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 phwinc.org@gmail.com 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.

Saint Paul AME Church 150th Anniversary Black Tie Gala

From our friends at Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church on North Loudoun Street comes an invitation to their two capstone events to celebrate their founding 150 years ago.

On October 28th is the Anniversary Black Tie Gala. Mr. Rodney “Johnson” Ruffin, Vice-President of Business Development of Thompson Hospitalities will be Master of Ceremonies; Mr. Kelly Wright, Fox News Anchor will be the keynote speaker; and Mr. Jarohn Grandstaff, saxophonist, will be the musician. The event will be held at 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. The services will be held in the same building which was erected in 1878 and majorly renovated in 2005.

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

Friday Round Up: Clowser House, Guideline Updates, and More

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! It’s been a busy week at PHW, so here’s what we’ve been up to:

We have added five images from the Walk and Learn tour we hosted in conjunction with the Clowser Foundation at the Clowser House last Saturday to our Flickr account. Thank you to everyone who came out and saw the house and heard about the efforts so far to save it. The Clowser Foundation needs your support – they are still fundraising for their efforts to repair the back wall before June 2018. You can learn more about their organization at their website and Facebook page.

We had some good questions on the historic farming uses at the Clowser House. As we learned on Saturday, the Clowser family ran a mixed farm with wheat, corn, cattle, pigs, and other crops and livestock. Although not specific to the Clowser family, you can learn more about agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley before and during the Civil War at Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

In Winchester news, we know many people have been awaiting word on the overhaul of the Board of Architectural Review Guidelines. The revised document, which has been in the works for about a year and a half, was presented at the September 26 City Council work session. It appears very likely the new guidelines, which allow for some additional flexibility with non-traditional materials, will be adopted on Tuesday, October 10. You may review the agenda and packet through the city’s website.

In Holiday House Tour news, we still have spaces available for interior full page, half page, and business card ads. You can learn more on the sizes and benefits of the ads here. If you are interested in reserving a spot, please let us know at phwinc.org@gmail.com or by calling 540-667-3577 before October 31.

We also took a few moments this week to update our GuideStar profile and reach their Silver rating. This has also opened up a new donation option for us on the GuideStar webpage. You may use the donation link under our logo as an alternate way to make online donations to PHW. Thank you in advance!

Friday Roundup: Reading Old Handwriting, Closet Archeology, and More!

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! This week, we gathered some interesting links from around the internet to share with you.

One thing we get asked about from time to time is reading the handwriting in early deeds and insurance policies. A good starting point if you’ll be reading or transcribing a lot of older writing is “How to Decipher Unfamiliar Handwriting” (geared to British and Australian sources, but the tips are universally applicable). Keithbobbitt.com has shared a chart and common abbreviation list of Colonial American handwriting by Kip Sperry that may help you decipher some tough letters and words in 17th century documents. If you feel up to testing your skills, you can try a matching game of individual letters based on Kip Sperry’s work at Reed.edu.

If you’re in need of help with 18th century writing, we found an in-depth guide with tips and sample writing and transcription (among other activities!) at DoHistory.org. Reading and transcribing will be easier in 19th and 20th century documents as writing was taught to standardized forms that remain similar to the cursive you may have learned in school yourself. Like most things, reading older handwriting is a skill that can be learned and improved, and some handwriting is easier to read than others.

If you are looking for something, perhaps at a graduate level, to study in conjunction with a public history or historic preservation degree, the National Trust recently posted Show Me the Studies! Environmental Design Research and Historic Preservation. While most preservationists have a gut feeling historic places help anchor us in time to our past, there have been very few studies on the subject as to the causes of those feelings – and studies are often key to having data that is “known” to be true to be validated and used in other important ways.

If you’d like your study to be a little closer to home, one class of fourth grade students has started a closet archeology project in their school. The project came about through a gap in the floor left by the removal of some sliding doors. Students would find interesting items in the gap – and the deeper they went in the hole, the more interesting the finds became. See some of the items found under the floorboards at the Closet Archeology Instagram. Some of those puzzle pieces look awfully familiar. . .

In a different sort of closet archeology, the blog 1970s Activist Publishing in West Virginia: Researching Appalachian Movement Press detailed the author’s journey to uncover the story of a small press that operated between 1969-1979 in Huntington, West Virginia. It is a good case study of how to research something of the recent past that has largely been forgotten. Perhaps my favorite passage, and one that I am sure all researchers wish more organizations would take to heart is:

“Suffice it to say that, if you’re publishing things on paper right now: Archive Your Work! You never know when someone decades later is going to care about what you were doing, and have a hell of a time trying to find out about it. Don’t leave it in a moldy basement!”

Last, if you are a National Trust Forum member, be sure to check out the latest issue of the Forum Journal, which covers a number of topics on preserving and interpreting difficult history, a topic that is perhaps more relevant than ever before.

Coming This Weekend: Glen Burnie Day and Second Battle of Kernstown Events

We have two free events to share with you. First, July 22 is Glen Burnie Day at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Between 10 AM-5 PM, the MSV will open its doors for family friendly activities and a classic and modified car show. Learn more at the MSV website.

Also this weekend, the Kernstown Battlefield Association will commemorate the 153rd anniversary of the Second Battle of Kernstown with a series of events on July 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2017. All events are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, July 22nd, author and historian Scott C. Patchan will give a special battlefield tour at 10 AM. Scott is the author of Shenandoah Summer; The 1864 Valley Campaign, among other books. Scott will be signing his books before and after his tour. Please meet at the Visitors’ Center.

Saturday afternoon, Shenandoah University Professor Dennis Kellison will be available in the Visitors’ Center to discuss his research about his ancestors that served in the Civil War and how he found them.

On Sunday, July 23rd, at 11 AM, volunteer Larry Turner will present a program on the manufacture and use of artillery fuses in the Civil War. Larry’s presentation will take place in the new conference room.

At 1 PM on Sunday, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Park Ranger Rick Ashbacker will give a presentation on the 1864 campaign called 1864 in a Box. The program is designed to give an overall understanding of the 1864 campaign and where events took place.

The Battlefield will be open on Monday, July 24th, the actual date of the battle, from 10 AM to 4 PM.

For more information, visit www.kernstownbattle.org.

Friday Roundup: Upcoming Events and a Free Webinar

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! There are two events coming in June. First, on Saturday, June 3 at 10:30 a.m., the Clowser Foundation will have a memorial service at the Clowser cemetery (152 Tomahawk Trail, Winchester, VA 22602) for the massacre in which members of the Clowser family and other settlers were killed or taken prisoner by Delaware Indians in 1764, followed by a lease signing celebration. Please join them for this free event and help them start off their efforts to save the Clowser House.

Second, on Sunday, June 11 at 2 p.m., PHW will hold its 53rd Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards at the Bell House, 106 North Cameron Street, Winchester, VA 22601. Please join us at this free for members event to celebrate local preservation projects and people and start PHW’s year on the right foot. If you were unable to attend the Holiday House Tour, this will also give you another opportunity to see the Bell House and learn about the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields and their plans for the building.

The Preservation Leadership Forum and NeighborWorks America hosted the webinar “Preserving and Supporting Businesses in Historic Neighborhoods” on April 27. The webinar examined how small businesses contribute to the vitality of older neighborhoods through offering essential services and serving as community anchors. This builds upon previous studies that have identified historic buildings as incubators for small businesses. Check out the webinar and the addition related materials here.