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.

Friday Roundup: Preservation Resources

ResourcesHappy Friday! As the weather gets warmer you might have some outdoor preservation projects on your to do list. You may want to consult a few online sources for information before diving in to your next project. Here’s a handy reminder of some of the sources of information you can access for free online!

From the National Park Service:
Preservation Briefs (common preservation issues and how to resolve them, often used as a supplement for tax credit projects)
Preservation Tech Notes (case studies of preservation techniques)
Preservation by Topic (alphabetical list by preservation topic, useful if you have an issue but you are not sure where to look for an answer)

From the Virginia Department of Historic Resources:
Historic Trades Directory
Publications (a mix of both hard copy only and PDF publications on various preservation and archeology topics, including New Dominion Style Guide for help identifying architecture styles of the recent past, and How to Research Your Historic Virginia Property)
Technical Reports (a Virginia-level companion to the NPS Preservation Briefs and Tech Notes)

The Historic Preservation Education Foundation has provided digital versions of some hard to find print publications generated from conference proceedings, including:
Roofing
Windows
Interiors
Preserving the Recent Past

If you are looking for some period materials in catalogs in your research into house parts and appliances, check out:
Building Technology Heritage Library
Winterthur Museum Library

If you are looking for in-person training opportunities, check out:
Traditional Trades Youth Initiative pilot program, looking to provide youth (age range 18-30) with exposure and experience in the fields of Historic Preservation, Cultural Resources and Facility Maintenance
Historic Real Estate Finance Training Program May 8-12 in Fairmont, WV, an intense, interactive workshop in the real estate development process including underwriting, appraisals, cash flow, depreciation, passive income/loss, syndication, tax credits and more

And if you are in need of some actual architectural salvage pieces for a project, the PHW office has a selection of window sashes with historic glass (two, six, and nine light sashes) ready to go back out into the world. Drop us a line at 540-667-3577 or phwinc.org@gmail.com for more information.

Building Community Through Historic Preservation

We took a little break this week from scanning photos, so instead we found a TEDxCLE talk by Rhonda Sincavage from the National Trust for Historic Preservation called “Building Community Through Historic Preservation” to share with you.

To many of you, the points she makes in the first six minutes will be entirely familiar. If you find yourself nodding off, skip ahead to about the 6:40 minute mark to hear some outside confirmation of the intuitive reasons people get involved with historic preservation, and the theory of how a strong emotional attachment to a place positively impacts the community as a whole.

For those interested in exploring the Soul of a Community Study mentioned briefly in this talk in more detail, you can learn more about it on the Knight Foundation website or watch a quick introduction video.

Friday Roundup: PHW Newsletter, File Indexes, Clowser House Update, and Photos

Friday Roundup The first PHW Newsletter of 2017 is available online now, with a recap of the 2016 Holiday House Tour and a fairly lengthy update on PHW’s ongoing archiving process. If you think you should be on the PHW mailing list of current members and you don’t receive your hard copy, please let us know at 540-667-3577 or phwinc.org@gmail.com. (If you spot a typo or need to update or confirm your current mailing address, please let us know that too!)

As part of the archiving process mentioned in the newsletter, we have made a working index of the dead PHW office files available online. At present time the list consists only of the file name and box number, but more information on the contents may be added in the future. This index only covers the files moved to storage, so most of the Revolving Fund, newer Holiday House Tours, and historic building files are not indexed (yet!).

We are also very excited to share the indexing of the Winchester Star’s “Out of the Past” articles completed to date. This indexing project was started by summer intern Marlena Spencer as we were beginning to sort and file the newspaper clipping boxes in 2013. Hopefully this will help you locate some stories you may have read in the Out of the Past section. Expect more additions to this index as time goes on.

The Clowser House has cleared its next hurdle in the ongoing preservation efforts. On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move the Clowser House proposal to a public hearing to be held on April 26th. If all goes well, the April 26th hearing will be the final step needed before the Clowser House Committee can lease the property for 99 years and start the preservation process.

Last but not least, we added 22 photos to Flickr this week, all of one location: 219 South Loudoun Street. The brick house was likely built by Abraham Lauck around 1823 for his daughter Sarah at the time of her marriage to Charles Finn. In addition to a selection of shots from the 1997 Holiday House Tour, we were also able to identify the rear garden springtime photos, which had long been in the unknown photo file at PHW. We also did a bit of housekeeping at Flickr and created a dedicated album for those Holiday House Tour 1997 images we have been sharing recently. Enjoy both the festive photos and a taste of spring at the top of the photostream.

219 South Loudoun Street

Friday Photos and Preservation News

Happy Friday! We have some preservation news to pass along before we get to the photos.

The Clowser House Committee has invited anyone interested to stop by the Purple Room at the Frederick County Administrative building in Winchester from 6 to 7 PM on Wednesday, March 8 to meet before the Board of Supervisors meeting. Enter from the North Kent Street side and go down the hall next to the elevator and enter the room to the right at the end. They will have the Clowser House matted prints for sale at $30, as well as information and photos for viewing. The committee is also interested in any old photos you may have relating to the Clowser House and Clowser family for their archives. Please extend this invitation to others, and then stick around for the Board of Supervisors meeting at 7 to show your support for the Clowser House!

For Friday Photos this week, we have added 40 photos to Flickr, including images from Tim Youmans’ tour of City Hall for Rouss Day 2017, two contact prints from the Kurtz Cultural Center exhibit and gift shop areas, and the check presentation of the 2016 Bough and Dough Shop proceeds to Winchester Little Theatre.

We hope you like seeing Christmas decorations year-round, as almost all the photos we have left to scan are from Holiday House Tours. This week we added more images from the 1997 tour of two houses on South Loudoun Street. One is 217 South Loudoun, the Rutherford House, which was built circa 1775 by one of Winchester’s early prominent citizens. Likewise, 522 South Loudoun, the Dr. Cornelius Baldwin House, was open for the 1997 tour. The frame house was built circa 1795. In addition to its famous owner, the house is also recognized for its family connection to Mary Julia Baldwin, Dr. Baldwin’s granddaughter, who founded Mary Baldwin College. Catch all the new photos at the top of the photostream, and keep an eye out for a new album just for the 1997 House Tour images soon!

522 S. Loudoun St.

Friday Roundup: Lecture, Book Signings, Grant Opportunity, Preservation Awards, and Photos!

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week for preservation news.

Jefferson in Paris1. The French and Indian War Foundation invites you to an afternoon of Colonial history on Sunday, March 19 between 2-5 PM in the Reception Room at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, 901 Amherst Street, Winchester, Virginia. This is a free event with wine and hors d’oevres. Book signings of “On The Town Celebrating James Wood & The Founding of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia” by Wilbur S. Johnston and Braddock’s Road Historical Atlas by Norman Baker will take place all afternoon.

Dr. Carl Ekberg will present a lecture and slide presentation on “Thomas Jefferson in Paris” at 3 PM. Dr. Ekberg is a retired history professor from Illinois State University who now resides in Winchester. He has traced the footsteps of Jefferson in Paris for the last 25 years. In 2014, he received La Médaille d’Or award from the French Ambassador for his numerous outstanding publications on the French Colonial period.

For questions on this event, please call 703-307-6696.

2. The National Fund for Sacred Places is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in collaboration with Partners for Sacred Places that provides training, planning grants, and capital grants from $50,000 to $250,000 to congregations of all faiths for rehabilitation work on their historic facilities.

Congregations are urged to submit their letter of intent by May 1 for the Fund for Sacred Places for projects such as:

  • Urgent repair needs that are integral to life safety.
  • Projects that improve the usability or ADA accessibility of the property.
  • Renovation projects for important community outreach.

Visit www.FundforSacredPlaces.org for more details, including eligibility requirements, guidelines, and online application.

3. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is also taking applications for their National Preservation Awards until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 1. Nominate a deserving project, individual, or organization for a 2017 National Preservation Award – see the full list of categories, eligibility requirements, and online submission forms at the National Trust’s website.

4. Late breaking news from the National Trust – two grant deadlines have been extended until March 15! Learn more about the Johanna Favrot (matching grant for planning activities and education efforts focused on preservation primarily for public or nonprofit entities) and Cynthia Woods Mitchell (matching grant for Organizational Level Forum members or Main Street America members of the National Trust for preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historic interiors) funds. Grant funding ranges from $2,500–$10,000.

320 South Cameron Street 5. Friday Photos continues to add to our digital Holiday House Tour collections with 35 images this week, focusing on 320 South Cameron Street (the Parish-McIlwee House, decorated in a Victorian manner) and 312 South Cameron Street (former parsonage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, renovated into offices in 1984), and 501 South Loudoun Street (the Sitler House, an early log home built by Mathias Sitler between 1780-1797).

Catch the new images at the top of the photostream, or at the end of the Holiday House Tours album. Happy viewing!

Bonus Information: More updates on the historic tax credits in Virginia and for the federal program have come in from Preservation Virginia. Catch their updates on the two year sunset successfully added to to HB 2460 and SB 1034 and the introduction of the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act to Congress in their archives.

Announcements and Friday Photos

Happy Friday! We have a few quick announcements to make before we get to the photos:

1. We had a flood of spam hit the website and email list at the end of January, and a small portion (less than 1%) of the email list was cleaned of suspicious signups. If you or a friend are not getting weekly emails from us when you know you have signed up, after you double check that the emails didn’t land in your spam of junk folders, please sign up again on any PHW website page with the email form in the footer or sidebar, or follow this link.

2. Don’t forget about Winchester’s 4th Annual Chocolate Escape, happening downtown this Saturday, February 11 between 2-5 PM. You can find more details and all the participating stores and restaurants at Old Town Winchester.

On the the fun part of the week! We have added 37 photos to Flickr, once again focusing on past Holiday House Tours. Get a glimpse inside 112-114 East Cecil Street, better known as the “chicken coop house” which was an adaptive reuse project turning a barn into apartments, plus 215 South Loudoun Street and the Red Lion Tavern Inn at 208 South Loudoun Street (then the offices of Winchester Radiologists). Find the photos at the end of the Holiday House Tours album, or the top of the photostream. Happy viewing!

Holiday House Tour

Around the Internet: Contemplating the Future of Historic Preservation

Around the Internet Like the world as a whole, historic preservation itself is a changing field with expanding goals and priorities. The book review How to Reinvent Historic Preservation by Amanda Kolson Hurley is more than just a dry look at two recent publications about historic preservation, but also a bit of a retrospective on this change in priorities. This is one of the primary angles to The Past and Future City. Hurley explains, “The new preservation movement cares about neighborhoods as much as individual buildings. . . It looks beyond architecture for reasons why a place resonates, often finding them in social history.” Although lengthy, the full article is worth a read to gain perspective on the evolution in historic preservation which has been taking place since the late 1990s and early 2000s.

You can see how some of the ideas discussed in Hurley’s book review were put into practical application at our closest National Trust site, Belle Grove Plantation, with A Different Kind of History Lesson at Belle Grove Plantation by Kelly Schindler. She recounts her experience spending the night in the historic site in some of the same conditions experienced by Judah, an enslaved cook at the plantation in the early 19th century.

We hope you were able to join in the webinar on Thursday discussing the future of the historic tax credit on the federal level (the event was recorded and should be available for review at the National Trust’s website soon if you missed it live). In the meantime, the Trust put out the article Three Buildings Saved by the Historic Tax Credit. You may also want to check out the Historic Tax Credit Coalition website, especially the Rutgers Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Historic Tax Credit for 2015 and the Historic Tax Credit Impact Maps, to get some facts in hand to support the historic tax credit.

Around the Internet: Shopping, Holiday Hours, and More!

Around the Internet PHW will be taking a winter vacation from midday on Wednesday, December 21 through the New Year, opening as usual on Monday, January 2.

Still looking for a present for an architecture-aficionado in your your life? The Clowser House Committee is selling matted, signed and numbered prints of the Shawneeland Clowser House with the water wheel house in the foreground. These were done by artist Michael Martin (www.michaelmartinart.com) and sell for $30 each. A limited number are framed, as well, for $40. Buy one now in the Handley Regional Library Archives. Proceeds from the sale of the prints is going back to the ongoing efforts to save the Clowser House. The print and more information about the fundraising efforts can be found on their Facebook page.

Have you ever wondered what a country store around 1840 might have had for sale? JF Ptak Science Books found a pocket sized guide published in 1836 that lists all the staples you were likely find, from tea and coffee, pork and beef, fabrics, shoes, pails and kettles, and even a few books. Find the full post, with the full list of items, at the JF Ptak Science Books blog “What Things Cost in the U.S. in 1836.”

As we alluded to in some of our 2016 Holiday House Tour stops this year, Midcentury Modern is gaining traction in historic preservation circles. Relax after Christmas with a new PBS documentary on Eero Saarinen, architect of St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch, Dulles International Airport, and the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. The documentary will premier on Dec. 27, 8 PM on WETA and is 1 hour in length.

Last, if you have not done so yet, there may be enough time to check a few more winter maintenance issues off your to-do list. Take a look at the Northern Virginia Magazine’s To-Do List to see if you are ready for winter.

Holiday House Tour 2016 Final Notes

HHT Wreath and Candle As we near the last hours before the 40th annual Holiday House Tour kicks off, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

Tickets are still available at the advance ticket sale locations:

Kimberly’s, 135 North Braddock Street
Wilkins’ Shoe Center, 7 South Loudoun Street
Winchester Book Gallery, 185 North Loudoun Street
Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center, 1400 South Pleasant Valley Road

Tickets will also be available at the Bough & Dough Shop on December 3 and 4.

Admission to a single site on Sunday is $5. Pay at the door of the house you wish to visit.

If you have questions, the best place to find someone well-versed on the House Tour Saturday and Sunday is the Bough & Dough Shop at the Winchester Little Theatre, 315 W. Boscawen St. The Shop is open Saturday 9 AM-5 PM and on Sunday 11 AM-5 PM.

The normal PHW phone number (540-667-3577) and email (phwinc.org@gmail.com) will not be staffed from Friday-Sunday. Should the weather or some other disaster impact the tour, we will try to push notification on Facebook, the PHW blog, and the PHW voicemail message ASAP.

Watch for any changes about to the Saturday handbell concert and Sunday Lessons and Carols taking place at Braddock Street United Methodist Church at braddockstreetumc.org

The hours for the house tours are Saturday (Preview Party and Candlelight Tour) 6-9 PM, and Sunday (Daylight Tour) from 1-5 PM.

Note that George Washington’s Office Museum, 32 W. Cork St., will be open on Saturday only, 3-9 PM. Washington’s Office will not be stocked with House Tour tickets or booklets.

The Bell House, 106 N. Cameron St., will be open Sunday only, 1-5 PM. The Bell House will be stocked with House Tour tickets and booklets.

There will be complimentary warm drinks at the Bough & Dough Shop for all visitors as in previous years.

Costumed carolers from Winchester Little Theatre, organized by Nancy Ticknor, will once again stroll the streets and serenade tour-goers at the open houses between 2-4 PM on Sunday with festive holiday music. Carolers sing 4 or 5 holiday standards at each stop. They will start and end at the Winchester Little Theatre, and travel to the houses open on the tour.

The weather forecast is partly cloudy on Saturday, to rainy on Sunday. Precipitation is not expected to start until after 5 PM. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-40s, falling to the low 30s overnight.

Have a safe and happy Holiday House Tour, everyone!