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.

Revolving Fund Photos and Walking Tour Planning

Continuing with our work making sure all our baseline photos for the Revolving Fund houses are digitized, we added 33 photos to Flickr this week, including 21 East Germain, 312-314 North Kent, 208-210 North Kent, and the 300 block of South Kent Street. Be sure to catch them at the top of the photostream, or the end of the Revolving Fund album.

301-313 S. Kent St.

Do you have ideas for new walking (or possibly biking or driving) tour themes in Winchester? Let us know what you would like to see covered – themes, areas of town, architectural styles or something else. Through discussions with the PHW Board of Directors, we would like to expand our offerings outside of the core downtown around the Loudoun Street Mall and highlight lesser-known history and architecture. Drop your ideas off at phwinc.org@gmail.com, 540-667-3577, or at 530 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA 22601. We are in very early planning phases, so all brainstorming ideas are appreciated!

Walk and Learn Tour at the Bell House, Nov. 2

The Bell HouseYou are invited to join us at the Bell House at 106 North Cameron Street for a PHW “Walk and Learn” tour. This free event will help introduce you to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and their future plans and efforts to preserve one of Winchester’s best Federal-style homes with a long and storied past. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear flat, comfortable walking shoes.

On-street parking is limited and most nearby spaces are metered; we suggest using the George Washington Autopark at 131 N. Kent St. There is an entrance to the autopark from N. Cameron St.

Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Time: Noon-1 PM
Location: The Bell House, 106 N. Cameron St., Winchester
Cost: Free!

NPS Historic Preservation Training Center and Shop Tour

As many of you know, we have had representatives from the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) in Frederick, MD to Winchester for Lunch and Learn programs in the past. You can return that favor and tour their facilities on Sunday, October 22, 2017 at the Gambrill House, 4801A Urbana Pike, Frederick, MD.

The tour is presented by Tom Vitanza, organized by AIA|DC Public Architects Committee, and sponsored by the National Park Service. Participants will visit three locations:

Stop One: Enjoy a guided tour of the ca. 1872 Gambrill House. This high-tech Second Empire style mansion is noted for the advanced and sustainable technology it employed to provide a comfortable lifestyle to its occupants. It retains many of its original character-defining features.

Stop Two: Monocacy National Battlefield – Best Farm: A quick detour to the late 18th century Best Farm will provide examples of various NPS stabilization / preservation projects on the significant historic resources.

Stop Three: Travel to historic downtown Frederick for a visit to the HPTC wood crafting and carpentry shop where the actual restoration work is performed. Historic windows under repair will be on view for your inspection.

Date: Sunday, October 22 2017

Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm

Starting location: Gambrill House, 4801A Urbana Pike, Frederick, MD 21704

Cost: $10 for students & Assoc. AIA members
$15 for AIA & DAC members
$35 for non-members

Website for registration and more information: AIA|DC

Credits: 3.0 HSW|LUs

Clowser House Walk and Learn Tour This Saturday!

Please join us tomorrow, Saturday, September 30 at the Clowser House, 152 Tomahawk Trail in Shawneeland at 1 PM. This free event will help introduce you to the Clowser Foundation and their efforts to save the ancestral home of one of Winchester’s pioneer families. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. We expect the event will last about an hour.

Directions to the Clowser House from Winchester: Head west on Rt. 50 (Northwestern Turnpike) and turn left onto Back Mountain Road (State Route 614). Proceed until you see Tom’s Market on your right. Turn right at Tom’s Market onto Rosenberger Lane (State Route 753). Take a left at the intersection entering Shawneeland onto Tomahawk Trail. The Clowser House is the brick house on the right side of the road. There is a small gravel parking lot for visitors. We hope to see you there!

Friday Photos: Newtown Tavern

Happy Friday! Before we get to the images, mark your calendars for a PHW Walk and Learn tour. The event will be held at the Clowser House, 152 Tomahawk Trail in Shawneeland on Saturday, September 30 at 1 PM. This free event will help introduce you to the Clowser Foundation and their efforts to save the ancestral home of one of Winchester’s pioneer families. Be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.

Directions to the Clowser House from Winchester: Head west on Rt. 50 (Northwestern Turnpike) and turn left onto Back Mountain Road (State Route 614). Proceed until you see Tom’s Market on your right. Turn right at Tom’s Market onto Rosenberger Lane (State Route 753). Take a left at the intersection entering Shawneeland onto Tomahawk Trail. The Clowser House is the brick house on the right side of the road. There is a small gravel parking lot for visitors. We hope to see you there!

This week, we have 20 new images of the Newtown Tavern in Stephens City when it was open for the 1988 Holiday House Tour. The tavern was built in 1819 and remained in use until 1906, when it was converted to a residence. At the time of the Holiday House Tour, the Newtown Tavern was operating as a bed and breakfast. See the images at the top of the Flickr photostream.

Newtown Tavern

The Italianate Trend in Winchester Walking Tour

Looking for a different walking tour of Winchester? PHW is making “The Italianate Trend in Winchester” walking tour by intern Ashlee Anderson available for download. The capstone intern project was presented at PHW’s Annual Meeting in 2011 and was slightly edited and expanded upon by PHW board members and staff. If you would like a leisurely hour to hour and a half walk through some of the residential areas of Winchester’s Historic District not covered by other walking tours, download the walking tour now.

The tour was set up to depart from and return to the PHW Office at the Hexagon House; there are usually spaces available to park in the PHW lot at the top of the hill if you would like the full tour experience. Otherwise, you may wish to start your tour closer to the downtown to utilize the parking garages. Happy exploring!

Mark Your Calendars: Rouss Day 2017

2017 Rous Day PosterCelebrate the birthday of one of Winchester’s most generous benefactors on Friday, February 10, 2017 between noon-2 PM at Rouss City Hall, 15 N. Cameron St. Tim Youmans will begin the event with historical tours of the building beginning at 12:15 PM. This will likely be the last public tour of Rouss City Hall in its current configuration prior to renovations set to start later this year. Mayor Smith will officially greet attendees coming to City Hall between 1 and 2 PM. Chuck Swartz, AIA from Reader & Swartz Architects will be available to answer questions about the proposed major interior renovations to Rouss City Hall, including exhibits showing the proposed floor layouts available for viewing in the Mayor Elizabeth A. Minor Council Chambers. As usual, birthday cupcakes will be available for attendees.

Also, don’t miss the Charley Rouss items on display in the showcase at the entrance to the Handley Archives in the lower level of the Handley Library, 100 W. Piccadilly St., on display through the month of February.