Around the Internet: FSA Photos, State Budget Worries, and Historic Plaques

Around the InternetHappy Friday! If you survived the wind with your power intact, we have a few things for you to explore and read around the internet:

1. The Shorpy photo archive featured the Texaco station at 819 S. Braddock St. with some great vintage road signs, gas pumps, and cars, and the Handley High School lawn and the smokestack in the background. Many more images from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) are available. Try starting with this narrowed search link at the Library of Congress to explore Winchester circa 1940. I am fond of the image taken at Orndoff’s marble yard, at the intersection of Loudoun and Boscawen Streets.

2. The Valley Conservation Council has put together a list of some land conservation and historic preservation-adjacent items to watch and act against in the state budget. Part of the proposed cut of mitigation funds is aimed at reducing mercury in the Shenandoah River. There is also concern over the Land Preservation Tax Credit. As stated by VCC, “Landowners put their property under easement in 2017 with the understanding that the limit would go back to $50k​ – to change the rules on them now after they have permanently preserved their land is unfair.”​ If you are similarly worried about these and other proposed budget cuts, VCC has compiled the historic data and the contact information for you to reach out and state how important conservation funding is to our area.

3. Similarly, Preservation Virginia has highlighted some additional concerns of budget cuts facing the Department of Historic Resources.

4. We also forgot to congratulate Tom and Deanna Stouffer for 125 E. Clifford becoming one of now 154 houses in the Winchester Historic District to receive the oval plaque. If you were not able to visit them at Holiday House Tour time, you truly missed a special home. You can get a little taste of that in our Flickr album.

Friday Roundup: Photos, Webinars, and Internships

Friday Roundup Happy Friday! This week we have added 41 photos to our Flickr account. These images were in our Revolving Fund file cabinet, which is getting a good spring cleaning. These files were primarily for properties PHW participated in or surveyed as potential purchases. The highlights include a number of houses on South Kent Street, the old B&O train station on East Piccadilly Street, and a number of 8 East Cork Street photos and bits that were recorded when PHW’s office was located there. Catch all of them at the top of the photostream.

124 E. Germain St.

The National Trust is hosting the webinar “Telling Women’s Stories at Historic Sites” on Wednesday, March 14, 3:00–4:00 p.m. The Preservation Leadership Forum’s next webinar focuses on “Including Women in the Sequel: Re-Interpretation and Telling the Full History at Historic Sites.” Panelists from Belle Grove, the Oneida Community Mansion House, and the Pauli Murray House will discuss their work telling women’s stories—including identifying source materials, developing interpretive plans, and building narratives that tell a broader American story. Register for the webinar at the Forum website or see what webinar topics interest you in their archives.

Teachers and students, are you looking for a summer job opportunity in history, architecture, or landscape architecture? Heritage Documentation Programs, NPS seeks applications from qualified students for 2018 summer employment documenting historic sites and structures of architectural, landscape, and technological significance throughout the country. Duties may involve on-site field work and preparation of measured and interpretive drawings and written historical reports for the HABS/HAER/HALS Collections at the Prints and Photographs Division of The Library of Congress. Projects last 12 weeks, beginning in late-May or early-June. Applications are due March 16, 2018. Learn more and find the application instructions at Facebook and NPS.

Friday Round Up: Historic Buildings, Tax Credits, and Demolition

Preservation has been in the news lately. First, you may have seen the Winchester Star article on the latest Historic Tax Credit studies. You can watch the accompanying video interview on YouTube or below:

If you are up for a little light reading on historic tax credits and their impact in Virginia, you can read the full 94 page Preserving the Past, Building the Future or the four-page Executive Summary to hit the highlights. You may also want to read the similar economic analysis Virginia’s Historic Tax Credit Program prepared by Baker Tilly. Both studies back up the assertion of Historic Preservation Tax Credits paying for themselves over time and positively impacting not just buildings but entire communities.

You may also want to read the Winchester Star article on the approval of the demolition of a property on Sharp Street at the Board of Architectural Review last night. PHW President Bruce Downing was present to voice our concerns about the demolition of this property essentially by neglect. Sharp Street as a whole is a very architecturally and historically significant, if often overlooked, area of our Historic District. We hope the proposed changes and new construction, which are scheduled to return at a future meeting, will continue to honor and reflect the unique character of that block.

Friday Roundup: Newspapers, Photos, Grants, and More!

Friday Roundup First, an addendum to last week’s post on newspaper archives. We missed one provided through the Handley Library, Advantage Digital Archive. This archive provides OCR searchable text and full page images of some of Winchester’s more obscure historical newspapers, including:
Virginia Gazette (1787-1796)
Winchester Gazette (1798-1824)
Republican Constellation (1814-1814)
Daily Item (1896-1897)
Morning News Item (1906-1907)
Daily Independent (1923-1925).

The search functions are similar to the other newspaper archives covered last week, and browsing is available for those looking for a surprise or coverage on a certain day. We are happy to report a quick test search for “Burgess” turned up a new tidbit on the first owner of the Hexagon House, James W. Burgess, that we had not previously seen. It corroborated other accounts of his furniture business in 1870 (about the time construction started at the Hexagon House.) His furniture was used in the newly built home of John M. Miller near Middletown. The residence in question is likely the Cooley House, referenced in Maral Kalbian’s Frederick County, Virginia: History Through Architecture on page 93.

Virginia Woolen Mill SiteWhile reviewing some of the files being moved around for painting, we found some images that had not been scanned. Sixteen images have been added to Flickr, including eight that were attached to a display board for the Kurtz, possibly in a fundraising or open house event in the early 1990s. The remaining eight photos may include some duplicates of images already scanned from the slide collection on North Loudoun Street, the Virginia Woolen smokestack, and one image of the John Wall House at 11-17 S. Kent during demolition. You can catch the photos right at the top of the photostream.

As we are also working on the files during the office shuffle, we have made a few edits to our online directory of program and event files. While it feels like we started this index just yesterday with two boxes of Kurtz Cultural Center files, we anticipate adding an eighth box to the storage collection of programs and events from the last ten years. Although these files are of limited interest to researchers outside of PHW, this is a bit of a teaser for the next round of indexing we hope to tackle for our themed research files on topics or locations. No precise timeline is available (yet!) but the indexing will likely take place in the spring.

The National Trust has several grant deadlines approaching, including African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund (Jan. 31), National Trust Preservation Funds (Feb. 1), Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors (Mar. 1), and Johanna Favrot Fund for Historic Preservation (Mar. 1). You can see the full list and details on how to apply and what qualifies for each grant here.

Preservation Virginia is also taking applications for their Most Endangered Historic Places list of 2018. If you know a site worthy of recognition that is imperiled with damage, neglect, or development pressure, you can find the application and instructions here. Nominations are due by March 9.

Friday Roundup: Tax Credit Edition

Friday Roundup Welcome to 2018! As you may have heard, there had been an open demolition request for 137 South Loudoun, the building most heavily damaged by the fire in February 2016, submitted to the Board of Architectural Review. We wanted to publicly share the news from the applicant that at the same time the Board of Architectural Review was meeting and discussing how to proceed on the demolition request yesterday, Part 1 of the historic tax credit application was approved by the Department of Historic Resources. The applicant will be proceeding to Part 2 of the application, and as such, the demolition request has been withdrawn.

This is a prime example of how the historic tax credit can help save endangered buildings. The tax credits will help make this project more financially feasible than it otherwise would have been, and the community can retain at least a substantial portion – and the most important portion for experiencing the downtown as a pedestrian – of the historic Italianate-style building. While there is still a long process ahead, we hope to see 137 South Loudoun Street recover and thrive.

On that note, while we mentioned that the Federal-level historic tax credit was spared the chopping block, we did note there was a change to the implementation. As of now there is no hard-hitting look at how spacing the credit over five years will impact projects financially, although there is expected to be some lessening of value. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recapped the changes due to the preservation community’s advocacy as such:

“This strong showing of support resulted in an amendment to restore the HTC to 20 percent. The amendment—offered by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; and Tim Scott, R-S.C.—was accepted at a critical moment in the Senate Finance Committee’s markup of the tax bill during the week of November 13. To file the amendment, however, Sen. Cassidy needed to identify a way to offset the cost of the incentive. The solution was to take the HTC in phases over five years instead of in its entirety the year a rehabilitated building is completed. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that phasing the HTC in this way reduces the cost of the program by approximately $2 billion over 10 years.”

The Trust also notes what a remarkable and almost improbable feat it was to retain the historic tax credit, noting that “[o]f the more than 300 amendments offered, the Finance Committee ultimately approved only about a dozen.” We hope to see more of this good luck spread to other preservation projects in 2018!

Happy New Year!

We’re not quite there yet, but this will be our last post of 2017. Before you completely wrap up your holiday spirit, be sure to let us know your feedback on the Holiday House Tour in a quick 5-10 minute survey.

As you snuggle in for another holiday weekend, you may want to read up on the first photographs of snowflakes and read about the Feast of Fools celebration on New Year’s Day. If the cold weather has you down, you might want to read about the Victorian-inspired decorations in the Allan Gardens Conservatory.

Stay safe, stay warm, and have a happy New Year!

A Happy New Year

Friday Roundup: Holiday House Tour, Preorder Wreaths, and Preservation News

Friday Roundup Happy Friday! We apologize for the radio silence most of this week as we finished up the printing and mailing for Holiday House Tour. Tickets are available now at all the ticket sale locations, and online ticket sales are being mailed as they are received. You can use the forms below, or on our website if the forms do not load in your email.

Preview Party and Two-Day Tickets: December 2 & 3

Sunday Daylight Tickets: December 3

Don’t forget, if you want to place a preorder with Nate Windle for some special custom arrangements and wreaths at the Bough and Dough Shop, you need to get your order in by next Wednesday, November 22 to guarantee fulfillment. Pickup will be at the Bough and Dough Shop Sunday afternoon on December 3.

While we are still monitoring developments in the historic tax credit, we have a few other pieces of news to share:

Winchester City Council will vote on “R-2017-46, A Resolution to Urge the President of the United States and the United States Congress to Continue the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program and to Otherwise Provide with Respect Thereto” at the Nov. 28 regular City Council Meeting. We are proud to report the City’s recommendation is to maintain the Historic Tax Credit as it exists because it has been an important tool in the redevelopment of local historic sites. You can see the resolution here.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is launching the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The fund will be used to provide grants to African-American historic sites and train high school students through the Hands-On Preservation Experience (HOPE Crew). Visit their website to learn more or make a pledge to the action fund.

Open Culture posted the news that The Internet Archive has found a way to make some material published between 1923 to 1941 available for free online. While the first batch of materials utilizing this provision of copyright law may not be useful to local historians, it is a sign of things to watch for in the coming years.

Lastly, the PHW office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 23 and 24, for Thanksgiving. We anticipate the office being open as usual Monday-Wednesday, November 27-29. The office will likely be closed at least part of Thursday and Friday as we prepare for the Bough & Dough Shop setup.

Historic Tax Credit Update

From the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“Despite vigorous advocacy by Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, the historic tax credit was not incorporated into the House tax reform bill during the mark-up process. On the Senate side, the Finance Committee acted last night to retain the HTC but reduced it from 20 percent to 10 percent of qualifying rehabilitation expenditures and eliminated entirely the 10 percent credit for non-historic buildings built before 1936.”

We still need your voice to call for the support and restoration of the Historic Tax Credit. There is a link in the Trust article to make it very simple to find the phone numbers for your representatives in Congress. Chances are, most of our readers are in District 10, so these are your contact numbers:

Senator (D-Virginia) Tim M. Kaine’s Office
Phone: (202) 224-4024
District Phone: (804) 771-2221

Senator (D-Virginia) Mark R. Warner’s Office
Phone: (202) 224-2023
District Phone: (804) 775-2314

Representative (R-Virginia District 10) Barbara J. Comstock’s Office
Phone: (202) 225-5136
District Phone: (703) 404-6903

Historic Tax Credit Alert!

Unfortunately, the fun of Holiday House Tour coverage we had been anticipating this week has been delayed by unfortunate news from Congress. We’re forwarding an urgent message below from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Virginia. On Thursday afternoon, we learned the Historic Tax Credit was eliminated in the House Tax Reform Bill. Contact your House of Representatives member and urge them to add the Historic Tax Credit back to the final House bill. Also, contact Senators Kaine and Warner and ask them to include the Historic Tax Credit in the forthcoming Senate bill.

This proposed legislation will have a devastating effect on our communities. The Historic Tax Credit not only attracts private capital for the revitalization of our community’s historic assets, but it also stimulates job creation and generates more revenue for the Treasury than it costs.

How Can You Take Action?

Contact House and Senate Members no later than November 6 (find your House Representatives and Senators) and ask for them to use their voice to advocate for the credit to be added back to the final House bill or include the Historic Tax Credit in the forthcoming Senate bill.

A suggested outline of your email message or phone call:
1. Introduce yourself as a constituent.

2. Say “I heard the historic tax credit is eliminated in the House version of the tax reform bill. I am extremely concerned that this important community redevelopment incentive will no longer be available to revitalize our main streets, towns and cities and preserve our heritage.”

3. Explain why you value Historic Tax Credits, and that the redevelopment of historic buildings will not get done without the HTC.

4. Let them know some previous and future Historic Tax Credit projects in your state/district. From the interactive HTC mapping tool developed by Novogradac and Company, the following properties utilized Historic Tax Credits in downtown Winchester:

Old Frederick County Jail | 317 South Cameron
302-304 North Cameron Street
The Old Star Building | 29-31, 33-35 East Boscawen Street
The Taylor Hotel | 119-129 N. Loudoun Street
146 North Loudoun Street
315 S. Loudoun Street
317 S. Loudoun Street
Union Bank Building | 101 North Loudoun Street
116-118 South Braddock Street
Snapp Foundry | 403-419 N. Cameron Street
The Savage-Solenberger Building | 140 And 142 N. Loudoun Street
Stryker House | 130 S. Cameron Street
133 East Monmouth Avenue
Lovett Building | 163-165 North Loudoun Street
Piccadilly’S Brew Pub & Restaurant | 125 E. Piccadilly Street
Charles Brent House | 320 S. Loundoun Street
The George Washington Hotel | 103 E. Piccadilly Street
445 N. Loudoun Street
Samuel Brown Residence | 35 North Braddock Street
The Lewis Jones Knitting Mill | 120 And 126 N. Kent Street
Adam Bowers House | 410 S. Cameron Street
The Douglas Adams Building | 403 & 407 S. Loudoun Street
Giacometti Building | 7 North Loudoun Street

5. Touch on why these historic buildings are so challenging but important to our communities.

6. Ask, “As tax reform moves forward, will Rep./Sen. XXX stand up for the Historic Tax Credit and use his/her voice to insist that the credit be retained in tax reform?”

7. Share with the office the video of President Reagan supporting the HTC.

Addendum: The National Trust for Historic Preservation has also put together a similar rundown on the threats facing the Antiquities Act, which was the precursor to many other historic preservation programs. Find their article at On the Hill: Bill to Overhaul the Antiquities Act Moves Forward in the House, Tax Reform Update.

Friday Roundup: Events, Ads, and Links

Friday Roundup Happy Friday! We are entering the home stretch for Holiday House Tour preparation. Stay tuned for details on that event – we’ll start our coverage of Holiday House Tour next week. In the meantime, we have some reminders of important dates coming up:

Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church 150th Anniversary Black Tie Gala is October 28, 5 PM at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, 134 Golf Club Circle, Front Royal, VA 22630. Tickets are available for $50; contact Cynthia Banks at 540-539-8262 for ticket information. The following day, October 29th, the 150th Anniversary Worship Service Celebrations will be held at 10:30 AM and 3 PM at Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 428 North Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA.

Holiday House Tour advertising sponsor slots for 2017 are due no later than 5 PM on Halloween, Oct. 31. We have room for up to two pages of interior advertising as of Friday morning. Click here for the call for advertisers post with more information. You can contact PHW at or 540-667-3577.

The Bell House Walk and Learn event is set for Thursday, November 2, noon-1 PM at the Bell House, 106 N. Cameron St., Winchester. Depending on the attendance, tours may be split into smaller groups, so the start time will likely be rolling. 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.

If all those activities aren’t quite enough, we have some other interesting links for your reading pleasure this weekend:

The preservation of the plantation Menokin in Warsaw, VA is a case study of what to do with an important historic site that has suffered major losses. While many would have looked at the ruins as a lost cause, the plan to preserve the building is to rebuild the missing elements, but in glass. This approach will retain the historic massing but not to obscure the structure of the building which has been exposed. Thanks to Atlas Obscura for bringing the Menokin website (full of all kinds of documentary photos and research) to our attention.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation posted a summary of the findings from the Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Historic Tax Credit. Last year was a record breaker, surpassing the 1986 record for the largest year-over-year increase (unadjusted for inflation) for completed projects. While it’s on the number heavy side, it is useful information to have when talking about historic tax credits and their impact not just on saving old buildings, but creating jobs, too.

Last, just for fun is Every Apple You Eat Took Years and Years to Make by Sarah Laskow on Atlas Obscura. The story is a peek into the work happening in an experimental apple orchard to find the elusive perfect apple – hardy, tasty, and beautiful. While not preservation-related per se, apples are an important piece of Winchester’s cultural heritage, going back to Winchester’s own research laboratory.