Friday Roundup: Walking Tour, Photos, Links, Office Schedule

We’re back and hoping for good weather! Please join us for the make-up walking tour to celebrate National Preservation Month on Saturday, June 2. Meet in front of 21 South Loudoun Street at 1:30 PM, the first building to be marked with the oval plaque, to join a tour guide. We will go past the exteriors of homes in the Potato Hill neighborhood, with a small break for refreshments at 125 E. Clifford St., the latest home to receive the building plaque. The tour will loop back to the edges of the Old Town Mall on Boscawen Street. The overall time is estimated to take one hour to an hour and a half. The tour is approximately one mile in length. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Some of the sidewalks are uneven or narrow, and there are a few hills and one set of steps on the final leg of the tour.

Friday Photos returns this week with 26 slides, most featuring the Simon Lauck House or 401-403 S. Kent, with a few other events and houses tossed in. Catch all of the photos at the top of the photostream. One photo location is unidentified; if you recognize this house, please let us know!

Unknown location

Looking for some extra reading this weekend? Here are some assorted links we’ve bookmarked with interesting historic tidbits to pique your curiosity.
How communities around Va. are restoring, reviving black cemeteries
Exquisite Rot: Spalted Wood and the Lost Art of Intarsia
Dead Brutalist Buildings
Untapped Potential: Eight Top-Line Strategies for Promoting Building Reuse
How a Hole Punch Shaped Public Perception of the Great Depression

PHW will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day. We’ll be back to usual on Tuesday. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Friday Roundup: Awards, Walking Tours, and Rain Recovery

Friday RoundupWe are a little over halfway through National Preservation Month, but there’s still plenty of time to nominate some worthy projects for PHW’s annual preservation awards. See past winners and download a nomination form here. Nominations should be returned to PHW by June 11, no later than 5 PM, for consideration for a 2018 award.

Speaking of Preservation Month, we will regretfully postpone our planned walking tour of Potato Hill for Saturday, May 19. There are reports of afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast. Stay safe and as dry as you can, and we will let you know our make up day and time ASAP.

If you are facing flooding issues and water penetration, Nicholas Redding at Preservation Maryland compiled the following list of resources to help you dry out:
“After the Floodwaters Recede: A Checklist of Things to Do,” Maryland Historical Trust
“Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings,” National Trust for Historic Preservation
“Repairing Your Flooded Home,” American Red Cross
“Selecting a Contractor After a Natural Disaster Strikes,” Maryland Historical Trust
“Tips for Handling Insurance Claims for Historic Properties Following a Disaster,” Maryland Historical Trust
“Drying Wet Books and Records,” Northeast Document Conservation Center

When the weather breaks and you can enjoy the downtown again, PHW has updated the PDF of the “Explore the Old Town Mall” brochure to version 1.2. There are a few more text edits yet to come before a physical reprint, but if you spot any more pesky typos now, please let us know!

Friday Roundup: Indices, Trees, Photos and Fun!

Friday RoundupOne of the research resources we have at PHW that has been long neglected is a thick stack of photocopies of Mutual Assurance Society records. PHW volunteers obtained these copies in the 1970s as we were preparing for the 1976 Architectural Inventory. These insurance policies are very useful in seeing how early buildings grew and expanded, even giving details about the uses of certain wings, additions, or outbuildings. These are helpful for dating buildings that predate the Sanborn maps.

Thinking these records had already been sorted and it would be easy to find a policy for a quick fact check, it was quite a surprise to find that was not the case at all. After an afternoon of painstakingly deciphering names, it seemed more efficient to see if anyone had indexed these records already. Indeed, such a resource exists! The University of Mary Washington Department of Historic Preservation has a publicly searchable index of policies with a variety of search field options. In the case of these photocopies, the policy number is often the most legible identifying information. The document images are not available from this search, so this resource may not be of use to all researchers. However, you may want to experiment with the owner name search to see if a previous owner may have had a policy. For example, we know that George Norton had a Mutual Assurance Society policy on his home. By searching for his name, it brings up his Amherst St. home, as well as two other policies he took out at the same time. However, be careful! As with all old records, spelling can be haphazard and transcribers may not be able to make modernizations to help researchers. In Norton’s policies, we have creative street names like Piccadilla, Boscowan, and Loudon. If you find a record, don’t forget to consult the list of abbreviations to find out what was insured on the property and its construction materials.

Many of us have never seen, but heard the tales of the American chestnut tree. With the ongoing efforts to revive the species through blight-resistant hybridization, the question arose as to how large the trees really were. You can read and listen to a recent NPR interview of Roanoke College Biologist Rachel Collins, who warns us to temper our expectations of the mature chestnut hybrids reaching the massive proportions reported in historic documents due to some simple math confusion between diameter and circumference. If you are interested in learning more about the history and efforts to restore the American chestnut, visit the American Chestnut Foundation at www.acf.org.

Of course, it would not be Friday without some photos. This week’s upload has pushed us over 10,000 photos milestone in our Flickr collection! (“Only” 9,500 are publicly viewable, with the remaining 500 mostly historic photos or artwork we do not have rights to share.) About 50 older photos were identified, added to albums, and made public for searchers. We also added 36 photos of 518 and 401-403 South Kent Street, both Revolving Fund properties, again at the beginning of the rehabilitation. Catch them at the top of the Flickr photostream.

Clean Up Day, Blues House

Lastly, mark these dates on your calendars for upcoming PHW events! (Times may be subject to change.)

May 19, 2 PM: National Preservation Month walking tour, highlighting Winchester historic plaque and Jennings Revolving Fund properties in the Potato Hill neighborhood. Volunteers are still needed as tour guides! Contact PHW at phwinc.org@gmail.com or 540-667-3577 to add your name to the guide list.

June 24, 3 PM: PHW’s Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards, planned for the Hexagon House rear yard.

Friday Roundup: Interactive Map, Friday Photos, and a Call for Volunteers

Winchester City has launched a new, comprehensive address-based search tool. Using the new search, you can now find in one spot:

Tax Parcel Information
Refuse and Recycling Collection Day
Leaf Collection Area #
Fire Department First Due Station
Voting Ward and City Council Member
Voting Precinct
Elementary School District
If the property is in the following or not:
o Enterprise Zone
o Zoning District
o Historic District
o Corridor Enhancement District

This week, we added 36 photos to our Flickr account from the Revolving Fund files. Catch some images of 609 and 617 South Kent Street, and 211, 215, 501, 502, 510, 512, 511, and 513 South Loudoun Street at the top of the photostream. Note that 211 and 511 South Loudoun are not Revolving Fund properties so they are not in the Revolving Fund album.

211 South Loudoun Street

PHW is looking for volunteers to help us lead a preservation-themed walking tour in May to coincide with National Preservation Month (day and time pending). Volunteers should be relatively familiar with the downtown and adjacent residential areas in the Potato Hill neighborhood. Familiarity with architecture may be helpful but is not required. The text will be written for you and provided for review in advance, similar to Holiday House Tour docent scripts. We anticipate the guides will need to be able to walk and talk for an estimated distance of about 0.75 to 1.25 miles. If you are interested in being on the call list for this project, please let us know at phwinc.org@gmail.com or at 540-667-3577.

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.

“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.

National Preservation Month Newsletter Online Now

May is drawing to a close, but you can make National Preservation Month last a little longer with a special edition of PHW’s quarterly newsletter. The newsletter features a number of common architectural styles illustrated by Historic American Building Survey and historic house plan drawings (and one past Holiday House Tour drawing), accompanied by brief histories of the styles and some typical historic color suggestions. The online version is slightly different from the print version which you may have picked up at Kidzfest or current members will receive through the mail. If you’ve already seen it in print form, you may want to check out “version two” online to see the different illustrations.

Click here to read or download PHW’s National Preservation Month 2016 newsletter.

Color a House with PHW This Weekend at Kidzfest!

As we’ve been teasing, PHW will be one of the interactive exhibitors at this year’s Kidzfest, held from 11 AM-5 PM this Saturday, May 14! This event will be our big hurrah for National Preservation Month, which celebrates our nation’s architectural treasures. We’d like to share our love of old buildings with a fun introduction to building styles and colors.

Where: PHW’s booth will be near the city’s Hable parking lot and the splashpad, about 41 S. Loudoun Street. Click for a PDF map of all the booth locations.

What Activities Will Be Offered? Color a building from a selection of over 20 historic structures in more than a dozen architectural styles. Not sure what style is right for you? We have a “personality quiz” that might help you find your dream home. Then cut out, fold, and use a few pieces of tape to create a house that will stand up! You may take your house with you, or leave it at the PHW table to create a colorful street of historic houses for others to see.

We will also have free architectural walking tours of the Old Town Mall and a special edition of PHW’s newsletter which will cover the architectural styles and historic color suggestions on all of the example styles represented, spanning about 1750-1950.

Who Can Participate? Anyone! Coloring is fun for all ages. Some houses are more intricate than others, but PHW volunteers will be on hand if you need help.

We’ll see you there!

Color a House with PHW

Coming Next Week: Preservation Issues and Pleasures at a Working Mid-18th Century Plantation Site in Clarke County

Preservation Month

May 4: Handley Regional Library is celebrating National Preservation Month with an exciting presentation about a plantation in our district. The program, Preservation Issues and Pleasures at a Working Mid-18th Century Plantation Site in Clarke County, will take place on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Handley Library Auditorium, 100 W. Piccadilly St. This presentation is being sponsored by Friends of Handley Regional Library and The Clermont Foundation and will be led by Robert Steig, CEO of The Clermont Foundation. There will be a reception following the presentation.

The Clermont Foundation funds and manages Clermont Farm, a 360-acre research and training site in history, historic preservation, and agriculture, owned by the Department of Historic Resources of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The farm and the foundation were a gift to the people of Virginia by Elizabeth Rust Williams in 2004.

Robert Steig as CEO of The Clermont Foundation, has been integral in the success of recent programs such as the rehabilitation of the farm’s slave quarters and a partnership to help kids raise pigs. Mr. Steig is also very active in the Berryville community, leading the fight to properly represent the first free African-American land owners on Josephine St.

For more information contact Barbara Dickinson at 540-662-9041 ext. 31 or reach her by email at friends@handleyregional.org.

National Preservation Month Activities

May is creeping ever closer, and that means National Preservation Month activities are in planning. Here is a selection of events we know about coming in May:

Preservation Month

May 4: Handley Regional Library is celebrating with an exciting presentation about a plantation in our district. The program, Preservation Issues and Pleasures at a Working Mid-18th Century Plantation Site in Clarke County, will take place on May 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Handley Library Auditorium, 100 W. Piccadilly St. This presentation is being sponsored by Friends of Handley Regional Library and The Clermont Foundation and will be led by Robert Steig, CEO of The Clermont Foundation. There will be a reception following the presentation.

The Clermont Foundation funds and manages Clermont Farm, a 360-acre research and training site in history, historic preservation, and agriculture, owned by the Department of Historic Resources of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The farm and the foundation were a gift to the people of Virginia by Elizabeth Rust Williams in 2004.

Robert Steig as CEO of The Clermont Foundation, has been integral in the success of recent programs such as the rehabilitation of the farm’s slave quarters and a partnership to help kids raise pigs. Mr. Steig is also very active in the Berryville community, leading the fight to properly represent the first free African-American land owners on Josephine St.

For more information contact Barbara Dickinson at 540-662-9041 ext. 31 or reach her by email at friends@handleyregional.org.

May 14: Kidzfest returns to the downtown walking mall in Winchester in 2016. As you may remember, for the past two years PHW ran separate Preservation Month activities on the day of Kidzfest. This year, PHW has applied for a space at the event to provide a fun, free, and educational activity with an architectural slant. We will provide coloring activity sheets covering a variety of architectural styles, suitable for the entire family to explore buildings, history, and color together. Historic color information will be available if you want to try an accurate paint scheme, or you can let your imagination run wild and color a house however you would like. More details will be available closer to the event.

May 14: Fort Loudoun Day returns at the site of Washington’s Well at 419 N. Loudoun Street from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. The French and Indian War Foundation commemorates this period in our country’s history each year at the site of the original Fort Loudoun. The event includes interpreters of the history of the era and gives visitors an opportunity to learn about the history of the frontier, the people who settled the Shenandoah Valley and the conditions in which they lived. Visit their website at FIWF.org to learn more.

Throughout the Month:
Experience Old Town Winchester with three Historical Springtime Scavenger Hunts. They start April 9, so you can get a jump on exploring Old Town!

Cemetery Tours are offered on a recurring basis by Northern Virginia Tours. The tours begin at Winchester National Cemetery and continue at Stonewall Cemetery. You have the option of touring one or both cemeteries. $8.00 per person for one tour, $15.00 for both tours. For reservations, contact 540-827-9948.

A Savory Taste of Winchester: Culinary Food and Wine Tours are currently ongoing, but Preservation Month is the perfect excuse to visit popular Old Town restaurants. In between the tastings at six locations, learn about Old Town Winchester’s history dating back to the 1600s. Call Northern Virginia Tours at 540-827-9948 for reservations. Reservations are required by 8 p.m. the day prior to the tour.

Last but not least, PHW is accepting nominations for our local preservation awards. If you know of a person or project worthy of recognition, why not send in a nomination form? It is free and it helps to get the word out to the community about projects that are making a difference in our streetscapes and knowledge of architecture and history.