How to Find Historic Newspaper Articles Online

Around the InternetHappy Friday! We are still deep in the throes of repainting, cleaning, and better organizing our office at the Hexagon House. Instead of us sharing something interesting this week, we want to help you find things that are interesting in your own research projects. Finding unusual historic accounts and articles in newspapers is a goldmine – and a never-ending rabbit hole. Unfortunately, some of the most comprehensive archives are paid subscription only, but for historic accounts, there are still ways to find articles online. If you are researching something a little off the beaten track, here are a few sources where you can start a free newspaper archive search. This can be helpful to find dates for an event you know took place to help narrow down a search range before resorting to paging through microfilm, or to find connections to topics you didn’t know to pursue.

First stop: Chronicling America
The Library of Congress’s historic digitized newspapers collection is a quick barometer on how much information you are likely to find in other online sources. When searching, I often have the best luck with a broad keyword topic, followed by either “Winchester” or “Winchester VA.” In many cases, this will turn up a story from a Winchester newspaper reprinted elsewhere. Commonly, stories have been picked up in Alexandria, Berryville, Charles Town, Richmond, Staunton, Stephens City, Washington D.C., Woodstock, and other nearby localities. Be sure to watch out for other Winchesters when searching – Kentucky is a frequent false hit.

Second stop: Virginia Chronicle
Many of the papers here are duplicated in the Library of Congress holdings, but a few are unique to this collection. Searching here can either turn up the same or nearly identical articles, but on occasion new or more in-depth accounts can be found. The Virginia Chronicle site also allows users to register and correct the OCR (optical character recognition) text files generated from the newspaper scans and aid researchers in future reading and searching.

Third stop: Google News Archive Search
Particularly the newspaper archives. Not quite as easy to use as the first two websites, but it has the advantage that it covers more recent newspapers – at least until the 1970s and possibly even newer than that. The advantage here is that any articles will likely be new and unique finds.

Fourth stop:
The pilot program for newspapers is of limited use to Winchester researchers currently, but while you are here, you may also want to check out their other free text collections, which includes patents, fiction and nonfiction books, pamphlets and other ephemera.

Fifth stop:
If you are looking for something more modern and just need the text, I have had some limited success with this paid subscription site. provides OCR text transcriptions of the scanned pages, so while a free user won’t be able to load the scan of the newspaper, they will probably be able to get the gist of the text. There are options to browse the site, but for a search to just see what turns up, I often use Google’s advance search options for a string like “preservation of historic winchester” This random search turned up a 1982 newspaper article on our tenth Preservation Week activities, which I had not seen before. If you need to see the original page (for illustrations or to check the OCR text accuracy), you are now armed with a date and page for when you visit the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives or whichever archives is most convenient for you.

Sixth stop: Advantage Digital Archive
This free online archive is provided through the Handley Library. It provides OCR searchable text and full page images of some of Winchester’s more obscure historical newspapers, including:
Virginia Gazette (1787-1796)
Winchester Gazette (1798-1824)
Republican Constellation (1814-1814)
Daily Item (1896-1897)
Morning News Item (1906-1907)
Daily Independent (1923-1925).
The search functions are similar to the other newspaper archives. Don’t be discouraged if the OCR text does not return a hit on the topic you want – text recognition for older newspapers can be tricky. Instead, if you have a date or year range in mind to check an event, you may want to try the browsing option to read the scan yourself.

Happy searching!

Friday Roundup: Tax Credit Edition

Friday Roundup Welcome to 2018! As you may have heard, there had been an open demolition request for 137 South Loudoun, the building most heavily damaged by the fire in February 2016, submitted to the Board of Architectural Review. We wanted to publicly share the news from the applicant that at the same time the Board of Architectural Review was meeting and discussing how to proceed on the demolition request yesterday, Part 1 of the historic tax credit application was approved by the Department of Historic Resources. The applicant will be proceeding to Part 2 of the application, and as such, the demolition request has been withdrawn.

This is a prime example of how the historic tax credit can help save endangered buildings. The tax credits will help make this project more financially feasible than it otherwise would have been, and the community can retain at least a substantial portion – and the most important portion for experiencing the downtown as a pedestrian – of the historic Italianate-style building. While there is still a long process ahead, we hope to see 137 South Loudoun Street recover and thrive.

On that note, while we mentioned that the Federal-level historic tax credit was spared the chopping block, we did note there was a change to the implementation. As of now there is no hard-hitting look at how spacing the credit over five years will impact projects financially, although there is expected to be some lessening of value. The National Trust for Historic Preservation recapped the changes due to the preservation community’s advocacy as such:

“This strong showing of support resulted in an amendment to restore the HTC to 20 percent. The amendment—offered by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.; and Tim Scott, R-S.C.—was accepted at a critical moment in the Senate Finance Committee’s markup of the tax bill during the week of November 13. To file the amendment, however, Sen. Cassidy needed to identify a way to offset the cost of the incentive. The solution was to take the HTC in phases over five years instead of in its entirety the year a rehabilitated building is completed. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that phasing the HTC in this way reduces the cost of the program by approximately $2 billion over 10 years.”

The Trust also notes what a remarkable and almost improbable feat it was to retain the historic tax credit, noting that “[o]f the more than 300 amendments offered, the Finance Committee ultimately approved only about a dozen.” We hope to see more of this good luck spread to other preservation projects in 2018!

Happy New Year!

We’re not quite there yet, but this will be our last post of 2017. Before you completely wrap up your holiday spirit, be sure to let us know your feedback on the Holiday House Tour in a quick 5-10 minute survey.

As you snuggle in for another holiday weekend, you may want to read up on the first photographs of snowflakes and read about the Feast of Fools celebration on New Year’s Day. If the cold weather has you down, you might want to read about the Victorian-inspired decorations in the Allan Gardens Conservatory.

Stay safe, stay warm, and have a happy New Year!

A Happy New Year

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.

Friday Photos: Holiday House Tour

Happy Friday! We have several sets of images from the 2017 Holiday House Tour to share this year. To start, you can view the scrapbook images from the Cornelius Baldwin house that were playing on a slideshow during the tour. You can also do the same to the slideshow images that were playing at 125 E. Clifford St. On top of that, we have a general album with the room setup at the Bough and Dough Shop on Friday night and some of the houses on Saturday and Sunday.

Holiday House Tour 2017

If you haven’t yet, please help us out for next year’s tour and send us some feedback. Average completion time is about 4 minutes. We read and discuss all feedback and take it into account for next year, so thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Take a Quick Holiday House Tour Survey!

Thank you all so much for your support of the Holiday House Tour and Bough & Dough Shop. While we are still tallying final numbers, we had at least 400 visitors come through the event, and the overall Shop numbers were close to last year.

We want to keep building on this momentum! Please help us plan for the 2018 Holiday House Tour by providing feedback. The survey is estimated to take 5-10 minutes. All comments are anonymous and will be reviewed in our planning sessions in January and February. The online survey closes on January 31, 2018.

Click here for the survey on the 2017 Holiday House Tour!


P.S. – Mark your 2018 calendars for December 1 & 2 for our 42nd Holiday House Tour!

Holiday House Tour Wrap Up Notes

Thank you all very much for your support of the 2017 tour! Early reports are that we likely had over 400 visitors again this year. While we work on getting the feedback survey for 2017 finalized for Friday’s post, we wanted to update two things very quickly:

1. We discovered our old email address was still showing on PayPal receipts, and this may cause problems if you find an error in your checkout information. We found one more place the old email information was hidden in PayPal and flipped the setting. If you need to contact us for a PayPal payment double charge/dispute, the correct email address is

2. As we were getting to the bottom of the donated paper bags on Sunday (thank you to everyone who chipped in!) we found a pair of prescription glasses in a black leather case in the bottom of the bags. If you are missing your glasses and think they might have been picked up in the donated bags, please let us know at or 540-667-3577. We will hold onto the glasses for a reasonable amount of time before donating them.

Last Notes for the Holiday House Tour

As we near the last hours before the 41st annual Holiday House Tour kicks off, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

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 ( will not be staffed from Friday-Sunday. Should the weather or some other disaster impact the tour, we will try to push notifications on Facebook, the PHW blog, and the PHW voicemail message ASAP.

The hours for the house tours are Saturday (Preview Party and Candlelight Tour) 6-9 PM, and Sunday (Daylight Tour) from 1-5 PM.

Tickets are still available at the advance ticket sale locations:

The Final Yard, 33 East Gerrard Street
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 2 and 3. Remember, ticket prices are $20 at the houses on Sunday. Tickets will still be offered at the advance sale price of $15 at the Bough & Dough Shop on Sunday.

Admission to a single site on Sunday is $5. Pay at the door of the house you wish to visit.

There will be complimentary warm drinks at the Bough & Dough Shop for all visitors as in previous years.

Look for the red PHW sandwich board for the guided tour meeting spot at the Winchester Little Theatre on Sunday. Tours will leave every half hour from 1-4 PM (last tour leaves at 4 and finishes at 4:30). There will likely be two to three guides on hand to break into smaller staggered groups, as needed.

Costumed carolers from Winchester Little Theatre, organized by Jim and Kendra Getaz, will once again stroll the streets and serenade tour-goers at the open houses 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.

We are also expecting Jim Moyer of the French and Indian War Foundation to be on hand at 420 North Loudoun Street in his period reenactment uniform to help tell the story of Fort Loudoun on Sunday afternoon.

The weather forecast is partly cloudy on Saturday, to sunny on Sunday. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 50s, falling to the low 30s overnight. No precipitation is expected and winds should be mild.

Have a safe and happy Holiday House Tour, everyone!

Special Thank Yous

First, you can catch up with Tourism Tuesday on the River 95.3. Our board member John Flood was in the studio sharing stories on the houses and about the tour.

Also, we are very indebted to our advertising sponsors for helping us to cover some of the expenses related to running the tour. Be sure to check out their ads in the program booklet, shop at, and thank the following Holiday House Tour sponsors!

Bank of Clarke County
Summit Community Bank
Winchester Little Theatre
Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative
Belle Grove Plantation

We are also very thankful for our volunteer ticket sale locations. They are a great help to spread out the burden of ticket sales. Be sure to stop in and say thank you to the workers at:
The Final Yard
Winchester Book Gallery
Wilkin’s Shoe Center
Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center

Bough & Dough Shop Artisans and Greenery

The heart of the Bough & Dough Shop are our vendors who lend their unique talents to the tour. Proceeds from the sale of Shop items will benefit the Winchester Little Theatre Restoration Campaign and PHW. Do some holiday gift shopping or pick up some sweet treats from these local artisans:

The Clowser Foundation
The Clowser Foundation will have prints of the Clowser House by Michael Martin available for purchase. All proceeds from the sale of the Clowser House prints goes back to the Clowser Foundation for their effort to preserve this historic landmark of Frederick County.

For more information of the Clowser Foundation or to make a direct donation, visit their Facebook or their website

Lin Hausneckt-Klay Haus Pottery
Lin has been creating art with clay for over 25 years. She first studied pottery in Geneseo, NY, then Towson, MD, & other locations. Her works range from mugs & bowls to birdfeeders & birdbaths. Her goal is to make utilitarian pots that are well-crafted, aesthetically interesting, and enjoyable to use. She currently teaches non-credit classes at Lord Fairfax Community College, and is a member of the Shenandoah Potters Guild.

John and Wendy Venskoske-J&W Farm
J & W Farm started with the idea of adding value to local agricultural products. The signature wreaths use a special blend of birdseed from two local feed stores and custom make them with seasonal ribbon and/or special requests. Our Holiday Birdseed Wreaths are packaged for gift giving and shipping! Be on the lookout this year for cider syrup, as well!

Visit J & W Farm online at and Facebook.

Jennifer C. Komaromi
Jennifer hand paints unique Christmas bulbs – no two ornaments are the same! Each is executed in acrylic paint and sealed with a clear finish to protect the artwork. Her subjects range from kid-friendly to fantastical and are sure to bring whimsy and delight to your Christmas tree.

Jose Montero—“Madeira” hand-carved woodwork
Jose has admired trees and loved wood. After his mother-in-law asked if he could make her some spoons from scraps, a new line of products was born and has been refined over the years. Jose has expanded from spoons to bowls and other utilitarian accessories. Most of the wood comes from the Montero wood lot, trees that have been damaged by storms or attacked by insects.

You can find their products at craft fairs in Virginia, West Virginia and at Farm Markets. Our spoons are in gift shops at Belle Grove Plantation, and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia.

Preservation of Historic Winchester
If you have ever admired the African Violets Sandra Bosley grows at the PHW office, this is your lucky year. Propagated violets from the classic and hardy purple and bi-color white and purple office violets are being sold for the very first time. There is also a selection of “mystery” violets that can be purple, white, lavender, blue, or bi-color white and purple, or white and pink – it’s a mystery until they bloom! There will also be young pregnant onions started from the PHW office plant, which is at least twenty years old.

In addition to the cheerful houseplants, PHW will also be offering a selection of prints, including the Community Food Store limited edition print, and both sets of eight sheets and individual map sheets of the 1897 Sanborn fire insurance maps which were used in the 1976 architectural surveys. Looks for other books, small handcrafted ornaments, and crocheted toys, too.

Cyndie Rinek—Blooming Hill Garden and Gift Shop
Cyndie Rinek, along with her husband Peter, a landscape architect and arborist, is the owner of Blooming Hill Lavender Farm and Gift Shop, located in the tiny Western Loudoun County hamlet of Philomont, Virginia. Over the years and through hard work as well as a lot of trial and error, Cyndie has taken what was once an interest in flowers and plants, to a passion and then turned it into a business specializing in lavender at her home, aptly named Blooming Hill. She now has a collection of one thousand lavender plants in almost one hundred different varieties and also tends the many formal, informal and herb garden beds that fill the 4 1/2 acres patch of paradise with a view of the Blue Ridge that make up Blooming Hill.

Blooming Hill is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays and other days by appointment, April through December. Visit Blooming Hill online at

Jackie Tobin—Handcrafts of the Shenandoah Valley
Jackie has been creating something for as long as she can remember. Encouragement and inspiration came from her multi-talented grandmother, who not only taught her to sew, but provided her with self confidence and unlimited materials to make things. Create something from nothing? Of course!

Over the years, Jackie has participated in many Shenandoah Valley Craft Fairs and Shops. She was a partner in Stone Soup Gallery on Winchester’s walking mall, where you might find her creating hand woven baskets or painting detailed images on newly designed Holiday ornaments. Currently, she has added upcycled wood creations to her palette, greenery arrangements and dried flowers from her garden, and so much more. Visit Jackie at her Facebook page.

Emily Whitesell—The Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard
Emily will be doing “double duty” this year as both our purveyor of baked treats and locally handmade items. The Homestead Farm has been in her family since the early 1800s when their great, great, great grandfather James Thwaite started farming at the location. There will be a variety of gift items from the farmer’s market, like candles, soap, body cream, body/room spray and milk bath tubes. Even more tempting will be the selection of freshly baked sugar cookies, gingerbread men, rice krispie treats, small and large cakes, truffles, cake pops, pies, candied nuts and peppermint bark.

Visit the Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard Tuesday-Saturday, 10 AM-6 PM at 2502 N. Frederick Pike, Winchester, Virginia, or online at Facebook and

Nate Windle
Nate Windle will return again with fabulous finished greenery creations. In addition to the traditional fresh greenery wreaths and arrangements you have come to expect at the Bough & Dough Shop, Nate will provide some artificial greenery decorations so you can enjoy his artistic skills for years to come. If you are making your own arrangements from the bulk greenery, you can also expect a selection of bows made by Nate that are suitable for adding the finishing touch to your handiwork.

Fresh Greenery Team
Outside on the deck of the Winchester Little Theatre awaits a bounty of freshly-cut greenery for your holiday decorating. Buy greenery in bulk by the bag at the Bough & Dough Shop this weekend, including pine, juniper, magnolia, holly, nandina, boxwood, and cryptomeria. Greenery is priced $3 by a small bag, $6 by a large bag, and magnolia is priced by the branch based on size. Other greenery or related items may also be available.

Special thanks to our greenery cutters Cheryl Crowell, Donna Downing, Pam DeBergh, Nancy Murphy, and Mary Riley, and to our greenery sources Howard and Joan Lewis, John Rosenberger, Winkie Mackay-Smith, Beth DeProspero Elgin, the Bauserman family, Mount Hebron Cemetery, and Valley Health/The Winchester Medical Center.