Celebrate National Preservation Month in May

As hard as it is to believe, May is almost upon us. The month is special to preservationists, as we take time to celebrate National Preservation Month. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation wrote a brief history of the event, which started as a week-long celebration in 1972 and has since expanded into a full month. Many organizations, like PHW, time their awards and recognition of endangered and preserved properties to coincide with the national event.

While it may be harder to get out and enjoy the fruits of historic preservation this year, you can explore the 31 ways the National Trust invited anyone to celebrate last year. Many are still doable, even with social distancing. If you take the list as a challenge, let us know about your adventures on our Facebook page!

Although it may be late notice, if you have wanted a Winchester historic building plaque, May is traditionally the time those applications are reviewed by the Board of Architectural Review. You can find the guidelines and form online at the City’s website. If you need some help locating history on your building, feel free to contact the PHW office at phwinc.org@gmail.com and we can email copies of digital material to you for your application (or just for your records).

If you have been out and about walking during quarantine, you might have the perfect eyes on the street to nominate projects for a 2020 PHW preservation award. You can find the form online at the PHW website. You can find the list of past people and projects that received recognition on our award page. If you can think of a person or project worthy of recognition this year, let us know as many details as you can and the PHW committee will do the rest!

Friday Photos: Bough and Dough Shop, Clowser House Painting, and Baker Street Mural

Happy Friday! While uncertainty abounds for our Holiday House Tour and Bough and Dough Shop for 2020, we wanted to share images of the 2019 shop to potential and returning vendors. We will be contacting past vendors soon with our tentative plans to host the Shop in 2020. If you are interested in joining the Shop as a new artist, please reach out to us at PHW at phwinc.org@gmail.com for an artist packet. You can find a selection of 113 images of the shop setup in 2019 at our Flickr album.

The Very Merry Mittens display in the Bough and Dough Shop, 2019.

Larry Webb also shared images of work taking place at the Clowser House in Shawneeland recently. The pictures show the beginning the exterior painting by removing the old shutters. A new front door and new shutters for all the windows will be installed once the house is painted. George Sobien, the Property and Preservation Committee Chairman, is pictured performing the work. View the nine images at the end of the Clowser House album at Flickr.

Painting at the Clowser House, April 2020.

Last, in preservation news, the public hearing for additional demolition requests around the former Winchester Towers site and the former Glaize Lumber yard and Baker warehouses was approved at Thursday’s Board of Architectural Review. In a glimmer of hope, however, a portion of the wall with the ghost signs for Baker and Co. Wholesale Groceries may be incorporated into the final project. No details on exactly how the former advertising may be incorporated were available at the meeting yesterday, but we hope to see them in future BAR applications. If you like the look of ghost signs and wish to learn and see more, visit the American Ghosts website, which has catalogued and photographed unusual and iconic signs around America. The Baker Street wall is included in the database.

Baker Street
This portion of the wall on Baker Street may be preserved and incorporated elsewhere in the project for the former Winchester Towers site.

Friday Roundup: History and Preservation News

The new state historical highway marker for Spottswood Poles, announced in March, has been installed in the 500 block of North Kent Street near where he lived. Poles was an outstanding player who was born before a time when his achievements could be more widely remembered. You can read a brief article on his career and life at the Society for American Baseball Research and check the Winchester Star article for more details on the new marker.

If you are feeling a bit disconnected from our local tourist spots, local 360 degree tours may help fill in the gap. The Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center has been posting videos on their Facebook page of local tourism spots like Bell Grove Plantation and Blandy Experimental Farm. If you’re feeling a bit shut in, you might enjoy a walk along rows of blooming peaches taken about two weeks ago:

Same video as a moment ago, just in full beautiful HD this time :)

Posted by Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau on Friday, March 27, 2020

The Shenandoahvalleytv Youtube channel also offers looks at Apple Blossom time, Belle Grove Plantation, Patsy Cline exhibits, and many other events, museums, and activities in our area. Check out their quick (one minute and change) video on Route 11 potato chips if you aren’t feeling too fried!

Are you looking for more interesting images of Winchester’s past? we found a collection of images primarily of a horse and pony show, listed as happening in Winchester, that were taken for a Life magazine article by Edward Clark in Google Arts and Culture section. While we have not found the accompanying article, we’d be interested in sharing it in the future to put more context to the images – if you have any leads on the story this may have appeared in, please let us know!

Friday Roundup: Preservation News

Do you follow us on Facebook? While we are in quarantine mode, we have been posting a link a day to small content, articles, and virtual tours that don’t make sense for a full blog post. If you find anything in your own online travels that would be interesting to share, send a link via email to phwinc.org@gmail.com. We will likely feature it in a future post here or on Facebook.

In preservation news around the state, the Jefferson Pools are soon to be rehabilitated, although it will take longer than the initial projections. As stated in the article, “Virginia has a storied history surrounding its hot-spring resorts, which attracted people seeking health and relaxation. Few structures survive, however, and it looked as if Virginia might lose two more, which were said to be at risk of collapse.” Instead the two bathhouses have been painstakingly documented and their appearance will be reverted to circa 1925.

Matthew Meltzer has compiled the most endangered building in every state. Virginia’s listing is the Carr-Greer Farmhouse in Ivy Creek. If you’re curious to learn more and help save this landmark, visit the Ivy Creek Foundation’s website.

Diana Schwartz penned Monuments to yesteryear: Restoring downtown Danville buildings adds value, money for the entire community. The points she brings up are familiar to anyone working with historic buildings. One section that stood out was: “A great example of this is the story of a developer who long ago flew into Danville to meet with city leaders about a potential economic development project, and along the way decided to drive though the downtown . . . . At that time downtown Danville was mostly desolate, abandoned and in terrible disrepair. He saw broken sidewalks blocked off in sections due to disintegration of some of the building facades. Without hesitation, he turned around and left without even showing up to the meeting. Afterward, when asked why he left, the developer explained that he was not interested in making an investment into a community that did not invest in itself.

The Strong Towns discussion with Ben Stevens: Every Building is a Startup is a helpful reminder not to over-correct in cases like Danville. Towns are more resilient than many people give them credit, and slower, smaller changes do make a difference in revitalizing and honoring the past and future of a place. Winchester was fortunate to head off the sense of desolation and abandonment downtown when it began to occur in the 1970s. While the current crisis may be impacting our historic downtown in ways unexpected and unfamiliar to historic preservationists, we hope you will continue to believe in and invest in our historic buildings and niche businesses and restaurants during and after the pandemic.

If you are involved in an organization in need of funding for a preservation project, you may wish to check out the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program. The goal of the program is to support subgrant programs that enable the rehabilitation of rural historic properties at the national, state, and local level of significance and rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development of rural communities. States, Tribes, Certified Local Governments, and non-profits are eligible. The deadline for applications is April 21, 2020.

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.

PHW’s Spring Update and Virtual Limestone Launch

Spring is just around the corner, and so Preservation of Historic Winchester draws closer to the end of another year. We usually take this time to let our current members know what we accomplished last year and invite you to renew your membership. This year, we are reaching out to all our members and social media followers to let you know some important news.

Last year was filled with high points like the 275th anniversary of the founding of Winchester activities, the republication of Winchester: Limestone, Sycamores & Architecture, and the presentation by Tom Mayes of Why Old Places Matter. The end of 2019 was capped by the Holiday House Tour and the Bough and Dough Shop, both successful fundraisers and educational programs.

At the same time, the year was marred by losses of buildings in the Historic District and to our own membership. All those who passed will be sorely missed, but perhaps none as much for the day to day operations of PHW as Sherry Bosley. After essentially acting as a volunteer secretary for the past fourteen years, the hole she left is still being felt. To honor her legacy of willingness to learn and humble yet unwavering work ethic, the PHW board approved a scholarship for local students bearing her name.

While we hope you will renew your membership, we also hope you will be generous enough to add a few extra dollars to the scholarship fund. We are currently just over $2,000 of an initial $10,000 funding goal. Our aim is to encourage students who have a passion for historic preservation who can continue the memory of Sherry Bosley and the goals of PHW.

While we may need to curtail in-person activities for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus restrictions, we invite you to follow our weekly updates on social media for further programming changes or updates. The PHW office will be open by appointment only for the foreseeable future in keeping with the arts and historic preservation community response.

The much anticipated Limestone book launch party on April 3 and 4 was one of the casualties of the coronavirus restrictions. In an effort to make the book accessible, it is now available for purchase on PHW’s website. Orders will be shipped in as timely a manner as possible.

Thank you for continuing your support of PHW as we live through a period of change and uncertainty. We will do our best to continue supporting our members, the community, and the city.

Around the Internet: Historic Education and Volunteer Opportunities

March is Women’s History Month. We know many groups are exploring the suffrage movement this year, and with that in mind, you may wish to check out “Let Our Vote Be Cast:” African American Women and the Suffrage Movement in Virginia and Fighting the Long Fight: West Virginia Women and the Right to Vote. Colonial Williamsburg is also hosting a bevy of programming for March, which can be found on their website. For more general topics related to women’s history, the National Trust has put together a page of Distinctive Destinations: Women’s Heritage sites across the country.

The Virginia Museum of the Civil War will present a History Day program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 28 at 8895 George Collins Parkway, New Market. This event is open to families seeking a day of fun, exploration and learning for hands-on activities for all ages such as joining the army and learning to drill, dancing the Virginia Reel, have fun with 19th-century games and crafts, watch the Emmy Award-winning film “Field of Lost Shoes,” take a guided tour through the battlefield, learn 19th-century cooking techniques, visit displays from local history and ecology organizations, enjoy lunch and home-baked goodies from the food booth. Registration is $5 per person for ages 6 and older and required before March 20. Call 866-515-1864 or visit the website.

In Richmond, you can experience some of the finest ornamental ironwork in the state. If the article piques your curiosity, check the Vintage Virginia website to see if a tour will coincide to your next visit to Richmond, or just enjoy more photos of the finely-crafted wrought iron in our state’s capitol. You can also see more photos inspired by the book Cast and Wrought – The Architectural Metalwork of Richmond, Virginia: in this blog, or purchase a copy from Amazon. (Don’t forget to use AmazonSmile and make PHW your charity of choice if you’d like to help us out a bit, too!)

The American Battlefield Trust is once again organizing Park Day across the nation on April 4. As stated on their website, “Since 1996, the American Battlefield Trust has sponsored Park Day, an annual hands-on preservation event to help Civil War — and now Revolutionary War & War of 1812 — battlefields and historic sites take on maintenance projects large and small. Activities are chosen by each participating site to meet their own particular needs and can range from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and buildings trails.” Visit the site to find volunteer opportunities near you!

For our West Virginia members, the Old Opera House Theatre Guild, a volunteer organization essential to running the historic theater in Charles Town, WV, is now offering night meetings for those who cannot attend the standard lunchtime meetings. These nightly meetings will alternate with the luncheons. The first night meeting was held March 12 in the Old Opera House Theatre, 204 N. George St., Charles Town, WV. If you are interested in volunteering, you may want to watch the Guild’s Facebook page for information.

Friday Roundup: Spring Events This Weekend and Beyond


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).

Friday Roundup: Books and Events

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement. To commemorate the event, Arcadia Publishing has released The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia by Brent Tarter, Marianne E. Julienne and Barbara C. Batson. The book reveals how women created two statewide organizations to win the right to vote. At last their overlooked contributions to the movement can be recognized. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, you can find it on the publisher’s website or on Amazon. Remember to log in with AmazonSmile if you purchase on Amazon to give a little back to the charity of your choice!

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Garden Club of Virginia. To celebrate the anniversary, the GCV is hosting a number of programs, exhibits, and fundraising activities which can be found at www.gcvirginia.org/centennial/. The Historic Garden Week, the major fundraising event of the club, is held annually across the state. In 2020, look for tours the week of April 18-25. Winchester’s tours will be held April 25. Find more info online at www.vagardenweek.org or Facebook.

Looking for something to do this weekend? The monthly United Way Rubbermaid product sale will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Belk parking lot in Apple Blossom Mall in Winchester. This month’s sale benefits Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging. Information: 540-536-1610 or info@unitedwaynsv.org.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley will host the Heimat Quartet at 3 p.m. Saturday at 901 Amherst St., Winchester. The concert is inspired by the exhibition Things Come Apart. Tickets are $10 or free for MSV members. Information: 540-662-1473 or www.themsv.org.

We are still accepting donation items for our book sale April 3 and 4. If you have books or magazines in good condition to donate as you downsize your collections, 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.

Friday Photos and Events for February Celebrations

Looking for something to do tonight? The French and Indian War Foundation invites you to celebrate George Washington’s 288th birthday with them on Friday, Feb. 21, 5:30-8:30 PM at the Half Note Lounge in the George Washington Hotel, 103 E. Piccadilly St. This free event is open to everyone. A cash bar and appetizers at $20/plate will be available.

Next Wednesday, February 26, the City invites you to the Rouss City Hall Reveal from 4-6 PM to celebrate the recent renovation as well as Charles Broadway Rouss Day. There will be guided tours of the historic building, slideshows of the transformation playing on every level, Q&A with the architects Reader & Swartz, and refreshments. February 11 was Charley Rouss’s birthday. All are invited! Learn more about the event here.

If you missed the President’s Day Muster on Monday, we have you covered! Larry Webb provided photographic coverage of the muster and march. The images are available in PHW’s Flickr account at the top of the photostream or in the album.

President's Day Muster 2020
See more photos by Larry Webb on Flickr.