Friday Roundup: The Green Book

Cover of the 1940 edition, via Wikimedia Commons.

From the National Trust comes a timely tie-in to African American History MonthThe Green Book. This guide was aimed at providing tourism guidance to African-Americans, directing travelers to restaurants, hotels, and leisure spots that would serve them between 1936-1967. Read more and watch the video on the National Trust’s site, and you can catch the debut of the documentary mentioned in the video on February 25 on the Smithsonian Channel.

As mentioned in the video interview, the directories themselves have been digitized and made freely available online at the New York Public Library. As you might guess, Winchester has a few entries, both familiar to us and new – the 1947 book includes the staples of Ruth’s Tea Room on Cecil St. and Hotel Evans on Sharp St., but also a tourist home operated by Mrs. Joe Willis on North Loudoun (no address given), and the Dunbar Tea Room and Tourist Home at 21 W. Hart (now demolished; two other photos are available from us on Flickr shortly before the building came down). We have not looked through all of the available books to check Winchester’s entries, so let us know if you find something intriguing.

Friday Roundup: Anniversaries, Events, and More

Winchester celebrates 275 years!
Winchester celebrates 275 years!

PHW was in attendance for the kickoff press conference on Winchester’s 275th Anniversary on Wednesday. As you know, we are working on touching up the Limestone, Sycamores & Architecture book for reprinting this year as part of the celebration, as well as chipping in with a few other things along the way (probably involving some big event we usually have in December…). There will be many great activities through the year, so keep an eye on the website – there is sure to be more to come!

Next week is Valentine’s Day, but for us at PHW, it is also our birthday! PHW will be turning the big 55. You might want to revisit our 50th anniversary history of PHW blog posts, which are collected here. As we concluded five years ago, “we feel we still serve an important role in the community and fill a much wanted and needed niche of providing information about historic preservation and architecture. We plan to serve the community for another fifty years. Thank you for your support and interest in PHW – we could not exist without you! “

The French and Indian War Foundation is celebrating George Washington’s 287th birthday on Friday, February 22 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Half Note Lounge in the George Washington Hotel, 103 E. Piccadilly St. The event is free and everyone is welcome to attend. Delegate Chris Collins will speak at 6:30 PM. There will be a cash bar and appetizers by Chef Marvin at $20 a plate. You can find the event listing on their website for more information.

In more business related news, Preservation Virginia is keeping tabs on items moving through Virginia’s House and Senate. You may want to drop by their website and sign up for their email newsletter to stay informed. The main concern is watching the historic tax credit (likely to be capped at $5 million, but according to Preservation Virginia this previously implemented change was not a significant blow to preservation efforts) but historic African American cemetery funding, war memorials, agritourism, and land conservation are all topics being watched by Preservation Virginia.

On the Trail of James W. Burgess

Many of you who have visited the Hexagon House might recognize that name – James W. Burgess is the man who built the Hexagon House. He has always been something of an enigma, made more difficult to research by his name being fairly common and some inaccurate reporting in T. K. Cartmell’s history providing false family connections and leading us to think he was older than he was. It has taken a long time, but with the new records available digitally, much patience and a little frustration, we can shed at least a bit more light on this man and clear up a few inaccuracies we had previously reported and perhaps get this information out to Burgess family descendants for more information.

James W. Burgess was born about 1826 in Virginia. It appears that the family moved to Ohio while he was young, but returned to Virginia sometime between the 1850 and 1860 census. James married Sarah C. Harrison probably in the early 1860s and lived with his wife’s parents George and Elizabeth Harrison, as well as what we believe to be James’s sister Emma and mother Catherine J. Burgess. James and Sarah also had an infant son, William H. At the time of the 1860 census, James’s profession was listed as milling, which concurs with the Harrison family profession. In the 1850 census, he had been listed as a carpenter.

James W. Burgess purchased two adjoining parcels of land on what is now Amherst Street, one in 1867 and one in 1869, from land that had formerly belong to Hawthorne, amounting to about 4.5 acres. The Winchester Journal of January 29, 1869 says, “Mr. James W. Burgess is preparing to erect a fine house on his lot, near the town spring. He has the advantage of an elevated and beautiful situation, and will doubtless improve is so as to make it in every way desirable.” This house was, of course, the Hexagon House.

We now believe he started his furniture business in Winchester in January of 1869. While we’ve referred to him as a furniture maker or casket dealer, it seems more likely that from 1869-73 he opened his own branch of a Hagerstown business. As we suspected, his store now is confirmed to have been located “on the north side of Piccadilly, between Main and Market Streets in the building occupied by Burgess & Co. Real Estate Agents.” This also confirms the suspicions aroused by the number of times James W. Burgess has been found in deed searches shortly before and after the Civil War to the early 1870s. At this point the exact location of the furniture store and real estate office is not known, but the actual building is likely demolished and may be in the area where the Bank of Clarke County sits or an adjacent lot.

We know the family was here from the 1860s through at least 1873 or 1874, when the Panic of 1873 had made the family’s fortunes decline and the Hexagon House go up for sale and then into foreclosure. By the 1880 census, they had relocated to Ironton, Ohio, and had three sons: Frank M., George S., and Eddy M. Burgess. It appears the one year old son they had in the 1860 census had passed away; it is unknown at this time whether there were other children born between William and Frank. James, about 54 at the time of the census, was selling sewing machines, which helps explain our belief he may have been a tailor (more likely he was in the wholesale business again, like his furniture in Winchester.) His older sons were employed as a telegrapher and a bookkeeper, while the youngest was still in school. Despite his relatively young age, James passed away in 1882 in Ironton, and his death was reported locally – but only tersely – in early March. To date, we have not been able to locate his grave or a fuller obituary to obtain more details, though it seems likely he is buried in Ironton, perhaps in Woodland Cemetery, and likely died in later February to very early March of 1882. We have been unable to locate Sarah, Frank, or Eddy with any certainty in future census or grave records.

If you know more about the James W. Burgess and the family described here, please let us know any more details at 540-667-3577 or We have long wondered why or how James chose to build a hexagonal house and what his life was like before and after his time in Winchester. Family portraits or photographs are also something that, so far, we have not found but would love to include in our tours of the Hexagon House.

Cautionary words for future researchers: As unbelievable as it may seem, there are multiple James W. Burgess of roughly the same age and in the broad geographic areas. Because of this, we are uncertain at this point whether or not “our” Burgess is one of the multiple James Burgesses who are found in Virginia Civil War soldier records. The Captain James B. Burgess that Cartmell states in his history was James W.’s son is inaccurate; his 1907 obituary states his parents as Abra(ha)m and Sarah (McCleave) Burgess. This separate family line has been much more thoroughly documented. It appears Abraham was a brother to the James H. Burgess noted as living in a “suburban home” on the east side of Winchester in Cartmell’s history. We believe James W.’s father may be William S(immons) Burgess, a brother of James H. Burgess, so the lines are related but this branch does not appear to have been documented.

Friday Roundup: Old Hospital Development and Further Reading

Warren Heritage Society is announcing new hours and rates for 2019. They are actively seeking volunteers to help with their new Saturday hours – contact them if you can help!

We know a number of our members and readers are following the development at the old Winchester Memorial Hospital site on Cork Street. From the Winchester Cit-E News from January 23, ” After much discussion, Council decided to table the item until the February 12th Work Session in order to allow Council more time to gather additional information from the applicant and to review public feedback.” You can find the documents relating to the application starting on page 94 of the agenda packet for January 22. There is much to read and digest here, but we recommend reading through the neighborhood concerns and worries to gather a fuller understanding of the issue prior to the February 12 meeting.

While the Old Hospital property is outside of the HW zoning overlay that falls under BAR purview, it is in our Winchester National Register Historic District expansion in 2015. Readers may wish to refer to the following publications for more insight on compatible new construction in historic areas:
New Construction within the Boundaries of Historic Properties
New Additions to Historic Buildings
Regulating New Construction in Historic Districts
Historic Districts: Preserving the Old with the Compatible New
Can Modern Architecture and Historic Preservation be Reconciled? The Definition and Application of “Compatible” as used in the DC Historic Preservation Act
And should anyone be looking for one of the essays printed in Old & New Architecture: Design Relationship printed by the National Trust, PHW has a copy of the book available in our office library.
Last but not least, we have pulled the PHW file on the 1990 rezoning of the Old Hospital site and we are happy to provide copies of our statements to researchers.

Looking to expand your historic image and content searches for Virginia and West Virginia? The Digital Public Library of America has a new hub service Digital Virginias, with more than 58,000 items from the University of Virginia, George Mason University, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia University. A quick search for Winchester in this subset turned up not just photographs, but also a wealth of medical records for West Virginia soldiers treated in Winchester and telegraphs exchanged during the Civil War. You might want to take a look at some of the school images from the University of Virginia Library in particular; they seem to show the original John Kerr School classroom in 1921. Let us know if you find something intriguing!

Friday Roundup: Magazines, Editing, Grants, and House Tour and Shop

First, are you looking for some new reading material? Through January 31, 2019, AmazonSmile will donate 15% the purchase price of new print magazine subscriptions to the charity of your choice. Visit for details. Check it out and select PHW as your charity to give us a little boost at no extra cost to you!

Second, we are zipping along on the Limestone book faster than anticipated. We will probably have the first chapter ready for the proofing team the week of January 21. Let us know if you would like to join the editing team at or 540-667-3577. Copies of the previous Limestone book can be provided to volunteer editors for text and image comparisons.

Third, are you looking to expand your grant writing skills in 2019? The Foundant for GrantSeekers is sponsoring a free webinar “Planning Your Own Pathway to Grant Guru” on Thursday, January 31, 12pm Eastern. Learn more and register here. Related, you may also want to check out the recent Q&A post at the National Trust for their various grant programs. You can also find a link to the recording of the recent webinar that served as the catalyst for this round of questions.

Fourth, we are working behind the scenes for Holiday House Tour 2019 (tentative dates Dec. 7 & 8, 2019). This year’s event will coincide with the 275th anniversary of Winchester, and we are hoping to find houses to open from each century to showcase Winchester’s variety of architectural expression and history. We have two possibilities for homes from the 1790s and 1890s in the West Cork and Clifford neighborhood. If you have a home or building that is near this area, especially if you are in a home from the early 1900s through the current day, please let us know at 540-667-3577 or Our preference is for buildings within relatively easy walking distance, so a neighborhood we have never visited like Lee, Stonewall, Joist Hite, Shirley, etc. could be a possibility. We have readers and members in this area, so if you or someone you know might be interested in opening your building for tours, speak up!

Of course, we are also working on Bough and Dough 2019. We had overwhelmingly positive feedback for the changes in 2018. We are in the process now of dotting i’s and crossing t’s for an expanded format with a tentative date range of Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, to be held again at the Hexagon House. We hope to have our application and information forms together in early February, and we will be sure to post here and on our website when those are live. If you are an artist hoping to jump in this year, our feedback indicated shoppers would like more pottery, ornaments, jewelry, and food items like fruit cake and mulled cider spices. We have discussed food trucks and artist demonstrations/workshops but logistics for these may be tricky (especially indoor setup). We will most likely have a few open house days again this spring and summer for prospective artists to stop in and see the space and planned setup to determine if we’d be a good fit. Keep an eye out!

Friday Roundup: Links, Updates, and More

Friday Roundup

A few times a year, we receive a question about insuring a historic building. This discussion recently came up on the National Trust’s online forum as well, and many community members shared strategies for talking to an insurance agent or some lesser known insurance agencies that are equipped to handle these special cases. Visit the Forum Connect discussion on insuring historic properties to see if this can help point you in the right direction for getting the appropriate insurance for your property.

We have been scanning away at the office, but this time it’s not for Friday Photos – instead we are working on the Limestone book reprint. However, you might want to pop over to our Flickr and check out the new Unidentified and Miscellaneous album. These are the odds and ends that were hanging around – let us know if you recognize any of the unidentified pictures!

Speaking of the Limestone book, we are still open to anyone who wants to be on the proofreading team. Drop us a line at 540-667-3577 or We will be starting proofreading, fact checking, and potentially some image replacements chapter by chapter in late January the end of March. We can send files to you digitally, so you do not need to attend in-person meetings or work on a strict time schedule. Familiarity with the original book is not needed but may be helpful.

In other behind the scenes news at PHW, we are finally getting a filing system in place for our Frederick County architecture files. While most of our research files are based in the Winchester Historic District and easily filed by street and house number, we do have some files for interesting and important places in Frederick County. Most of those files, however, are only known by the closest intersection, community, a family name, or a building name – a much trickier task than street names when designing usability for future researchers and file expansion. As a starting point, we have set up our Frederick County files by magisterial districts and precincts. While the collection is small at the moment (about one banker box) we are looking forward to seeing this collection grow.

Friday Roundup: Curated Reading

Friday Roundup

We didn’t get to do too much exploration of our news feed over November and December, so it was a pleasant relief to find many of our favorite sites compiled “best of 2018” stories to browse. Here’s a small sampling of things we enjoyed reading over the past week.

What’s Up with All Those Empty Commercial Storefronts in New Mixed-Use Developments?
Rachel Quednau applies what is happening in Milwaukee with mixed-use development and takes a quick look at some other locations facing the same issues. Be sure to read to the end for examples from locations that are thinking outside the cookie-cutter box to provide storefronts that are reasonable for small businesses to rent and thrive.

Fifteen Opportunity Zone Resources Available Right Now
The National Trust for Historic Preservation rounds up what we know so far about Opportunity Zones and how they impact historic preservation. They will be hosting a webinar on January 17, so be sure to click through to the article and find out how to sign up.

11,000 Digitized Books From 1923 Are Now Available Online at the Internet Archive
Researchers rejoice! Open Culture reports on the watershed of art, literature, photography, and more entering public domain for the first time in twenty years. If you’d like a little more background on the topic, also check out For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain at

Baumgartner Restoration YouTube channel
Not quite in the normal historic preservation wheelhouse but certainly an adjacent field is art conservation. If you would like to watch and listen to art conservation, there are a number of channels dedicated to this fine art. We especially enjoyed the narrated conservation of an especially challenging painting, “The Assassination of Archimedes.”

We know people are also probably very curious about Holiday House Tour. We estimate about 300 people enjoyed the event despite the rainy Saturday. The new format for the Bough and Dough Shop was also a success, finally surpassing the all time high sales numbers reached in 2000. This was the year the Shop was set up at the former location of the A&P grocery store, 525 Amherst St., and boasted over 35 vendors. That year was by far the largest space and the most vendors the Shop ever had in its 40+ year history, so topping that figure is truly a benchmark moment for us. We would like to extend our thanks to all our guests, homeowners, volunteers, artisan vendors, and sponsors who helped us make our holiday fundraising a success. We literally could not do it without all of you. We will be going through our internal debriefing on January 14, so if you have not turned in feedback yet, there’s still time! You can find the Shop survey and the Tour survey on SurveyMonkey.

Friday Photos: Bough & Dough Shop 2018

Happy Friday! For our last post of 2018, we are happy to share 180 photos taken during the Bough and Dough Shop at the Hexagon House. You may have seen a number of these on Facebook throughout the event as we posted updates and new arrivals, but about half were taken for our internal documentation on the setup to keep in mind for next year. You can now find them all in one place at the Bough and Dough Shop 2018 album on Flickr. (Fair warning, the sweet treats from Homestead Farm are at the top of the album…viewing on an empty stomach might make you hungry!)

This update is an extra special treat for us, as it put us over the 10,000 public images mark. It is amazing to think we have this many images in our collection alone, and we are extremely grateful to Flickr for helping us continue to share our digitized images as we have for the past five years. You can drop by our Flickr photostream to view all our online collections to date. Happy viewing!

Bough & Dough Shop 2018

Merry Christmas from PHW!

Since this is our last Friday blog before Christmas, we want to wish you a happy holiday. It has been a year of ups and downs, but we are happy to report we ended the year on a positive note with the early feedback from the Holiday House Tour and Bough and Dough Shop. If you are looking for a last minute gift or two from our 2018 lineup of Bough and Dough Shop artists, we still have those with a website or Etsy store listed on our Featured Artisans page. The artists would be delighted to hear from you – let them know you found them through the Bough and Dough Shop, too! The page will likely stay up as-is until the summer or fall of 2019 as we begin to nail down the next artist lineup.

We also still have the two feedback surveys open, the Shop and Artisan specific survey and the Holiday House Tour and Shop survey. Remember to be specific in your written comments, particularly in asking for types of items you would like to see at the Shop in 2019 (i.e., instead of saying “jewelry,” let us know what type of jewelry – metalworking, polymer clay, beaded, etc.). We will be reviewing the feedback in January of 2019.

As always, the invitation for you to join the Holiday House Tour 2019 team stands so you can make the event more of what you want to see. The drastic improvement to the Shop in 2018 was due entirely to rethinking event from the ground up by one person from January to August after watching the process for two to three years. The same can absolutely be done for the Tour itself from anyone familiar with its goals and ambitions. We strongly encourage anyone who feels that the House Tour is not meeting their expectations to take your written feedback a step further and give back to this community tradition through action. Make this your New Year’s Resolution, become involved as one of the volunteer leaders, and make the Holiday House Tour your dream event. Doing so will probably even give you more personal benefits than just producing a better event.

You may leave your information as a volunteer by stating specifically you want to take on improving some specific part (some feedback included allusions to writing and submitting press releases, running an Instagram, being a house decorator to make sure it meets your level of “festive,” etc. – all are very welcome tasks for volunteer leaders) for the Holiday House Tour at, by phone at 540-667-3577, or by snail mail addressed to PHW, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601. You do not need to be a member of PHW or join the board of directors to be a volunteer leader, but attending meetings to make reports, take suggestions, and give directions to PHW staff is critical, particularly in the final preparation stages of September-November.

And just for fun, you might relive your childhood a bit with a short YouTube video of Andy Davis at the Johnson County Museum exploring aluminum Christmas trees in the era of America’s space race and futuristic fascination. We hope you were able to experience one in person if you went to the Patsy Cline Historic House during the Holiday House Tour weekend. While they may be a kitschy throwback, they remain highly evocative of the late 1950s to 1960s holidays. While they don’t work for all homes, if you have a “newly historic” home from the 1960s, you might want to think about trying an aluminum tree for some properly retro vibes!

Holiday House Tour and Bough and Dough Shop Feedback


We are almost back to normal at PHW after the Holiday House Tour and Bough and Dough Shop. Along with the end of the event come feedback surveys. If you only visited the Shop, please take the survey specific to the Shop and artisan vendors. If you partook in the Holiday House Tour and Shop this year, please take the slightly longer Holiday House Tour feedback survey.

We will review your feedback from both surveys in our wrap up meeting and initial planning for the House Tour in January 2019. Thank you for your honest feedback!