests.
You might have heard about the upcoming expansion at the Winchester Regional Airport. By happenstance while filing other newspaper clippings in PHW’s daunting backlog of uncatalogued items, we came across some articles on the 1988 expansion plans. From the August 13, 1988 editorial column by Tim Thornton, a few select quotes on the history of the airport and the vision for the new terminal:
“A patchwork of hangars and offices constructed in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, the present  terminal is small — about 1,900 square feet by Mr. Wiegand’s reckoning — and it’s showing its age. . . . . Plans for a new terminal — a two-story building with a restaurant — were drawn up in 1983. In 1987 the plan called for a $335,000, 4,000 square foot terminal.”
“The Authority envisions a W-shaped terminal with a waiting area to accommodate 39 people, a pilot lounge, a concessions area, a flight planning room, administrative offices, and a reception area. . . . . The design also includes a 400-foot observation tower that would be required for passenger flights.”
According to the Frederick County Tax Map, the existing terminal was built in 1989 and is 9,248 square feet.
We hope you enjoyed the offerings of last week while the PHW office was on vacation. We spent our week off doing proper preservation things, like scraping and painting wood porch elements. We are now ready to start the second half of the year here at PHW, which will culminate with the Bough & Dough Shop and Holiday House Tour.
To get prepared for the Shop, we are bringing back our Bough & Dough Shop Open House and Call for Artists on Saturday, August 20, 10 AM – 1 PM. The informational open house for the 46th annual Bough & Dough Shop will be held on the first floor of the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St.
The boutique holiday pop-up shop will be held Nov. 18-Dec. 11, 2022 to support the organization’s fundraising for local preservation projects. PHW is seeking new artists crafting unique handmade items and holiday décor to expand the shop’s offerings for 2022. We invite anyone interested in applying to stop by to see the space in person and find out more about the event. Prospective artists are encouraged to bring portfolios or example pieces for the jury process. Application forms will be available at the event. You can also find the informational sheet and application on our website in advance.
Many thanks to Dr. John Chesson, who turned over a handful of old Winchester Evening Star newspapers found in the Samuel Noakes House during its rehabilitation. We wanted to take you back in time to July 5, 1901, to see what was up in Winchester and environs. We felt these short notes with history of construction, houses, or notable historical names were most likely to be of interest to our readers:
Building New Barns: The spirit of improvement has taken possession of the neighborhood south of Nineveh. Two of the most prosperous farmers of that vicinity, Messrs. Oscar McKay and Wesley Le Hew, are building fine barns.
Tripped by a Dog: Virginia, the interesting little daughter of Mr. John L. Smith, the well known tobacco salesman, met with a painful accident near Hotel Evans last night. She was running across the street and, in attempting to avoid a carriage, tripped over a dog, falling to the street and cutting and ugly gash in her chin. Dr. W. S. Love dressed the wound.
Selection From Florodora: Yesterday morning the Eddy Brothers relieved the monotony of East Water street by giving an informal open-air concert with the phonograph. This is one of the largest and best machines on the market, and the Messrs. Eddy make it a point to have only the best records. The popular duet from Florodora: “Tell me pretty maiden are there any more at home like you?” caught the audience. Very few of us have had the pleasure of witnessing this opera which is all the rage in New York at present, but we can appreciate its excellence by hearing the duet on the phonograph. [Editor’s Note: The Eddy Brothers ran a printing
Leaves Property Conditionally: The will of the late Charles H. Harrod, colored, has been admitted to probate. He owned several small houses and leaves one on the alley back of Kent street to his sister, Eliza Harrod and a share in another to his brother, John Harrod. The property is left to them conditionally.
Contractor Shull has put down a very creditable curb on the north side of Rouss avenue.
Public Sale: J. M. Steck and A. J. Tavener, special commissioners, will sell “Jennie White” Springs property, located near Mt. Williams, containing about 35 acres July 8, 1901, at the Court House in Winchester. See handbills for terms, description, etc.
Valuable Suburban Property: For sale or exchange a fine house and 5 1/2 acres of land situated about one mile from town on the Northwestern Grade, and known as the Taggert House. House contains ten rooms with hot and cold water in bath. Also valuable farm for sale. Apple to Warren Rice. [Editor’s note: This appears to be roughly in the vicinity of the intersection of Amherst St. and Meadow Branch Avenue.]
169 Years Old: John Jones, while working at the new Shenandoah Valley Bank site, found a Spanish coin in a good state of preservation, dated 1732.
Lightning Shocks Mr. Conner: During the short electrical storm yesterday afternoon, Mr. J. Wm. Conner, the plumber, received quite a shock. He was at work extending the gas main on Stewart street, when the lightning zigzagged along the pipe and his arms were numbed for a while. The effects passed off soon and no harm resulted.
PHW is thrilled to recognize the following people and projects for their work in maintaining and enhancing Winchester’s neighborhood character and historic fabric of the city. All of our projects this year fell into our Award of Merit category. In alphabetical order by street, the projects were:
Maroo Property Management LLC, 918 Amherst Street
This late Folk Victorian was constructed circa 1900 on the Northwestern Turnpike, now known as Amherst Street. The single-family dwelling has changed uses through the years, serving for a time as the Green Gables Tourist Home in the 1930s to becoming the Calvary Baptist Church office. For the first time in many years, the building has a new owner and has been given some much needed TLC inside and out, including restoring color to the façade in keeping with its Victorian heritage.
Beverley Byrd, 124 West Boscawen Street
This outstanding Federal-style single-family dwelling was constructed circa 1835 by Thomas Phillips, a successful merchant based in Winchester. The building has seen many uses over its lifetime, including a music school during the late nineteenth century, office space, commercial first floor use, and most recently as the Frances Barton Event Center. The residence has been turned into two condominium units, using Foreman Builders and Jackson-Park Design as the contractor and designer respectively. The floors were retained where possible and replaced to match where impossible to salvage, and the original mantels and other character-defining woodwork were restored.
Centenary Reformed United Church of Christ, 202 South Cameron Street
The stained-glass windows at Centenary Reformed Church have been in place for more than 100 years, but few of us were able to enjoy their beauty from the outside. The previous plastic safety covering over the windows had yellowed and obscured the openings. Epiphany Studios worked with the congregation to restore the stained glass windows. On the exterior, the yellowed plastic was removed and replaced with clear safety glass to protect the windows and retain a view of them from the exterior. This is a long-term three to five year project to tackle all twenty windows, but the improvements are already visible on the main facade facing Cameron Street.
James Green & Wendy Oesterling, 611 South Cameron Street
This house was built circa 1925 by James N. W. Funk, one of the members of the Funk family involved with the Funk & Ray’s funeral business. The house was involved in the April 2020 fire that originated next door at 609 S. Cameron St. The owners have restored the home after the catastrophe. From the exterior, the home appears just as it did before the fire.
OTW, LLC—Coe Eldredge & William McIntosh, 100 and 114 North Loudoun Street
These two properties were restored separately by the same group. The Old F&M Bank was constructed ca. 1902 while the Clowser Building was a ca. 1950 adjoining addition. Both structures have now found a new life after the separate adaptive reuse projects. The Old F&M Bank retains much of its interior character as a bank, such as the vault doors being left in full view through the new downstairs restaurant. The Clowser Building work in part removed changes such as dropped ceilings and fluorescent lights installed in the 1990s and revealed the original brick walls, steel beams, and subfloors which now provide architectural character to the extended stay apartment units. Learn more at www.innovault.space/ and see some interior apartment images at www.apartments.com.
Ronald McGehee, 186 North Loudoun Street
The second bank reuse project recognized this year is the former Commercial and Savings Bank Building, ca. 1922. The project was an adaptive reuse of the space as an event center now functional as The Monument, focusing on live music and performances. The first floor space can host about 420 people in a setting combining the classic architectural features of a bank with modern lighting, technical equipment, and even a disco ball. As part of the project, work continues on the complementary sports bar and basement speakeasy. Find them online at themonumentva.com.
TEJ Builds & Four Square Architects, 301 North Loudoun Street
The ca. 1926 firehall has seen a number of uses since its time as a fire station drew to an end, including a bicycle shop and laundromat. The building is now the hub of an adaptive reuse and redevelopment project that adds residential use to its storied history. The firehall now houses four apartments in the upper levels, with ground floor commercial space. Find them online at www.sarahzaneapts.com.
The Godfrey Miller Center, 28 South Loudoun Street
The Godfrey Miller home is one of about twenty surviving limestone homes from the late 18th century. This project focused on safety concerns and sensitive repairs to the exterior, including repairs to the porch, repairing and repainting the wood shutters, and repairs to the historic windows themselves. This exterior work helps the building present its best face to the Loudoun Street mall and address potential safety concerns from lead paint and decaying stair treads. Simultaneously, the home is being freshened on the inside as well. Find them online at godfreymillercenter.org.
We took a few photos of the outdoor portion of the event, which can be seen on our Flickr. If you see projects taking place around you that deserve similar recognition, let us know! Our award form is available online and stays relatively consistent year to year. Award nomination forms should be submitted to PHW preferably in late May to the first week of June for a consideration of an award, but we will take nominations at any time through the year.
Please note ,the PHW Office will be closed the week of July 4-8 for a bit of rest and recharging before we start tackling our summer and fall activities. We’ll catch up with everyone when we return on July 11. Enjoy some photo captions on our Facebook or Twitter in our absence, and have a great holiday weekend!
Fingers crossed, it looks like our Sunday afternoon event will be dry, cloudy, and on the hot side. We will have cool drinks ready at the beginning of the event to keep you hydrated. Should we have another unexpected downpour this year, we will be able to move inside.
If this is your first time visiting the Hexagon House at 530 Amherst St., we have a small parking lot at the top of the hill. Our outdoor meeting space is in the back yard, using the porch as our stage area. Extra parking can be found along the Hawthorne Drive side of the building or the surface lot across the street.
Remember to bring your own seating for the event and dress for the weather. We anticipate being outside for no more than an hour for the business meeting and award presentations, but the rear yard could be in sun.
After the event, stay around to socialize, pick up a brochure on the Hexagon House and enjoy a self-guided tour of the first floor, and check out our “book nook” with art prints and historically-themed reading material.