Friday Roundup: Updates, Spring Cleaning, and Hexagon House Fiction

The CUP for the Old Hospital at 333 W. Cork St. was approved with twelve conditions at the March 26 City council meeting. You can review to conditions on the City’s website. While this may not meet all the hopes of the neighbors, particularly on design and materials of the new construction, at least some of the valid concerns about parking and neighborhood disturbance are addressed. We are also pleased to see the addition of more greenspace at street level. This would not have happened without the dedicated efforts of the neighborhood steering committee staying engaged and focused, and we admire your tenacity and attention to detail throughout this process.

If the warmer weather has you in the mood to do some spring cleaning, PHW has a few requests for odds and ends type donations: Hanging folder plastic tabs (2″ clear plastic preferred), freestanding counter/tabletop displays (particularly something like spice racks or CD/DVD racks that can fit in our window ledges), pegboard (can be various odd sizes), and Christmas light strings with replaceable bulbs (strings can be working or non-working).  We are also prepared to receive donations of gently used shopping bags – our preference right now is for paper bags with handles. If you have items to donate, drop us a line at 540-667-3577 or stop by the office at 530 Amherst St.

In the theme of spring cleaning, we enjoyed 10 Stories About the Things You’ve Found While Moving. Most of the stories highlighted seem to feature things left behind by previous occupants or hidden in the walls. Newspapers in walls, under floors, or along sills is a common find for anyone who has worked in older homes, and while you probably don’t need to keep each scrap you find, it can be useful to find a date or two on the sheets and give yourself a time-frame on when changes might have taken place. For a whole different level of an unusual find inside a house, check out Found: A Historic Trolley Hidden Inside a House!

For something a bit different, you might remember a number of reports of “comet eggs” reprinted in various Out of the Past newspaper collections. One example story can be found in the Stanton Spectator. The belief at the time was the comet was provoking strange reactions from animals, particularly from hens who looked up at the night sky and laid eggs in the same color and shape as the comet. While these reports were fascinating and a bit farfetched, it was hard to imagine seeing one of these “comet eggs” today. Of course, someone out there saved an example, and you can Meet the ‘Comet Egg,’ Which Definitely Did Not Come From Space from the 1986 visit of Halley’s Comet.

Last, if you are up for a bit of fantastic fiction involving a hexagon house, we came across the story “A Psychological Wonder” by George L. Byington. It was reprinted in Northern Neck News of July 29, 1910 on page 4. We found the story while searching for the term “hexagon,” and the initial description of the house bore an uncanny resemblance to the Winchester Hexagon House (particularly around 1910, when our house was soon to be between long-term owners.) Of course we kept reading to see if we could unearth clues on this building, and instead found a haunted house story. After a bit of digging to see where the story originated, we found the copyright entry tracing it back to The Ossining Daily Citizen in 1910. Ossining is in New York along the Hudson River – a prime area for polygonal houses. While it isn’t clear which of the 100+ known polygonal structures in New York might have served as inspiration for this tale (although the nearby Armour–Stiner House would top my list for inspiring architecture), the narrator’s approach to spending a night in a hexagon house is a good illustration of how captivating and mysterious these homes have always been.

Friday Roundup: Fourth of July Edition

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! We had a great time kicking off PHW’s 54th year last Sunday, and we have more great things on the horizon. First, our holiday schedule for the Fourth of July:

Closed Tuesday, July 3, but stop by our table near 28 S. Loudoun St. (the Godfrey Miller House) during Rockin Independence Eve and pick up some self-guided walking tours and other PHW swag (donations kindly accepted). The event runs from 5-11 PM; we’re not sure how long our supplies will hold out, so you might want to stop by early!
The PHW office will be closed all day July 4 and July 5.

In keeping with the patriotic theme this time of year, we are happy to report the Clowser Foundation has secured their lease on the Clowser House in Shawneeland for the next 98 years. This was truly a labor of love for this amazing group, and we are beyond thrilled for them. Fabulous job, everyone!

Perhaps a bit ironically, but with summer comes the official call for Bough and Dough Shop artisans! We are trying to go “high tech” in our process this year. Apply with our online version of the Bough and Dough Shop jury form (requires a Google account)
or go with the reliable old school print and mail forms (PDF).

If you are thinking of applying, we are looking for unique handcrafted items. We would especially like to find a basket-maker, another potter or two, and perhaps jewelry, but we are very open to reviewing any submissions. We anticipate having about double the interior floor space we had at our longtime Shop location at the Winchester Little Theatre and we would love to showcase many more artisans this year. Don’t be shy, apply!



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!



Preserve Early America in Virginia, Part One

To go with our post last week, a second typed manuscript fell free of a scrapbook during moving. This is a partial transcription of the article “Preserve Early America in Virginia,” written by Lucille Lozier and Chi-Chi Kerns in 1968. The manuscript was sent to six magazines for potential publication. It was divided into three sections, so only the first portion which forms the most cohesive narrative is included today. We may revisit the next two sections in a future blog post.

Preserve Early America in Virginia

“We set out early, then traveled up to Frederick Town,” wrote George Washington in March, 1748, then a lad of 16. “We cleaned ourselves (to get rid of the game we had catched the night before), took a review of the town and thence returned to our lodgings where we had a good dinner…and a good feather bed with clean sheets, which was a very agreeable regale.”

This was the beginning of George Washington’s association with Winchester, then called Frederick Town.

The property on which this same inn rested, which was conveyed by Lord Fairfax to William Cocke, owner of the inn, was designated for preservation October 15, 1967. A fine old stone house, built in 1792, now stands there. This house is the first building in Winchester to be marked for preservation. A bronze plaque was placed on this home at the dedication ceremony, indicating it will be preserved, and the home is so listed by Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc.

At the time of Washington’s coming here, Winchester was the principal frontier post in the Shenandoah Valley. Washington, whose brother, Lawrence, married a cousin of Lord Fairfax, was sent here by the latter to survey Lord Fairfax’s vast estate of over 5,000,000 acres of unsettled land. He spent the next four years in this activity, and his headquarters attracts many tourists today.
George Washington's Office Museum

There seems to be an almost overwhelming urge, in the name of progress, to demolish and destroy relics of our country’s history and early cultural development. The era of concrete is upon the land, and ruthlessly, buildings of period architecture and antique beauty fall prey to the bulldozer. Feelings of pride in our past heritage seem to be swept aside in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

In the fall of 1963, a group of concerned citizens in Winchester, distressed and alarmed by the demolition of an increasingly large number of antique buildings in the area, assembled with a common desire to find some way to prevent the continuous destruction of their heritage. Winchester is one of the most historical cities of our nation and the oldest town west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a distinction of which they feel every citizen in the community should be justly proud.

Out of such concern grew an organization, the members of which were determined to preserve as many as possible of the old homes and buildings in Winchester which are historically important and architecturally interesting. These citizens formed an active group dedicated to providing a qualified and responsible organization capable of carrying out their objectives.

Those who belong to the organization have been successful in having the City Council pass an ordinance which enables them to proceed with their business of preservation. The name of the organization is “Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc.”

The members of PHW, Inc. have undertaken a project which will bring to a halt the impetuous tearing down of their historically invaluable buildings which, once gone, can never be replaced. They are trying to preserve as many as possible of the important buildings in Old Winchester which were built before 1860. Under their plan, the owner of a building may request its preservation. If the building qualifies, an attractive bronze marker, or plaque, specially designed, is placed on the structure to indicate that it will always remain a part of Old Winchester.

In recent years there has been some interest among members of garden clubs and other citizens of Winchester in improving the appearance of certain local historic buildings by beautifying their surroundings with appropriate planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, vines and ground covers. Since the preservation of an old building is not authentic without the restoration of the gardens and lawn which enhanced it, the Historic Winchester group would hope to work hand in hand with all those who wish the picture to be complete. It is anticipated that out of growing concern for saving these buildings will develop also a strong desire on the part of Winchester’s citizens to make their town more attractive with beautiful landscape architecture.

Members of the newly-formed organization look forward to the future with great excitement. They expect, as a body, which will be fully qualified for the activity, to solicit and accept money and property in the form of endowments and bequests. These gifts will be classified as charitable and may be listed as such on income tax forms of all donors.

The people of Historic Winchester wish to spread the news of their thrilling adventure to all Virginians, and, indeed, throughout the nation. Anyone interested in the organization can contact us at 540-667-3577, phwinc.org@gmail.com, or at our office Monday-Friday at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA 22601.



Patricia Zontine

Kurtz Cultural CenterWe were saddened to learn yesterday that one of our honorary council members and guiding lights at PHW, Pat Zontine, has passed away. Pat became involved in PHW during the early Jennings Revolving Fund years and helped to shape the program into the effective preservation tool PHW used to save houses in the Potato Hill neighborhood and South Kent Street. She is also well-remembered inside PHW for her work connecting Shenandoah University to the Old John Kerr building and helping to save that school from demolition as well. Her crowning achievement will always be the Kurtz Cultural Center, saving an “ugly” warehouse from demolition and transforming it into a hub of downtown activities in the 1990s. You may find her obituary at the Winchester Star, including information on the celebration of her life event at 124 W. Boscawen St. on February 3 at 5 PM. If you would prefer to hear her voice one more time, we were fortunate enough to have her as a lecturer with Gene Fisher talking about SU’s relationship to preservation. You may watch the video on YouTube.



Happy Holidays!

As we wind down another year at PHW, we would just like to say thank you to all our members, supporters, and volunteers. 2017 was a year that saw a lot of changes, good and bad, and there is still much uncertainty in the future. We will be doing our best to keep you informed on what these changes mean, particularly in regards to the historic tax credit and other staple preservation programs that have made our work possible.


Our expected holiday schedule for Christmas and New Year is:
Closing at 3 PM on Thursday, December 21.
Closed on Friday, December 22
Closed on Monday, December 25
Opening at noon December 26-29
Closed on Monday, January 1
We will likely be out taking our yearly Revolving Fund photos either shortly before or after the New Year, depending on weather conditions.

We will also ask for your patience if you want to visit the Hexagon House over the next few weeks. The downstairs is currently being repainted, so the office is being shuffled from room to room as the painting progresses. We are very excited to see the final product, which will bring some of the interior colors in the downstairs more in line with colors that were historically used in the Hexagon House. We are looking forward to adding some interior decorating history to our guided tours in 2018.

As you know, we also love looking at vintage postcards and maps, and this year Atlas Obscura writer Jessica Leigh Hester delivered an entire collection of quirky cards with Christmas-themed maps in the New York Public Library. We couldn’t pick just one as our favorite, so take a look at the full article at The Most Festive Treasures of the New York Public Library’s Maps Division or explore other digitized treasures at the New York Public Library.



Heads Up! Email Housekeeping

While we were making a few cosmetic adjustments to the way our weekly PHW emails look, we also went in and made a couple other tweaks. Most should not affect you, but here’s the quick rundown:

1. About forty suspicious-looking emails from Yahoo and Laposte email addresses that signed up in two clusters without names were removed from the mailing list. If you are a real person who was caught in this pruning, we apologize and invite you to rejoin the list.
2. New subscribers should get a second welcome confirmation email from MailChimp.
3. If you unsubscribe from the email list, you should get a confirmation email with a resubscribe link (in case you are accidentally unsubscribed), because . . .
4. We added MailChimp’s built-in forward option at the bottom of the email to make it easier and a bit cleaner looking to send the emails to friends or share on Twitter or Facebook. The forward option might make it so your friend could unsubscribe you, so we erred to the side of caution in providing extra confirmation you meant to unsubscribe.
5. In a totally cosmetic adjustment, we unchecked the “mobile friendly images” setting for MailChimp, as it was actually making smaller thumbnails from our blog full-width instead of keeping them in-line with text. This might make some photos side scroll a bit on smaller phones, but hopefully this will be an acceptable compromise for desktop and tablet readers to not see unfortunately grainy images.



PHW Membership Dues Reminder

It is time for the bulk of PHW members to renew your dues! Snail mail letters have been going out this week and will continue into next week to about 2/3rds of our members. If you have questions about your membership status, please feel free to contact the PHW office at 540-667-3577 or phwinc.org@gmail.com.

If you are one of our free readers on Facebook or by email and you enjoy hearing from us every week, why not take the next step and support us with membership dues or a donation? We have several options on how to join:

Automatic Yearly Payments via PayPal Subscription


Membership

The PayPal subscription button sets up an automatic yearly payment on the date you first join. If this option does not display correctly in your email, please visit our website for the form. Please refer to the instructions in PayPal’s FAQ on how to update or cancel your automatic subscription. Instructions vary based on whether you have a business or personal account.

One Time Credit Card Payment

Use the PayPal Donation option and input the amount you wish to donate. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this option – select “Use a card” to use a debit or credit card. Remember to share your mailing address with us so you can receive our snail mail invitations to events and the printed newsletter, too!

One time credit card payments can also be made in person at the PHW office, 530 Amherst Street, Winchester, Virginia.

Mail in a Check

Download and fill out the membership form and return it with your check to PHW, 530 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA 22601.

Shop Through AmazonSmile

Support PHW when you do your regular shopping on Amazon by using AmazonSmile. There’s no extra cost to you, and you help us at the same time!



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!