Chancery Research and Friday Photos

From the Library of Virginia, researchers can now access Warren County chancery records online. Read the article at their blog Out of the Box. Winchester City records primarily 1859-1936 and Frederick County records primarily 1860-1912 are available for online researchers already. Chancery cases often list out real estate, furnishings, extended family members, and more specific and unexpected things like bills for sidewalk improvements or exact dates when advertisements ran in local newspapers. Chancery records can be very useful to flesh out the history of individuals you may be researching.

Friday Photos this week returns with 32 images from the Revolving Fund cabinet of North Loudoun Street. We found a few more images of the Hunstberry Building at 157 N. Loudoun, the Lewis Barley House at 327 N. Loudoun, and the Magill-Keller House at 418 N. Loudoun, including some pretty dry (but necessary) documentary photos of a sidewalk replacement. Catch all of them at the top of the photostream!

418 N. Loudoun St.

Friday Photos: Slides from the Past

Happy Friday! While you celebrate Apple Blossom this weekend, you can also enjoy 39 slides that were digitized from PHW’s collections. These slides were part of the old school traveling 35mm slide shows we used until the advent of PowerPoint. The slides escaped the first round of digitization by hiding in our slide carousels. This batch contains buildings on Washington St., Piccadilly St., Loudoun St., National Ave., Valley Ave., and Pleasant Valley Rd. Catch these familiar favorites at the top of the Flickr photostream.

Valley Ave.

Friday Roundup: Keeping up with the Preservationists Edition

First, a note from Timothy Youmans on the temporary relocation this week of the Planning and Zoning & Inspections offices during the City Hall renovation:

Please note that the Planning Dept. and the Zoning & Inspections Dept. currently located in Suite 318 on the 3rd floor of Rouss City Hall will be relocating to the basement level offices of the Creamery Bldg. at 25 S. Kent St on April 26. While temporary, the relocation will extend into the Fall of this year as the 3rd floor of City Hall is completely renovated into the Development Services Concourse offering improved customer service for our development partners in the community.

To access the temporary offices, please enter the Creamery Bldg. from the rear parking lot entrance. The stairs and elevator connecting to the offices in the basement are immediately to the right after entering the rear of the building. The banks of parking closest to the north side and rear of the building and the double bay of parking just out from the rear bay of spaces are the only parking spaces situated on the Winchester City property and therefore available to customers of offices in the Creamery Bldg. All of the other spaces are reserved for other properties and should not be used by those coming to the City’s temporary offices in the basement.

This week for Friday Photos, we added 21 images of 145 Baker St., 125 W. Boscawen St., and 320 S. Cameron St. from our Revolving Fund cabinet collection. Catch them all at the top of the Flickr photostream.

145 Baker St.

You may have heard that Flickr will be merging with SmugMug. At the present time, it does not appear this will impact our Friday Photos and other photo collections – they’re all staying put with the same links you’ve been using. From the FAQ: “Over time, we’ll be migrating Flickr onto SmugMug’s technology infrastructure, and your Flickr photos will move as a part of this migration—but the photos themselves will remain on Flickr.”

With Apple Blossom drawing ever closer, you may want to read about The Rediscovery of 5 ‘Extinct’ Types of Heritage Apple. As a friendly reminder, the PHW office will likely be closing at 3 PM on Thursday, May 3 and remain closed through the Apple Blossom weekend festivities. Stay safe and have a happy Bloom!

Friday Roundup: Events and Photos

Looking for something to do this weekend? Friday and Saturday is the John Kirby Celebration and 24-hour Jazzathon. The event starts tonight at 8 PM at the Bright Box Theater, 15 N Loudoun St., with a performance by the Shenandoah Conservatory Little Big Band featuring guest artists Tom Williams on trumpet and Charlie Young on alto saxophone. General admission tickets are $12. Additional performances, which will continue on Shenandoah University’s campus and on the Old Town Winchester walking mall, are free and open to the public. Visit Shenandoah University News and Conservatory Performs for more information on the event and scheduled performances.

Mark your calendars for PHW’s first Walk and Learn event of 2018 on Saturday, May 19, 2:30 PM. This free event is PHW’s contribution of National Preservation Month in May, and we will be taking a condensed look at the history of preservation in Winchester with this approximately one mile walking tour. We will take you past a number of significant buildings that have received the Winchester historic building plaque or that have been saved through the Jennings Revolving Fund. We will meet in front of 21 South Loudoun Street at 2:30 PM, the first building marked with the oval bronze building plaque, and stop for a few words and refreshments at 125 East Clifford Street, the latest home to join the ranks of the marked historic buildings. The complete loop of the tour is expected to take one hour. Look for a mailer coming soon with more information!

It would not be a proper Friday without some photos. This week, we added 31 images to Flickr, including one of the porch at 316 Amherst Street, 8 of the Toll House at 800 Amherst Street, and 22 of the Fawcett House from the 1988 Holiday House Tour. Catch all the images at the top of our photostream.

The Fawcett House

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.

Friday Photos, Podcasts, and Upcoming Office Schedule

It was a short week for us with the snow interruption, but we were still able to add 33 photos to our Flickr account. Like last week, we are continuing to digitize all the photos from the Revolving Fund files, with this week’s batch including 20-22 and 24 South Kent, 211 and 219 South Kent (part of the Hodgson estate purchase), and 317 North Kent. You can catch the new additions at the top of the photostream, or at the end of the Revolving Fund album.
317 North Kent

If you are looking for preservation podcasts to add to your life, you might want to visit the newly-created www.preservecast.org site to look through Preservation Maryland’s back catalog of over 60 episodes, with a new episode posted on Mondays. The topics are often but not always Maryland-specific, but also include best practices and more general preservation topics. If you want a sample recommendation, try out the episode on the Enchanted Forest – if you’ve been in the area for a while you might have fond memories of this attraction during its first life from 1955-1989. (If you are super excited about this story and want to relive a bit of your childhood, Clark’s Elioak Farm will reopen for the season on March 30 – find more on their website www.clarklandfarm.com.)

Please note the PHW Office will be hosting a school field trip on Friday, March 30, and closed on April 2 and 3 for Easter vacation. We should still have a weekly email for you next week, but if we don’t, have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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!

Friday Photos from the Revolving Fund Cabinet

This week we added 38 photos to our Flickr account from our ongoing spring cleaning of the Revolving Fund file cabinet. This is likely the last cabinet to have a significant amount of photos that have not yet been digitized – but never fear, we still have at least a few more weeks of Friday Photos featuring older images to come, as we have four 35mm slide trays with old presentations to digitize.

Many of today’s photos are our “baseline documentation,” the images taken shortly before or after PHW purchased the properties, or are pictures of work in progress during the first rehabilitation. This batch covers 124 and 125 E. Clifford, 112-114 E. Cecil (the chicken coop house), 106-108 W. Cecil, 119 S. East Lane (the Gibson house), and 706 South Cameron Street. If you have seen PHW presentations on the Revolving Fund in the past, you might recognize some of these images, but it did not appear that they made the jump from a PowerPoint program to Flickr. You can catch all the new additions at the top of the photostream or at the end of the Revolving Fund album. Happy viewing!
112-114 E. Cecil St.