Things to Do Online This Weekend and Beyond

We’re sure you may be looking for some activities to get your mind off the current situation. Luckily, many resources are being made available online to help ease your burden. Handley Regional Library has a webpage dedicated to activities for the whole family. If you’re of the historical bent, don’t forget their many local history resources available online (some require a library card and some are open to the general public).

If you are looking for more scholarly reading material, Project MUSE has a list of resources that have been made free to access. One of those publishers is the National Trust for Historic Preservation; the entire catalog of Forum Journals are available. The list of material and publishers may change frequently at Project MUSE, so check back often!

The Library of Virginia has also compiled a blog post of databases you can access digitally. These resources can be accessed at home with a Library of Virginia account. If you are looking for free access materials without an account, check out the blog post A Library Is More Than a Building for even more resources you can access at home.

Open Culture is also a fantastic place to find educational resources so you can learn and hone skills while you are in quarantine. We suggest starting with Use Your Time in Isolation to Learn Everything You’ve Always Wanted To: Free Online Courses, Audio Books, eBooks, Movies, Coloring Books & More and Live Performers Now Streaming Shows, from their Homes to Yours: Neil Young, Coldplay, Broadway Stars, Metropolitan Operas & More to get you started with their offerings.

While museums and other indoor entertainment venues are closed, at least some offer virtual tours. Check out 10 Historic Homes You Can Virtually Tour for worldwide sightseeing. Historic sites operated by Preservation Virginia and other locations in Virginia are available on Encyclopedia Virginia’s website. The Virginia’s Travel Blog site has also compiled a listing of virtual tours. You’re sure to find a new building or place to virtually explore!

Last but not least, if you want some visual entertainment, we have a YouTube channel to recommend. Some of you may remember episodes of About Your House with Bob Yapp. The show was filmed between 1996-2000 and aired on PBS channels. About half of the episodes are now available for anyone to enjoy on YouTube. To get you started, here’s a commonly asked question: repairing plaster walls.

Friday Roundup: Spring Events This Weekend and Beyond

Shamrock

On March 7 from noon to 9 pm, the popular St. Paddy’s Celtic Fest returns to Old Town Winchester (FREE!). There will be a wide variety of live entertainment at seven different locations and along the Loudoun Street Mall (weather permitting). During all scheduled performances, a percentage of the food and drink sales will benefit the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties. The SPCA will also host Celtic activities for children ages 3-12 on the 1840 Courthouse lawn. Other activities and entertainment will take place on the Loudoun Street Mall. The Magic Lantern Theater will show “The Quiet Man” at the Handley Library at 12:30 pm. Click this link for the event schedule and more information.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) and Handley Regional Library’s Stewart Bell, Jr. Archives will host the tenth annual Shenandoah Valley Heritage Day event from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at the MSV. This free event will include two expert-led lectures, door prizes from Ancestry.com, and information tables hosted by ten historical societies and research organizations.

At 10:30 a.m., author and Library of Virginia Exhibitions Coordinator Barbara Batson will present “Where are the Women?” to discuss the challenges and opportunities tracing women’s history. At noon, MSV Curator of Collections Nick Powers and MSV Registrar and Collections Manager Lauren Fleming will talk about preserving and protecting textiles, such as quilts and samplers, and will provide insight into identifying and dating quilts. Both lectures will take place in the Museum’s Reception Hall. Those interested in attending the lectures are encouraged to arrive early as seating is limited and tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will be available at the MSV Visitor Information Desk beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Register by March 10 for Winchester Parks and Recreation’s Apple Blossom Wreath class on Tuesday, March 24 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Make a beautiful wreath in pink and green. Materials provided. For ages 18+. Fee: $35 city residents ($38 non-residents). Register online of call 540-662-4946.

Last, for your reading pleasure, the Washington Post covered the story of an amateur historian’s discovery of a graveyard in Harper’s Ferry, WV. In 1867, a military officer stated that “all the bodies of U.S. soldiers interred at Harpers Ferry” had already been moved to Winchester National Cemetery in Virginia. This forgotten Pine Grove cemetery may hold more Union soldiers that were overlooked, as some elusive archival records refer to co-mingled soldier and civilian interments in this graveyard. A grant for ground penetrating radar to explore the site for remains is one of the next steps planned to determine if bodies are still awaiting identification in the forgotten cemetery.

Mark you calendars for April 3 and 4 for the Limestone Launch and Book Sale for the revised copy of Winchester: Limestone, Sycamores & Architecture. In addition to those books, we will host a small book sale of other new and used books (including copies of Why Old Places Matter) and magazines relevant to local history and architecture. We are still accepting donations for our book sale. If you have books or magazines in good condition to donate, stop by the Hexagon House between now and April. Sandra will be happy to look over your items and see what is suitable for the sale (tax donation forms are available on request).

Around the Internet: Education New and Old

From the Winchester Star comes news of the Douglas School Alumni Memorial Wall. The wall, which is expected to cost about $80,000, will list the names of students and faculty who attended the school. Fundraising efforts for the memorial wall are underway now, and the first benefit event for the Douglas Alumni Memorial Wall will feature the Richmond-based band Soul Expressions. Tickets for the concert, which will be held Feb. 28, 7-11 PM at Handley High School, are available now on EventBrite. For more information on the fundraising efforts, contact Carl Rush at Winchester Public Schools, 540-667-4253 or rushc@wps.k12.va.us.

Digging into the Archives, UVA Library Brings Old Folksong Recordings to Light highlights the story of how nearly 700 songs were preserved from an esoteric early recording format. As part of the preservation grant stipulations, the songs retain the lo-fi imperfections of the original aluminum discs. If you would like to travel back in time to hear these rare records, the collection is available online here at the University of Virginia Library.

Interested in dendrochronology? Why Trees Are the Most Reliable Historians of Early America has photos of both log construction and the coring process accompanying an easy introduction to the topic. Further reading on dendrochronology being used to unravel mysteries of early – or not so early – construction is available at Traditional Building.

You may have spotted the article on the “witch bottle” in the Winchester Star. If you’d like a chance to see the image in higher resolution, Civil War-Era ‘Witch Bottle’ Used to Keep Evil Spirits at Bay Discovered in Virginia has you covered. More information on the dig and the history of Redoubt 9 in the Civil War can be found at William & Mary.

Last, if you are looking for something to do this weekend, all three branches of the Handley Regional Library will be conducting events for Come out of Hibernation Day on Feb. 1. All programs are free and open to the public. Check out the list of activities on their website.

Around the Internet: Learning Through Other’s Experience

Following up from our ice skating edition, one of our members let us know a small ice skating rink was newly installed at Bryce Resort, Bayse, VA. You can find more information on their website if you would like to enjoy ice skating there this season.

We know many of our members love their furry friends, so the Virginia’s Travel Blog has put together Fun With Fido for dog-friendly travel ideas to scenic and historic places around the state.

What if you could do a preservation project over again? The Carlyle House in Alexandria is getting just this sort of examination during a reception, presentation, and panel discussion on May 21, from 6-9 PM. Space is limited and reservations are required. Reservations are $10 per person, with APT-DC members and Friends of Carlyle House members $5/person with code.

The Library of Virginia shares the basic outline and lessons learned from a primary document workshop in a high school setting in Primary Sources Force Students to Analyze the Past and Past Penmanship. As many in the history fields have cautioned, the lack of penmanship education for today’s students is making these primary resources practically a foreign language and will present new challenges for future educators and aspiring historians.

Open Culture has gathered together How to Draw Like an Architect: An Introduction in Six Videos. Brush up on perspective, line thickness, and more to bring your architectural doodles to the next level. There are many other related links in the Open Culture back catalog on drawing, architecture, and much more to explore, as well.

Last but not least is Historic Preservation in Philadelphia: New Tools for an Old City from the National Trust. Regulatory changes and new incentives were introduced to make it more feasible to reuse historic buildings instead of demolishing them after the city hit a record number of demolitions in 2018. Read more about how reduced parking requirements, accessory dwelling units, zoning relief and demolition review in Neighborhood Conservation Districts are expected to reduce the number of demolitions and burdens to adaptive reuse at the National Trust’s blog.

Friday Roundup: Etched Glass, Photos, and Why Old Places Matter

While looking through our Old House Journal collections for indexing this week, we came across the April 1978 edition with a lengthy write up on the history of glass and glass manufacturing and production in Europe and America. Of particular interest may be the section on the etched and rolled glass patterns. The examples in the Old House Journal were taken from the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. The book, written in 1923, is available as a free Google ebook. It is filled with images of behind the scenes production photographs as well as finished products and sample storefronts and is well worth a flip through. The etched and patterned glass samples begin on page 131.

This week, we added 29 documentary photographs of our Revolving Fund files for 804 and 810 Amherst Street (plus a few from South Loudoun) to our Flickr. See the images at the top of the photostream or the end of the Revolving Fund album.

810 Amherst St.
Gable window detail, 810 Amherst St.
Please join us for this free event on October 4 at the Handley Library! The event will take place between 3-5 PM. Look for your mailed invitation in September, or find the event now on Facebook.

We are also extremely pleased to announce the fall book talk and reception we had previously teased. Please join us on Friday, October 4 at 3 PM at the Handley Library for a book talk by Thompson M. Mayes,Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, on his recent book Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018). This special event is free and open to the public.

Thompson M. Mayes

Tom Mayes is Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  He is the author of many articles relating to, and has lectured widely on, preservation easements, shipwreck protection, historic house museums, accessibility, preservation public policy, and the future of historic preservation. For many years, he taught historic preservation law at the University of Maryland. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize in Historic Preservation in 2013, Mr. Mayes is the author of Why Old Places Matter (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018).  Mr. Mayes received his B.A. with honors in History in 1981 and his J.D. in 1985 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Friday Roundup: End of the Year Wrap Ups

PHW will be starting our 55th year in June. Thank you to all who have supported us. Your membership, interest, and engagement in our local community is a huge part of why Winchester has a thriving and active historic downtown. While it is well worth congratulating ourselves on the success we have had in the historic district protecting and valuing our local buildings, we always need to be aware and engaged in activities that will shape the development of our downtown in the future for the next fifty years. We look forward to supporting preservation and adaptive reuse projects, and we are always available to anyone who is looking for resources on collaborative and innovative solutions to development and design issues.

Today may be the last day of Preservation Month, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating our local history and architecture. The annual Clowser Memorial Service is this Saturday, June 1 at 10 AM. Come out to the Clowser House at 152 Tomahawk Trail in Shawneeland for a service open to all individuals who support the preservation of the historic Clowser House. The event will be held rain or shine. Learn more on their Facebook page!

While the school year is coming to an end for most students, you may want to peer back in time to see the growth and value of public education in Winchester and Frederick County. The article What Winchester Is Doing for Its Public Schools ran in the Richmond Times Dispatch on December 3, 1911. It is a copiously illustrated article, so be sure to check out the images of some of the old county schoolhouses!

Peonies cascade over a marble statue on the grounds of Carter Hill Manor.

PHW is also pleased to announce the details of our 55th Annual Meeting. We will be convening at Carter Hill Manor, the home of Linda Ross Gibbs and Tommy Gibbs, 529 Jefferson Street on June 23, beginning at 3 PM. Carter Hill Manor, a Georgian Revival style home of rose brick, is situated on one of Winchester’s highest points. The Jefferson Street address is actually the rear of the home; the front was built to face “The Old Lane,” with a view of the three acres of gardens. We plan to meet outside and enjoy the tranquil setting. In addition to the annual business portion and election of officers, we will also recognize the PHW preservation award winners for 2019. This is a great chance to celebrate local preservation projects and to meet our incoming PHW board members.

Last, mark your calendars for the Godfrey Miller Lecture Series of 2019! All lectures will be held at 7 PM in the Woltz Pavilion, 28 S. Loudoun St., Winchester. Cost is $10 (cash or check) for each evening, collected at the door.  Proceeds benefit programs at the Godfrey Miller Historic Home and Fellowship Center.  Door prizes will be given away each evening. For more information, visit https://www.winchesterva.gov/275th-anniversary

  • July 16 — 1700s in Winchester – Tom Maccubbin on early business life in Winchester through ledgers; Gene Fisher on history of the Godfrey Miller Home
  • July 18 — 1800s in Winchester – Rebecca Ebert on life before the War Between the States; Keven Walker on life during and after the war
  • July 23 — 1900s in Winchester – Trish Ridgeway on benefactors to the area; Judy Humbert on integration in the second half of the century
  • July 25 — 2000s in Winchester – Kris Tierney, Frederick County administrator, and Eden Freeman, Winchester city manager, on the present state of the area and future goals

Friday Roundup: Memorial Day Weekend

Hexagon House Sign
Found! This sign was on the Hexagon House in the mid to late 1980s. We’ve spoken with more than one person who remembers having their portraits taken on the Hexagon House staircase with Cookie and Larry Sullivan, so we were delighted to find this little bit of history tucked behind some boards.

First, the PHW office will be closed on Monday, May 27. We hope you all have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

Second, we are closing in on the end of PHW’s fiscal year on May 31. If you haven’t renewed your membership from the 2018-2019 fiscal year or want to make a donation, you can still send in a check to 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601. We also have two online credit card options. If you want to make a one-time payment or donation, we recommend the donation option. If you’d prefer to have yearly renewals set up automatically, you can select your membership level from the drop down menu on the Subscription option.

Third, if you have noticed a preservation project that deserves recognition in Winchester or Frederick County at PHW’s Annual Meeting, fill out a nomination form and let us know! For best consideration for a 2019 award, please return nominations by May 31. You don’t need to have all the information, but as much as you can provide will be helpful. Winners will be recognized at the 55th Annual Meeting on June 23.

If you know or have children in the 10-14 year age range and you need some ideas for summer activities in July, check out “Expedition Winchester.” This summer camp is themed around Winchester’s 275th anniversary and has a fantastic slate of programs, sites, and activities. Week 1 (beginning of Winchester through late 19th century) runs from July 8-12, and week 2 (late 19th century Winchester to today) runs July 15-19. Both camps are held between 9 AM and 3 PM. Each week is $55, or you can register for both weeks for just $100. Spots are still available as of May 23, but make sure you register by June 12! Go to https://webtrac.winchesterva.gov, click on “Special Events and Trips,” and you should see the options for Expedition Winchester.

Last, we found another history account of Winchester in the August 1, 1900 edition of Musical Million this week. While we spotted a few factual errors, there were also some tidbits we had not seen before. You may read the article “The City of Winchester and its Historic Associations” on Virginia Chronicle.

Friday Roundup: Easter Edition

While the PHW office is closed for the holiday, we still have a few bits of reading for you to enjoy over your weekend.

Are you wondering what historic preservationists do? Jeremy Wells created a short document detailing his findings of what career paths historic preservation training might lead to. If you are curious about working at a place like PHW, staff here would have to be versed in every one of his points as we are often the first line of contact on a variety of topics, but we work most with the “regulatory compliance” and “historic site” categories. While working as a single staff-person is challenging, it can also be incredibly rewarding if you enjoy learning new skills to expand your resume. You can also check out the blog post at the National Trust and the continuing discussion on the Forum for other perspectives on working in this field. Several comments point out how student interns are often looking for research opportunities. If you are a student looking to get experience typical of historic preservation fields in a self-directed format, PHW may be a great option for you. We would love more in-depth deed/will/tax record research for some of our historic district properties. While hunting down a chain of owners might seem inconsequential when you are in the midst of it, putting the chain together has helped countless people who needed a starting point for future research. Keep that in mind if you are a student needing some hours and wanting a nice point on future resumes!

While looking into the history of the John Mann Church on East Cork Street, we found a small article from 1914 on the parsonage, called “Pastor Too Tall for Parsonage.” We’re not sure from this little article if they were able to raise the roof 313 South Kent Street for their pastor, but if so, finding an article like this is a nice historic documentation of a change to the building and the reasoning behind it.

In many of the discussions around new construction in the historic district, we’ve seen a trend towards “all or nothing” thinking, with no medium option on the table. If you’re wondering why, you might be interested in “The Death of the Suburban Fourplex” at Strong Towns. While it focuses on Michigan, it is a great overview of how the fourplex (a building constructed to resemble a suburban split level but with four housing units) rose to prominence, became loathed, and were zoned out of existence.

Last, and most important, there are some proposed changes to the National Register process that are extremely troubling. In essence, large landowners input would be weighted more heavily than individual property owners, federal agencies would have unprecedented “pocket veto” powers on nominations, and Section 106 review would be stripped from certain properties. We suggest reading “Dire Consequences for the National Register,” “Proposed Rule Changes to National Register of Historic Places Nominations,” and “Proposed Regulations on the Listing of Properties in the National Register of Historic Places” and making comments on the proposal before April 30. Several of the links will take you directly to forms where you can submit comments online or provide the address for physical letters to be delivered. Most of our larger success stories of preservation in Winchester are because we have a National Register Historic District which enables the use of historic tax credits to make otherwise impossible preservation tasks attainable, like the George Washington Hotel and the Lewis Jones Knitting Mill. Millbank in Frederick County was spared from demolition in the 1980s in part because of the Section 106 review for mitigation on the Third Battle of Winchester. The original 1980 historic district listing also helped avert a potential insurance crisis for the Old Town area, thanks to the exemptions historic recognition can provide for historically flood-prone properties. We are also extremely troubled at the potential impacts on nominations for tribal lands. While we recognize this is not a likely impact for our area, you can find examples of how such proposed changes will produce a negative impact at Living Landscape Observer. Again, we hope that you will review the proposed changes and submit your comments before April 30.

Friday Roundup: Email Penitentiary Edition

Happy Friday! We had a not terribly funny April Fool’s Day issue this week with the website. As you may have seen, our website was offline for over 24 hours. After checking in with our provider, the issue was someone using the server where PHW’s website resides for spam emails. While our website is back up, our mailing list may not be functional yet because of someone else being inconsiderate. With that in mind, we will have to keep the topics rather broad this week – no time sensitive events. If you receive this email weeks into the future and have no idea why its so late, now you know.

We had a tip this week that Pizzoco Pizza in the former Conoco gas station at 501 North Loudoun Street had their soft opening the end of March. If you enjoy staring at pictures of food while stuck at work, check them out at their website, Facebook, and Instagram. We are so excited to see this formerly vacant building be given a new lease on life, especially after so many people seemed to think the building was hopelessly obsolete. Historic buildings are the perfect incubators for small businesses and creative solutions.

For some more reading, we came across an article on General Daniel Morgan written about ninety years after his death and thought others may like to see the historic perspective on his life in the area in the 1890s. Much of it may be familiar to you, but if you would like to peer back through time, you can find the story in Our Church Paper (Evangelical Lutheran Church paper for New Market and Shenandoah County), March 17, 1897 on page 4. It took a while longer than the author of this article likely could have anticipated, but at long last we do have a monument to Daniel Morgan near the site of his first interment, and the children of Winchester will learn his name through attending Daniel Morgan Middle School.

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.