Friday Photos: John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive, Belle Grove

When a tantalizing story of a photographer who went around the country taking photographs of dinosaur statues and other roadside attractions crossed the PHW news feed, of course we had to check if Dinosaur Land made the cut. While we haven’t found the iconic brontosaurus, we did find a two other locally famous kitschy landmarks:

The apple at Kimberly’s (photo taken in 1982)
Two angles of the lighthouse on Weems Lane (now dismantled, removed from the site, and re-purposed), also in 1982. Sharp eyes can also spot a corner of the distinctive Hardee’s in the background of one picture.

If you too would like to browse or search the John Margolies collection, you can find over 11,000 images in the Library of Congress prints and photographs catalog. As you can guess, the collection is not just dinosaurs, but also gas stations, signs, drive-in theaters, mini golf courses, motels, and other interesting roadside follies.

Perhaps less impressive, this week we discovered an envelope of photos tucked into a file folder of Belle Grove Plantation while doing other filing tasks. These five images are circa 1986. You can see these photos at the end of the Frederick County album, or at the top of the photostream. Happy viewing!

Belle Grove, Middletown

Friday Photos: Renaming Ceremony for the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum

Renaming Ceremony for the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum

Happy Friday! If you were out and about this morning, you may have seen the crowd gathered on the lawn of the old Frederick County Court House. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) held a ceremony to officially announce that the former Old Court House Civil War Museum is renamed the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum. The exhibit areas in the museum will be upgraded with new and renovated exhibits, improved signage and displays, new interactive and digital tools, new lighting, new youth activities and exhibits, and a greater focus on the broader story of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley – the Union, Confederate, civilian and African-American perspectives.

Winchester Mayor John David Smith, Jr., Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Delegate Chris Collins, SVBF Board Member Jim Wilkins, Jr., and SVBF CEO Keven M. Walker among others made remarks on the museum, its history, the changing of the exhibits and way it can enhance and expand upon the interpretation of the Civil War past the experience of names and dates at a battlefield. At the end of the proceedings, Mr. Wilkins was presented with the Graves Family Philanthropic Leadership Award in recognition of his philanthropy on behalf of battlefield preservation and other worthy causes.

Be sure to stop by the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum at 20 North Loudoun Street (most exhibit upgrades will not take place until winter, so there is still plenty of time to visit) or check them out online at If you couldn’t make the event today, you can see twelve images of the ceremony at PHW’s Flickr account.

Friday Photos: More Holiday House Tour

Please excuse the abbreviated update for this week, as we have been busy at PHW leading walking tours and attending meetings out of the office, in addition to several days of tree work at the Hexagon House. We added twelve photos to our Holiday House Tour photo collection this week. This batch is tentatively dated to 1998 and 1999 and features the Bell House, the Kurtz Building, the Feltner Building, and the Old Frederick County Court House. See the photos at the top of the Flickr photostream, or at the end of the Holiday House Tour album. Happy viewing!

Holiday House Tour

Friday Photos: Holiday House Tour and Valley Avenue

Happy Friday! This week, we have added 50 photos to our Flickr account. Seven images are recent photos taken of the block of Valley Avenue at the McDonald’s, from Gaunt’s Drug Store to James Street. They may be found at the end of the Valley Avenue album.

The remaining 43 images are from miscellaneous Holiday House Tours, all likely in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Until the years of the tours can be verified, the new Holiday House Tour images will be at the end of the generic Holiday House Tours album.

You can also see all the new additions at the very top of the photostream. Happy viewing!

Holiday House Tour

Friday Photos: Pittsburgh Bridge Co. Bridge, Fairmont Ave.

Private bridge with working rail line beneath
Happy Friday! Although we could not show any photos at our Annual Meeting, we thought you would like to see the progress pictures for one of our Award of Merit winners, Charles and Kelly Hyre, for the work done to retain their unique private driveway bridge at 445 Fairmont Ave. The bridge images submitted in the award nomination packet have been added to the 2017 Annual Meeting album on Flickr. The house, known as Dunheath or more commonly Glen Lee, was built in 1869 for Judge William Clark, Jr. At the time, it was one of the first houses built so far north on Fairmont, and as such it was set much farther back from the street than any other home. All was well until a rail line was slated to run along Fairmont Avenue, cross the Amherst and Boscawen Y-intersection, and terminate at the Cumberland Valley Railroad depot at the corner of Boscawen and Stewart Streets. While the rail line passed in the rear of all other homes on Fairmont, for Glen Lee it would cut directly across the main driveway. In exchange for the right-of-way for the tracks, the railroad company elevated the driveway, constructed the bridge, and lined it with a wrought iron fence.

The bridge was constructed by the Pittsburgh Bridge Company, with the firm Nelson and Buchanan as agents, in 1889. At the time, it was common for Pittsburgh Bridge Company to prefabricate the steel trusses and Nelson and Buchanan would act as the agents and contractors for the installation. To help sell their prefabricated bridges, railroad companies and local government officials were the primary targets for aggressive and sometimes ethically suspect marketing pitches.

While an untold number of bridges were constructed in our region by Pittsburgh Bridge Company from the 1880s until their consolidation with American Bridge Company in 1901, many of the large highway bridges have now been lost to age, accident, or new construction projects. The bridges that seem to still be in service are smaller back road bridges or the driveway examples, like the one at Glen Lee. Almost all are facing structural or maintenance issues after more than one hundred years of faithful service. See some other Pittsburgh Bridge Company examples from around the country at and through the search function at For more in-depth information on steel truss bridges, check out Bradford County’s Truss Bridges, which includes construction history, engineering information, and historic bridge manufacturer history. And you can see the Glen Lee driveway bridge at the end of the 2017 Annual Meeting and the Fairmont Avenue Flickr albums.

Friday Photos: Annual Meeting 2017

Happy Friday! If you could not join us last weekend at PHW’s 53rd Annual Meeting, you can experience the event through some photos taken during the business portion of the meeting. Bruce Downing, President of PHW, presented the following six preservation awards on June 11.

Bruce Downing, President of PHW, leading the meeting

Awards of Merit recognize renovations that contribute to improving the character of their neighborhoods and maintaining the overall historic fabric of the city. PHW presented two Awards of Merit this year:

  • Ann Brady and Gary Farrington, restoration of 317 South Braddock St. following the fire last year.
  • Charles and Kelly Hyre, restoration of the private steel and wood bridge (c. 1889) leading to their home at 445 Fairmont Ave.

The Katherine G. Rockwood Revolving Fund Award is named in honor of Katherine G. Rockwood. Mrs. Rockwood was the driving force behind the original 1976 architectural inventory of Winchester, PHW’s Jennings Revolving Fund, and innumerable other programs and activities of PHW. This award recognizes the outstanding renovation of a Jennings Revolving Fund property. PHW presented one Rockwood award this year:

  • E.G. and Joanne Hamill for the exterior restoration and porch reconstruction at 513 S. Loudoun St.

The Ben Belchic Award is named in honor of Ben Belchic, a founding member of PHW. He was also an active member of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, so the Belchic Award recognizes a significant contribution to understanding Winchester’s history. These awards are generally presented for written texts, such as books, maps, National Register nominations, and guided tours. This year, PHW recognized one scholar:

  • Wil Johnston for On the Town! Celebrating James Wood and the Founding of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Carroll H. Henkel Award is named in honor of Carroll H. Henkel, PHW’s first president in 1963-1964. This award recognizes outstanding leadership for historic preservation in the Winchester-Frederick County area. This year, we recognized one outstanding coalition:

  • The family members, residents of Shawneeland, and elected officials who came together to formulate the plan to save the Clowser House, recognized under their official organizational name the Clowser Foundation, and accepted by its president, Larry Webb.

PHW presented a special President’s Award to recognize the over fifty years of service put in by the entire Orndoff family, stretching all the way back to before PHW was even an organization itself. Betty Orndoff is one of the last people left who stood in protest in 1962 before the bulldozers came to raze the Conrad House. Edwin, Betty, and their daughter Eydie have since volunteered at almost every Holiday House Tour and attended nearly every major event of the organization since that time. It is truly a remarkable record of service!

PHW also elected the 2017-2018 Board of Directors, quickly recapped our last year, and we heard some brief remarks from Terry Heder, our host at the Bell House, about the plans for the building’s future uses and roles in telling the story of the Civil War in Winchester. After the meeting, guests could see the inside of the house for guided tours, or stay outside for some light refreshments. All in all, it was a beautiful and joyous afternoon!

See all the photos in our album at Flickr. Happy viewing!

Annual Meeting and Clowser Memorial Service Photos

The Bell HouseReminder: PHW’s Annual Meeting is this Sunday, June 11, at the Bell House, 106 North Cameron Street in Winchester. We will begin the business portion of the meeting, including election of the PHW board members, at 2 PM, followed by six preservation award presentations, and finish up the meeting with some remarks by our host, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Afterwards, please stay for light refreshments, socializing, and building tours. If you have stories to share of the Bell House and its history, our hosts would also love to hear them.

Last weekend, we attended the Clowser Foundation’s memorial service and lease signing celebration at the Clowser House in Shawneeland. If you weren’t able to attend, you can catch a few images of the event in our Flickr album. Happy viewing!

Clowser House Memorial Service

Friday Photos: More Holiday House Tour 1991

Happy Friday! We have added 30 new images from the 1991 Holiday House Tour to our Flickr album this week. The houses featured in this batch are 2848 Windsor Lane, which was designed by William E. Poole in the style of an antebellum planter’s cottage and was featured in the April 1989 issue of Colonial Homes magazine. The second home in this week’s set, 3106 Windsor Lane, was designed by the owners Mr. and Mrs. Robert Snyder and their builder Kay Dawson. In keeping with the home’s sleek and modern design, even the greenery featured in the home was unusual in materials and composition.

Catch all the new images at the top of the photostream, or at the end of the 1991 House Tour album.

Holiday House Tour 1991

Friday Photos: Holiday House Tour 1991

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week at PHW, but we fit in enough time to add 35 new photos of the 1991 Holiday House Tour “A Neighborhood Christmas,” which was held on Windsor Lane, off Cedar Creek Grade. The homes were all contemporary, most having been built in 1989. Have fun exploring the images of the first two sites at Flickr, and look forward to more photos of homes from this tour in the coming weeks.

2937 Windsor Lane

Friday Roundup: Tax Credit Talking Points and Greenway Court

The Historic Tax Credit Coalition has shared their research into some of the challenges they heard about the necessity of a federal level historic tax credit when other incentives may be enacted. If you are interested in being an advocate for the historic tax credit, you can find some questions and answers – both technical and simplified versions – in Answering the Hard Questions from Capitol Hill about the Future of the Historic Tax Credit at the National Trust for Historic Preservation blog.

For Friday Photos this week, we have added 14 images of outbuildings at Greenway Court. Although outside PHW’s geographical mission area, we helped spread the word on fundraising to stabilize the outbuildings. These images were taken by Frank Wright during a group site visit to raise awareness of the project, likely in the fall of 2008. You can see them all in our Greenway Court album on Flickr. Happy viewing!

Greenway Court