Holiday House Tour

Preservation of Historic Winchester is pleased to announce the locations of the 31st annual Holiday House Tour. This staple of Winchester’s holiday celebrations will take place on December 1st and 2nd with 6 homes and historic buildings in and adjacent to the Historic District. Click here for a brochure. The Preview Party and Candlelight Tour will be held 6-9 p.m. on December 1. The Party will be held at 119 S. Washington Street, the home of Walter Jackson Helm, Jr. Tickets to the Preview Party are $35 per person and require advance registration. The Daylight Tour on Sunday will be held noon to 5 p.m. Advance tickets may be purchased for $15, or $20 at the door on the day of the tour. Children twelve and under are $6. Advance tickets will be sold at Kimberly’s, The Country Store, The Final Yard, Celebrate!, Winchester Book Gallery, and the PHW office at the Hexagon House. Continue reading Holiday House Tour

City Council Hearing

The Rose Foundation will be appealing the decision of the BAR to deny the demolition requests of 404, 406, 412 1/2-414, and 418 S. Kent Street. The hearing will take place at Rouss City Hall at 7:30 p.m. This event is a public hearing, so you are encouraged to attend and state your case.

The City Council overturned the decision of the BAR despite strong opposition from PHW representatives, The Department of Historic Resources, and BAR members. However, the properties are currently listed for sale. Watch PHW for more news about the Kent Street Properties.

Preservation News

A portion of the flat roof on the Taylor Hotel has collapsed under the weight of improperly draining rainwater on Thursday, October 25. Click here to read the Winchester Star and Northern Virginia Daily articles covering the collapse. The Taylor Hotel is a Winchester and Civil War landmark. For more information on the history of the Taylor Hotel, click here.

A structural assessment of the building has determined the front and back portions are structurally sound, and the owners intend to renovate. Click here to read the Winchester Star article or view the TV3 Winchester report.

Memberfest and Open House

PHW and The Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley hosted Memberfest and an Open House on October 13 from 4-6 p.m. at the Hexagon House. This year, PHW celebrated the one year anniversary of its return to the Hexagon House and welcomed its new upstairs neighbors, The Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. The event attracted approximately 100 party goers to socialize and catch up with old friends and new acquaintances. Memberfest marked the first time the second story has been open to the public for an event in more than twenty years.

Board of Architectural Review

The Rose Foundation appeared before the BAR concerning the fate of several houses in the 400 block of South Kent Street. The demolition requests for 404, 406, 412 1/2 – 414 were denied with a vote of 3-2, while 418 was denied unanimously. The demolition request of 408 S. Kent was approved unanimously. The BAR members opposing the demolitions cited the irreparable damage to the historic fabric and character of the Kent Street corridor with the loss of an entire block was the main concern and troublesome precedent. Others cited that other preservation options never seriously considered for these properties, and a true test on the market to search for purchasers willing and able to renovate the structures could provide that test.

The fight may not yet be over to save the 400 block of South Kent Street. An appeal to City Council by the Rose Foundation is likely.

Board of Architectural Review

126-128 E. Cecil Street, once home to Ruth’s Tea Room, appeared before the Board of Architectural Review meeting at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers in Rouss City Hall. Click here to read the article.

Ruth's Tea Room The BAR approved the Rose Foundation’s plan to demolish the former site of Ruth’s Tea Room at 126-128 E. Cecil Street based on its unsound structural condition. Click here to read the article in the Winchester Star. The Rose Foundation intends to replace the structure with a close facsimile of the original building, which will appear before the BAR at a later date.

Ruth’s Tea Room opened its doors in 1927, the same time as the Community Store around the corner on Kent Street. Both businesses were family-owned and operated for more than 70 years and draw fond recollections from the community. The Community Store is being renovated by the Rose Foundation.

PHW Membership Meeting

Current PHW members were invited to a special meeting at the Hexagon House at 7 PM on Monday, August 27 to consider whether to remove the restriction on the funds from the sale of the Kurtz Building. Approximately thirty members arrived to join an intelligent discussion concerning the funds and to catch up with old friends.

Board of Architectural Review

No decision was reached at the July 19 meeting of the Board of Architectural Review concerning the fate of six properties along South Kent Street. To read the follow-up article in the Winchester Star, click here.The next BAR meeting is scheduled for August 2 in the Council Chambers of Rouss City Hall at 4 PM. In the meantime, BAR members toured the properties.

The Robert E. Rose Foundation asked that the demolition requests be tabled while they continue negotiations with PHW at the August 2 BAR meeting. Read the Star’s article here.

Board of Architectural Review

PHW encouraged its membership to attend the Board of Architectural Review meeting for the public hearing of the demolition of six properties on South Kent Street (404, 406, 408, 412 1/2-414, 418,) circa 1860 to 1910. The meeting provided valuable feedback not only from PHW’s formal presentation, but also from the neighbors, City Council, and the Rose Foundation. Click here to read the Winchester Star article.