Reminder: Piccadilly and Kent Street Demolition Public Hearing on July 19, 4 PM

Today we are following up on the East Piccadilly Street proposed development after we have had time to further research this corner. Preservation of Historic Winchester is opposed to the proposed demolition of the following properties, which will be considered at a public hearing at the Board of Architectural Review on July 19 at 4 PM:
202 East Piccadilly 2011 Survey
204 North Kent 2011 Survey
206 North Kent 2011 Survey

This meeting is open to the public and we strongly encourage anyone else with reservations about this demolition plan to attend and speak.

These three buildings are all listed as contributing structures to the Winchester Historic District. They are also some touchstones of the growing residential and industrial footprint of Winchester shortly before and after the Civil War and into the mid-twentieth century.

The corner building of concrete block has stood for over 100 years. It was erected 1908-1912 by Harley “H. B.” Sells, a mechanic who owned and operated his own machine and auto repair and lending business. He built the frame dwelling house at 204 North Kent as his residence, conveniently beside his workplace. From the newspaper about 1915 we learn more about Mr. Sells and the Central Garage:

One of the most popular garages in the city, and the only one that is steam heated, is the Central Garage and Machine Shop located at the corner of Kent and Piccadilly streets, opposite the B. & O. passenger station, of which Mr. H. B. Sell is the proprietor. There is ample storage room for a large number of cars. The repair department is by far the best equipped and most complete in Winchester. . . . . Mr. Sell is himself and expert mechanist and gives his personal attention to all work entrusted to his care. His facilities for repairing and making broken parts are of the best, much better than are usually found in a small city. He also owns a number of cars which may be hired at reasonable rates. In addition to his automobile business he conducts a general machine shop and most of the large plants in this vicinity, such as the Virginia Woolen Mills and the Knitting Mills are among his patrons. There is no job too intricate or too difficult but that he is prepared to undertake and carry to a successful conclusion. Mr. Sell is a native of this section where he is well and favorably known. He has for years been identified with its business life and is always ready to aid in its upbuilding.

At this time the car was still a novelty, but it was seen as an integral point in getting wealthy Washington DC tourists to travel the scenic and historic roads of our area. Innumerable articles on suggested automobile trips were published in the newspapers and by auto clubs. As we know, Winchester is a hub of transportation lines, and tourists were funneled here both by our excellent roads and these promotional materials extolling our garages, mechanics, scenic views, historic buildings, and downtown restaurants and lodging space.

Adjoining the corner shop and home of Harley Sell is the much older brick house, known as the residence of James W. Barr. A deed in 1918 refers to it as the “seven room brick dwelling . . . with outbuildings and improvements, occupied as a residence for many years by James Barr.” James Barr appears to have bought the empty land in 1850 and made this site his home until his death in 1899. From his obituary in Harrisonburg Evening News, September 6, 1899, we learn:

Mr. James W. Barr, one of Winchester’s foremost citizens, died at his residence in that city, on Monday, after a protracted illness, of heart trouble and dropsy. He was 63 years of age, and is survived by a widow and three sons. Ever since the Civil War, Mr. Barr has been closely identified with municipal affairs. He served in the City Council for 20 years and for a long time was a member of the School Board. For the past 15 years he was chief fire warden of the city, and never missed an alarm of fire. He was also prominently identified in church circles. He served throughout the Civil War in the Confederate army as a member of Company C, First Maryland Cavalry. Mr. Barr was treasurer of Turner Ashby Camp, Confederate Veterans, of that city.

His children were identified in another obituary in the Shepherdstown Register, September 7, 1899: “He is survived by his widow and four children – Wm. T. Barr, R. Frank Barr, Owen Barr and Mrs. Samuel Atwell.” Further cementing the Barr connection to this house is another death notice in the Richmond Dispatch, November 4, 1902, for a relative: “Mary Alice Wall died at 9:30 o’clock this morning, of consumption, at the residence of her cousin, Mrs. James W. Barr, of north Kent street.”

It is little wonder the Barr home is made of brick. The Barr family can boast of being one of the first brickmakers in the area, as one of his ancestors “conducted business on a large scale” and “furnished brick for the present court house” (old Frederick County Court House). Many of the Barr descendants carried on this trade. But that was not the only tie this family had to the prominent trades of this neighborhood. James W. Barr was a member of the mercantile group Kern, Barr, & Co., and as part of their business holdings, they too owned a woolen mill. The Morgan Woolen Mill was located in Frederick County, near the Thomas Wood house, which you may know better as Millbank, on Redbud Run. Even the connection as a fire warden makes immense sense, when you learn the Kern, Barr, and Co. Winchester store on the corner of Cameron and Piccadilly fell victim to one of the town’s fires in 1889.

A look through the census records of the early 1900s for the Harley Sells frame house and the James Barr brick house finds this area was occupied by lumbermen, freight yard workers, blacksmiths, and a grocery store owner. Their neighbors were butlers, laundresses, weavers and spinners at the mills, apple packers, and workers at the cold storage plants. It might seem a strange turn of events to turn a garage into a restaurant, but the Central Garage beat other projects like Bonnie Blue and the North Loudoun Street pizzeria to the trend about 1935, before “adaptive reuse” was even a term.

This line of three properties is an important “firebreak” or buffer for new construction that could take place outside or at the very eastern edge of the historic district. They have a deep connection to the activities, trades, and families that made enterprises like the railroad, the woolen mills, and early machinery and automobile industry successful. To lose them would be to further erode the developmental history of this area which has already seen a great deal of loss in our early automotive, woolen mill, and black history. Putting up a marker is a lifeless, pale substitute for retaining the actual sites where actual people lived and worked.

Winchester escaped the worst of urban revitalization thanks to many active citizens who had the vision to see historic preservation is a key component of maintaining a successful downtown that can also be economically viable. It is PHW’s firm belief the rehabilitation of 202 East Piccadilly and 204 and 206 North Kent in conjunction with new construction in this area will be a better solution more in keeping with the spirit and values of our historic downtown rather than clear-cutting another block on a gamble that could very well never pan out.

Central Garage, 202 E. Piccadilly
PHW is still searching for historic photographs (pre-1976 if possible) of 204 and 206 North Kent Street in particular. Please let us know of any leads you have at phwinc.org@gmail.com or at 540-667-3577.

We also hope while you are downtown for BAR on July 19, you will meet up for “round two” at the Godfrey Miller House Summer Lecture Series at 7 PM, where Sandra Bosley will take you through the history of the Conrad house, Conrad family, formation of PHW, the origin of the BAR, and a look at “where they are now” for some Conrad house items. The lecture is $10.

Friday Photos: Slides and Stories from the Past

Kline's Mill

Happy Friday! We had a great time downtown on July 3, and we hope you had a great holiday, too. This week, we have twenty slides to share, including some sites in Frederick County, some Kurtz Cultural Center images, and a few stragglers for the Simon Lauck House. Catch them all at the top of the Flickr photostream!

Since this is a bit of a quiet week, we also wanted to transcribe the article accompanying the oldest photo we are aware of for the Piccadilly and Kent Street intersection on the Central Garage. We believe the following article was written in late 1914 or 1915.

Central Garage, 202 E. Piccadilly

Central Garage and Machine Shop
H. B. Sell, Proprietor
Repairs, Storage, and Automobiles for Hire

That the wonderful development of the automobile will go down in history as one of the greatest wonders of this wonderful age, no thoughtful man can for a moment doubt. Every season improvements are being made and it would seem that perfection is not very far away, though many contend that the machine of the present is comparatively nothing to what the future will bring forth. Winchester is one of the best automobile places in the country, when its size is considered. With the famous and historic Valley Turnpike and other fine roads leading to it from every direction, it is a favorite stopping place for tourists, between the North and South, and hundreds of machines owned by local people. One of the most popular garages in the city, and the only one that is steam heated, is the Central Garage and Machine Shop located at the corner of Kent and Piccadilly streets, opposite the B. & O. passenger station, of which Mr. H. B. Sell is the proprietor. There is ample storage room for a large number of cars. The repair department is by far the best equipped and most complete in Winchester. Only the most expert and skillful mechanics are employed, men who make a specialty of automobile work, and keep in touch with every advance that is made in automobile construction. Mr. Sell is himself and expert mechanist and gives his personal attention to all work entrusted to his care. His facilities for repairing and making broken parts are of the best, much better than are usually found in a small city. He also owns a number of cars which may be hired at reasonable rates. In addition to his automobile business he conducts a general machine shop and most of the large plants in this vicinity, such as the Virginia Woolen Mills and the Knitting Mills are among his patrons. There is no job too intricate or too difficult but that he is prepared to undertake and carry to a successful conclusion. Mr. Sell is a native of this section where he is well and favorably known. He has for years been identified with its business life and is always ready to aid in its upbuilding.

Friday Roundup: Fourth of July Edition

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! We had a great time kicking off PHW’s 54th year last Sunday, and we have more great things on the horizon. First, our holiday schedule for the Fourth of July:

Closed Tuesday, July 3, but stop by our table near 28 S. Loudoun St. (the Godfrey Miller House) during Rockin Independence Eve and pick up some self-guided walking tours and other PHW swag (donations kindly accepted). The event runs from 5-11 PM; we’re not sure how long our supplies will hold out, so you might want to stop by early!
The PHW office will be closed all day July 4 and July 5.

In keeping with the patriotic theme this time of year, we are happy to report the Clowser Foundation has secured their lease on the Clowser House in Shawneeland for the next 98 years. This was truly a labor of love for this amazing group, and we are beyond thrilled for them. Fabulous job, everyone!

Perhaps a bit ironically, but with summer comes the official call for Bough and Dough Shop artisans! We are trying to go “high tech” in our process this year. Apply with our online version of the Bough and Dough Shop jury form (requires a Google account)
or go with the reliable old school print and mail forms (PDF).

If you are thinking of applying, we are looking for unique handcrafted items. We would especially like to find a basket-maker, another potter or two, and perhaps jewelry, but we are very open to reviewing any submissions. We anticipate having about double the interior floor space we had at our longtime Shop location at the Winchester Little Theatre and we would love to showcase many more artisans this year. Don’t be shy, apply!

East Piccadilly Street Development

Now that the plans for the corner of East Piccadilly and North Kent Street have been made public, PHW would like to voice our concern over the wholesale demolition of this corner. All of the buildings inside the historic district are noted as contributing structures. We are especially concerned with the fate of the corner building housing Chopped Corner Tacos, which many residents will remember as the Stonewall Tavern. Although outside the historic district, the building housing Another Chance Church could be similarly rated as representative of the early 20th century and retaining a high degree of architectural integrity.

The demolition hearing for this request will be held at the Board of Architectural Review meeting on Thursday, July 19, 4 PM at Rouss City Hall. If you are likewise concerned about the loss of this early 20th century corner, please attend and speak at the public hearing. There is a way to both honor the character of this neighborhood and meet the goals for workforce housing, and we encourage the City to fully explore them before resorting to demolition. As we have seen before at the Winchester Towers site, redevelopment can often be a long time in returning.

You may wish to refer to the 2011 Architectural Inventory for East Piccadilly and North Kent, and past images of 202 E. Piccadilly (Stonewall Tavern) (Central Garage) and 204-210 E. Piccadilly. (An older image of the North Kent properties could not be located at the time of this writing, but please feel free to share any images you have with us at phwinc.org@gmail.com.)

54th Annual Meeting Wrap Up

Did you miss the Annual Meeting on Sunday? You can get a glimpse of it online at LocalDVM.com. The initiative that was alluded to in the news report is our goal to become more involved in the North End of Winchester to preserve buildings and places that may not be seen as traditional “historic preservation” projects, but ones that focus on the broadening goals of historic preservation and cultural significance. (A CityLab article from last summer, How Do You Measure the Value of a Historic Site?, discusses these kinds of goals and topics for a 1930s neighborhood in Singapore.)

PHW's 54th Annual Meeting
We are also pleased to announce our slate of PHW preservation award winners for 2018:

Awards of Merit
These awards recognize renovations of houses or buildings that contribute to improving the character of their neighborhoods and maintaining the overall historic fabric of the city.
Scallan Properties
Coca-Cola Bottling Works, 1720 Valley Avenue

The Clowser Foundation
The Clowser House, 152 Tomahawk Trail

Christ Episcopal Church
The Old Rectory porch reconstruction, 134 West Boscawen Street

The Shendow Family
The Bell’s Building, 122 North Loudoun Street

Lucille Lozier Award
This award is named in honor of Lucille Lozier, a founding member of PHW and president of the organization in 1969. It is one of our highest honors, awarded for the renovation of a significant structure retaining 75% of the historic architectural fabric.
Richard and Melanie Lewis
21 South Washington Street

Ben Belchic Award
This award is named in honor of Ben Belchic, a founding member of PHW. Ben Belchic was also an active member of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, so the Belchic award recognizes a significant contribution to understanding Winchester’s history. These awards are generally presented for written texts, such as books, maps, National Register nominations, and guided tours.
Timothy Youmans
Winchester Street and Alley Name Origin Database

Past award winners and the nomination form for future award nominees, can be found on the PHW website. Find more images from the 54th Annual Meeting at Flickr.

“Hazard Mitigation and Historic Preservation: How to Both Preserve and Protect” Webinar

Via Smart Growth Clearinghouse:
How do we protect historic properties that cannot be moved or modified, from the next disaster that strikes? This is a critical question faced by many owners of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and state registers or those located in local historic districts. Changing their original materials, locations or character-defining features can put these properties at risk of losing their historic designation. How, then, do we protect these resources?

Are mitigation and preservation both possible? Is there a compromise that allows for preserving and protecting? Is it better to alter a building’s character-defining features and protect it than to risk losing it entirely? What are the best options that cause the least harm or alteration?

In this webinar, we will explore answers to some of these questions with Deepa Srinivasan, AICP, CFM, President and mitigation specialists of Vision Planning and Consulting who share their process, challenges, and lessons learned from their work on disaster planning for historic and cultural resources in communities in two Mid-Atlantic states.

Participants of the webinar are eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits for live view only, Tuesday, June 26 at 1:00pm. Visit the website to register for the event.

PHW’s 54th Annual Meeting This Sunday

Another year has flown by at PHW! Please join us at the Hexagon House on Sunday, June 24, 3 PM to recap the last year, elect the board of directors, and see the presentation of the 2018 preservation awards. Stay afterwards for light refreshments and building tours. This event is free and open to PHW members.

As you may know from past years, we generally set up the seating for the business portion outside. As is the running theme this year for events, we are anticipating an alternate plan for holding the event indoors to beat the afternoon thunderstorms. Rain or shine, we will have the meeting, but dressing for the weather is recommended in case we need to make a quick run for the indoors.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Care and Maintenance of Historic Metal Roofs Lecture on YouTube

Happy Friday! This week we have posted the latest Lunch and Learn Lecture to our YouTube channel. Eric Bennung, Vice President of Acrymax Technologies, presents this introduction and overview of his companies’ products in the care and maintenance of historic metal roofs, in addition to many other roof types. We had excellent questions and observations from our audience members during this event, which should also be audible. If you were not able to visit us on June 5, you can get caught up now at your convenience!

Be sure to visit preservationproducts.com and www.acrymax.com for more product details.

Friday Photos: June 2, 2018 Collection

Thank you all for your patience this morning as we got our website back on its feet. Before we get to the photos, be sure to get in your last minute preservation award nominations by 5 PM on Monday. Feel free to email them to phwinc.org@gmail.com.

Last Saturday was double booked for us at PHW, with the third annual Clowser memorial service in the morning and the historic plaque walking tour make up date in the afternoon. The weather cooperated just enough for both events to be a success. You can catch the images from the event at the top of our Flickr photostream, or at the end of the 125 E. Clifford and Clowser House albums.

Special thanks go out to Larry Webb and the Clowser Foundation for inviting PHW to their event; our walking tour guides Ed Acker, Frances Lowe, and Isata O’Dwyer; and home owners of 125 E. Clifford Street, Tom and Deanna Stouffer.

Also, many thanks to Jim Shipp and Nancy Murphy, who confirmed our mystery building in the last photo batch was 619 South Braddock St.

Clowser Memorial Service

Friday Roundup: Events, Lectures and More!

Friday RoundupIt’s been a busy week at PHW as we wrapped up another fiscal year. But the administrative drudgery is not all we have been up to. Get ready to mark your calendars!

Tomorrow, June 2, 10 AM, the Clowser Foundation will hold their annual memorial service at the Clowser House, 152 Tomahawk Trail, in Shawneeland. Come out and see the progress that has been made in stabilizing this Frederick County landmark!

Also tomorrow at 1:30 PM, PHW will host the make up Preservation Month walking tour event. Look for the sign at the Harrison and Johnston law offices, 21 S. Loudoun St., to meet with a guide. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

Tuesday, June 5, starting at noon, PHW will host Eric Bennung, Vice President of Acrymax Technologies, Inc., to discuss the care and maintenance of historic metal roofs. We will be meeting at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St., in the first floor board room. We will be able to seat approximately 25-30 guests. This event is free and open to the public, but we strongly recommend carpooling due to the limited parking at the Hexagon House.

Wednesday, June 6, Turner Ashby Chapter 184 United Daughters of the Confederacy will host their 152nd Confederate Memorial Day service at Stonewall Cemetery in Mount Hebron Cemetery, 305 E. Boscawen St. The event starts at 7 PM and will be held rain or shine. The speaker is Mr. Steve Ritchie, “Defending Home and Hearth.”

Don’t forget to get your award nominations in to PHW before Monday, June 11, so we can finalize our lineup of award recipients at PHW’s Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 24, 3 PM at the Hexagon House.

And look toward July when the Godfrey Miller Historic Home and Fellowship Center presents their Summer Lecture Series, Our Community Response to World War I. The lectures will be held at 28 S. Loudoun St., 7 PM, on the following dates:
Tuesday, July 10 – Memorial Avenue 1924 WWI Plaques, Gene Schultz
Thursday, July 12 – Soldiers Stories behind the Plaques, Gene Schultz
Tuesday, July 17 – WWI and the Women of Winchester, Nancy Braswell
Thursday, July 19 – Historical Significance of Veteran Robert Conrad’s Home, Sandra Bosley
The cost is $10 per lecture or $35 for the entire series.