PHW Porch Newsletter Available Now

The spring edition of the PHW printed newsletter was mailed to our members today. You can catch the digital version online here. The newsletter is a roundup of some porch information that did not make it into the live porch presentation earlier this month. As a little bonus content, we can now also answer the question on the history of porch swings received from the audience.

Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of “porch swing” to the late 19th century. From a quick and unscientific search of documents in the 19th century that are available in digital form, the oldest instance found so far of the phrase “porch swing” dates to 1877, when it was referred to in the text The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 74. It is not clear from the snippet view exactly how the porch swing was constructed and when this story took place, but it is noted to have already been “old-fashioned” in style in 1877.

References to porch swings remain scarce until after 1910, which may coincide with the final domination of the word “porch” over other porch word alternatives in America. Most prefabricated wooden porch swings of finished oak were being sold for about $4-5 around 1915-1920 (around $50-60 in today’s terms). Some had drop down arm rests so that the swing could be converted to a bed for sleeping on the porch.

If you are feeling handy, there are several historic sets of instructions on how to construct your own porch swing. Let us know if you make one – we’d love to see a finished product!

Friday Photos: Holiday House Tour 1991

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week at PHW, but we fit in enough time to add 35 new photos of the 1991 Holiday House Tour “A Neighborhood Christmas,” which was held on Windsor Lane, off Cedar Creek Grade. The homes were all contemporary, most having been built in 1989. Have fun exploring the images of the first two sites at Flickr, and look forward to more photos of homes from this tour in the coming weeks.

2937 Windsor Lane

Where Are the Preservationists? All Around You.

For those who have been following the conditional use permit for 501 North Loudoun Street, you probably know the issue went to Winchester City Council for a final vote on Tuesday, and Ms. Darby has received her permit, the first step in opening a pizza parlor in a former gas station. The editorial in the Winchester Star on Thursday, however, had a baffling conclusion asking where the preservationists were.

The answer is all around you. Anyone who has ever had the urge to put a new business in an old building, felt the urge to save a building falling on hard times, experienced anguish seeing a wrecking ball looming, lamented when the loss or alteration of a tangible place will impact the way we think of and remember a location in the future, is a preservationist at heart. It is especially important to recognize this in May, National Preservation Month, when we come together to celebrate places that matter to us. These places do not need to be architectural jewels steeped in the history of two hundred years. Often our most personally meaningful places are these small buildings with neighborhood connections and modest architecture – but a lot of heart and memories.

Last year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation conducted a survey to see what kind of preservationists were out in the world, quietly working on saving historic and cultural objects and memories. While unscientific, a surprisingly large 19% of respondents were pegged as an “accidental preservationist,” or someone who fell into the this world just by the desire to reuse old spaces for new uses. Even more, at 36%, identified as a “people preservationist,” oriented on the smaller stories and community they are based in to make sure history is remembered and remains relevant. Not all – very few, in fact – polled as a “vocal preservationist” who is confident enough to share opinions publicly on a regular basis, as you would do at a City Council meeting.

The current PHW board was divided as the community had been over the issue, and after we did our due diligence we wrote a letter of support for the CUP to City Council and the Mayor ahead of the May 9 vote. While we were unable to attend and read our statement at the public hearing, we will reprint it here for those curious of our rationale:

“Preservation of Historic Winchester would like to express our support for the conditional use permit for the proposed adaptive reuse of the former gas station at 501 North Loudoun Street. This former Conoco station (circa 1930) has recently become a contributing structure in Winchester’s National Register Historic District by meeting the new, expanded period of significance. Unlike other recent past structures in Winchester that may be perceived as not harmonizing with its neighbors, this building has always had a sense of belonging. It is a charming Tudor Revival-style inspired gas station that, like Bonnie Blue in the former Esso station on Boscawen Street, could lend itself to a successful eatery utilized by neighbors and visitors alike.

“PHW is concerned that should the request from Karen Darby be deemed inappropriate, the building will continue to stand empty until, as a last resort, the entire building is lost. This does not have to happen. From our conversations with Karen Darby, we are assured she will do her utmost to bring a thriving business back to this corner of the Historic District. Her interest in utilizing historic tax credits bodes well for the final product becoming not just a business success story, but a historic preservation success story.”

Much of PHW’s work is like this: providing information, history, and the resources projects need to succeed; writing letters of support when a project is worthy; or even just taking some time to share history of Winchester and its buildings. We have been providing these services to Winchester for over fifty years to encourage the change in our historic district that impresses many people, residents and visitors alike. All of those positive changes were done by preservationists, working on one building at a time. Our own efforts in the Jennings Revolving Fund helped kickstart that movement, but it would not have succeeded without broad community support, not just in the moment when the publicity was high and exciting, but even now, thirty or more years later, through new owners taking over the stewardship of these buildings. Whenever you need a preservation organization to help, you can reach us at 540-667-3577 or phwinc.org@gmail.com. It is why we are here.

Friendly Reminder: “A House Without a Porch Is Boring” Lunch and Learn Lecture on May 11

Happy Apple Blossom! No new photos for you this week, as we have been putting the finishing touches on our next lunch and learn lecture!

Porch

Celebrate National Preservation Month this May with a look at a uniquely American staple of architecture, the porch. Sandra Bosley, Executive Director of Preservation of Historic Winchester, will take you through a journey discussing the origins of the porch, how a porch can give clues about the architectural style of a house, and some of the social and cultural movements surrounding porches which made them an integral part of American homes. Bring a lunch and learn with us!

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time: Noon-1 PM
Place: OakCrest Companies, 126 N. Kent St., Winchester, VA
RSVP: Appreciated but not required
Cost: Free and open to the public
Parking: Parking is limited and on-street parking is metered; we recommend utilizing the George Washington Autopark, across the street from OakCrest.
Questions? Contact PHW at phwinc.org@gmail.com or 540-667-3577.

Friday Roundup: Clowser House, Drinks from the Past

Friday RoundupWe have two exciting pieces of news to share on the Clowser House. Earlier this week, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 99 year lease of the house to the Clowser Foundation. This move will allow the Foundation to move ahead with efforts to stabilize the deteriorating wall. In addition, the Clowser Foundation has also received approval from the IRS for the group to be a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

Of course, this is only the first step – now the Clowser Foundation needs your help. They are just beginning their official fundraising efforts. If you would like to support saving the Clowser House, checks can be mailed to:
The Clowser Foundation
152 Tomahawk Trail
Winchester, VA 22602

Apple Blossom kicks off tonight downtown with the Bloomin’ Wine Fest. In that spirit of celebration, we have a few links to share on drinks of the past. The Library of Virginia opened a new exhibit Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled. If you happen to be in Richmond on May 5, you may want to stop by the free event “‘Goodbye Booze’: The Music of Prohibition,” an upbeat look at popular music of the Prohibition era through live and recorded performances. More information can be found on the Virginia Memory website.

If you are looking for something a little less intoxicating for your historic beverage of choice, you could read about the escalation in soda fountain technology and ornamentation in “Victorians Drank Soda Out Of Monstrous Gilded Machines” by Cara Giaimo. The article, full of illustrations and photos of the soda fountains of yore, is a lighthearted look at an arms race which helped shaped how we think of the interiors of pharmacies and soda shops. If you can’t get enough of viewing these elaborate soda machines, the Matthews Catalogue and Price List of Apparatus, Materials and Accessories for Making and Dispensing Carbonated Beverages is available as a free Google e-book so you can read the enticing description of soda fountain machines with evocative names like Snowdrop, Avalanche, and Drinkjoy.

Friday Roundup: Tax Credit Talking Points and Greenway Court

The Historic Tax Credit Coalition has shared their research into some of the challenges they heard about the necessity of a federal level historic tax credit when other incentives may be enacted. If you are interested in being an advocate for the historic tax credit, you can find some questions and answers – both technical and simplified versions – in Answering the Hard Questions from Capitol Hill about the Future of the Historic Tax Credit at the National Trust for Historic Preservation blog.

For Friday Photos this week, we have added 14 images of outbuildings at Greenway Court. Although outside PHW’s geographical mission area, we helped spread the word on fundraising to stabilize the outbuildings. These images were taken by Frank Wright during a group site visit to raise awareness of the project, likely in the fall of 2008. You can see them all in our Greenway Court album on Flickr. Happy viewing!

Greenway Court

“A House Without a Porch Is Boring” Lunch and Learn Lecture Coming May 11

Porch

Celebrate National Preservation Month this May with a look at a uniquely American staple of architecture, the porch. Sandra Bosley, Executive Director of Preservation of Historic Winchester, will take you through a journey discussing the origins of the porch, how a porch can give clues about the architectural style of a house, and some of the social and cultural movements surrounding porches which made them an integral part of American homes. Bring a lunch and learn with us!

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time: Noon-1 PM
Place: OakCrest Companies, 126 N. Kent St., Winchester, VA
RSVP: Appreciated but not required
Cost: Free and open to the public
Parking: Parking is limited and on-street parking is metered; we recommend utilizing the George Washington Autopark, across the street from OakCrest.
Questions? Contact PHW at phwinc.org@gmail.com or 540-667-3577.

Friday Photos: Bough and Dough Shop 1997

Happy Friday! Before we get to the photos, mark your calendars for our Preservation Month Lunch and Learn Lecture “A House Without a Porch Is Boring,” coming on May 11, noon, at OakCrest, 126 N. Kent St. We’ll have more details on the presentation available soon.

This week, we found a few more images from the 1997 Holiday House Tour in the files. Brand new are 25 photos taken of the table setups at the Bough and Dough Shop in the Cannonball Restaurant, 229 South Loudoun Street. The Saturday of the Shop that year coincided with the first limited opening of the restaurant. The Shop was set up in the dining booths, while the bar area served lunch to promote the new restaurant. The Shop featured twenty vendors that year, most of which were documented in the photos. Not pictured were the greens, centerpieces, and wreaths by Cheryl Crowell, Evergreen Tree Farm, James Wood Agriculture Department, and handmade jewelery by Mary Teer. We also found a second photo album from the 1997 Tour with duplicate photographs, which verified some very early uploads in our Flickr account were from the 1997 House Tour at the Red Lion Tavern. Those photos, plus the new Shop photos, have been added to the 1997 Holiday House Tour album. Happy viewing!

Bough and Dough Shop 1997

Watch the Log Structure Maintenance & Repairs Lecture Now


Did you miss the November Lunch and Learn lecture Log Structure Maintenance & Repairs, or want to revisit the information? We have posted a podcast-style version of the presentation by Moss Rudley on our YouTube channel. The presentation is just a little over one hour in length. While we were not able to use the matching images, we hope you still find the audio portion of the lecture worthwhile and useful.