Welcome to 2020 from PHW!

While the office will be closed until January 6, we wanted to send out a Friday post welcoming you to the new year. We still welcome feedback on the Bough and Dough Shop, the Holiday House Tour, or any other aspect where you think PHW needs to improve. The first discussion of the Tour and Shop will be held January 13, so for best discussion and consideration, get your comments in to the PHW office before then. You may reach us by email at phwinc.org@gmail.com or by phone at 540-667-3577.

We hope you will join us in looking forward to a fruitful and successful year ahead!

Friday Roundup: End of Shop Survey

The PHW office will be closed next week for winter vacation. In the meantime, we hope you will fill out the Bough and Dough Shop 2019 feedback form. Responses collected will be added to the report in the January 13 PHW board meeting for our after-event debriefing. The survey consists of three open-ended questions to help us plan the types of vendors and items you want as well as other ideas for improvement.

Thank you, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season. We’ll see you again in 2020!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from PHW!

Friday Roundup: End of Summer Events

We had a fantastic time at the open house last Saturday. If you couldn’t make it, you missed a chill afternoon full of art, food, and creativity. Don’t worry, though! You will get to enjoy the fruits of these labors (plus our upstairs neighbors ShenArts) starting in late November at the Bough and Dough Shop. If you haven’t yet, you can pick up an informational packet with an application form here.

Do you enjoy transcription of historic documents? The Library of Virginia has made the records of the Equal Suffrage League available for transcription. As part of the 2020 commemoration of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing women’s right to vote, the Library is asking volunteers to help transcribe these records that document women’s campaign for the vote in Virginia. You can learn more at their blog, Out of the Box.

September in Winchester always conjures up Patsy Cline. Get your fix tomorrow with the Patsy Cline Block Party. The annual event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 31, 2019 in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St., Winchester. It is an old-fashioned style block party with live entertainment, food concessions by Shaffer’s BBQ and souvenirs staged on Kent St. between Monmouth and Germain streets. The block party is free to attend with tours of the historic house offered at the reduced price of $5 for the day. Four performances by returning and new entertainers includes tribute singers performing Patsy songs, singer-storyteller, and groups performing songs of her genre.


“From Disaster to Redemption: George Washington and the Making of Winchester” will be held September 15.

“From Disaster to Redemption: George Washington and the Making of Winchester” will be held Sunday, September 15 at the George Washington Hotel, beginning at 1:30 PM. This free presentation will be a lovely celebration in a lovely place, with a dynamic speaker, Dr. Carl Ekberg. Join the French and Indian War foundation and the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society for this 275th anniversary of the founding of Winchester event. Everyone is welcome! More information is available on the French and Indian War Foundation’s website.

Last, PHW will be closed on Monday, September 2 for Labor Day. Enjoy your long weekend as you say goodbye to summer!

Rockin’ Independence Eve and July Schedule

Come to Old Town on July 3 for an evening of activities!

PHW will be at the July 3 Rockin’ Independence Eve again this year. Our table will be in the same spot in front of the Godfrey Miller House at 28 South Loudoun St. as last year. Be sure to stop by, say hi, and see what fun activities we may have going on!

The PHW office will be closed for the first week of July (July 1-5). We will be back to normal on the week of July 8. Catch up with the PHW reps at Rocking Independence Eve, or leave a message for us and we will get back to you then.

Although it is said every year, it is worth repeating to be careful while enjoying the summer holidays, particularly grilling and fireworks. While both activities are a staple of summer celebrations, they can be hazardous to both people and buildings. If you need a refresher, you can find safety tips at FEMA and NFPA for these and other summer safety issues like pools, campfires, and storms. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July celebration!

Happy Bloom!

It’s a short post this week as we know you are all focused on Apple Blossom this weekend. If you get a few quiet minutes, we have a little bit of reading for you to enjoy:

May is Preservation Month! The National Trust has a suggestion of 31 activities to celebrate and enjoy historic places near you. They also have a discussion post going on the forum for other activities from across the country. You can celebrate with PHW next Friday, May 10, at 522 S. Loudoun Street, starting at 5 PM for our free Happy Hour.

One of the things the national preservation movement is moving toward is a focus on supporting community, not just properties of significance. It’s a monumental ideal, and if you’d like a glimpse at some of the thoughts preservation professionals are having for our “future significant” buildings, stories, and communities, there was a good discussion post at the end of April you may want to check out.

You’ve probably been doing some spring cleaning to get ready for the Bloom. Preservation Virginia has a few tips for cleaning some historic items. We will reiterate that if you are at all unsure or you feel the item is too delicate, the best course of action is NOT to attempt cleaning. You can make things much worse by being too aggressive or using the wrong materials.

We also want to thank all our “spring cleaners” who have dropped off bags and packing materials at the Hexagon House. It is a small thing, but we are so grateful for your help. Your donations help us keep our Bough & Dough Shop overhead costs to a minimum by not purchasing new bags and bubble wrap. We also share with our upstairs neighbor ShenArts so they can safely transport pieces between the gallery and the Hexagon House. We will still gladly take more bags and bubble wrap through the spring and summer.

Friday Roundup: Preparing for Preservation Month

May is almost here! To start the event off right, you may want to visit the Garden Tour this weekend – there are a number of fabulous homes in Winchester on the tour this year. You can learn more and buy tickets online here.

As anyone familiar with Winchester knows, the first weekend in May is part of the Apple Blossom Festival, so the PHW Office will be closed Friday, May 3. Enjoy a safe and happy Bloom!

Then on the next Friday, May 10, PHW will be hosting our Preservation Month celebration at 522 S. Loudoun Street. The event begins at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. If you have interest in our historic buildings in Winchester and want to get more involved ,we encourage you to come out and meet us. We’ll also be able to renew or take new memberships at the event. It seems like the event is generating a lot of interest, so we are looking forward to meeting and talking to all of you!

Additionally, PHW is still soliciting ideas for preservation awards for people and projects in Winchester and Frederick County. If you have some ideas, you can find our nomination form online here. Make sure to get it in by May 31 for the best chance to be considered for recognition!

If you own a property in Winchester’s Historic District and you’ve always wanted one of the oval historic building plaques but never knew how to get one, we encourage you to apply for recognition at the Board of Architectural Review. Plaques are acted upon in May as part of the Preservation Month activities. You can find information on the plaque process and costs at the City’s website under the heading “Is your property located in a Historic District?”.

While not exactly preservation-related, you may also want to mark May 17 on your calendars. City Code Officials will be hosting a free cookout in honor of National Building Safety Month at the Old Frederick County Courthouse on the Loudoun Street Mall between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Officials will be available to answer questions and provide information on decks, pools, fences, smoke detectors, permits and more. Be sure to stop by!

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.

Friday Roundup: Fourth of July Edition

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! We had a great time kicking off PHW’s 54th year last Sunday, and we have more great things on the horizon. First, our holiday schedule for the Fourth of July:

Closed Tuesday, July 3, but stop by our table near 28 S. Loudoun St. (the Godfrey Miller House) during Rockin Independence Eve and pick up some self-guided walking tours and other PHW swag (donations kindly accepted). The event runs from 5-11 PM; we’re not sure how long our supplies will hold out, so you might want to stop by early!
The PHW office will be closed all day July 4 and July 5.

In keeping with the patriotic theme this time of year, we are happy to report the Clowser Foundation has secured their lease on the Clowser House in Shawneeland for the next 98 years. This was truly a labor of love for this amazing group, and we are beyond thrilled for them. Fabulous job, everyone!

Perhaps a bit ironically, but with summer comes the official call for Bough and Dough Shop artisans! We are trying to go “high tech” in our process this year. Apply with our online version of the Bough and Dough Shop jury form (requires a Google account)
or go with the reliable old school print and mail forms (PDF).

If you are thinking of applying, we are looking for unique handcrafted items. We would especially like to find a basket-maker, another potter or two, and perhaps jewelry, but we are very open to reviewing any submissions. We anticipate having about double the interior floor space we had at our longtime Shop location at the Winchester Little Theatre and we would love to showcase many more artisans this year. Don’t be shy, apply!



Friday Photos, Podcasts, and Upcoming Office Schedule

It was a short week for us with the snow interruption, but we were still able to add 33 photos to our Flickr account. Like last week, we are continuing to digitize all the photos from the Revolving Fund files, with this week’s batch including 20-22 and 24 South Kent, 211 and 219 South Kent (part of the Hodgson estate purchase), and 317 North Kent. You can catch the new additions at the top of the photostream, or at the end of the Revolving Fund album.
317 North Kent

If you are looking for preservation podcasts to add to your life, you might want to visit the newly-created www.preservecast.org site to look through Preservation Maryland’s back catalog of over 60 episodes, with a new episode posted on Mondays. The topics are often but not always Maryland-specific, but also include best practices and more general preservation topics. If you want a sample recommendation, try out the episode on the Enchanted Forest – if you’ve been in the area for a while you might have fond memories of this attraction during its first life from 1955-1989. (If you are super excited about this story and want to relive a bit of your childhood, Clark’s Elioak Farm will reopen for the season on March 30 – find more on their website www.clarklandfarm.com.)

Please note the PHW Office will be hosting a school field trip on Friday, March 30, and closed on April 2 and 3 for Easter vacation. We should still have a weekly email for you next week, but if we don’t, have a safe and happy holiday weekend!



Preserve Early America in Virginia, Part One

To go with our post last week, a second typed manuscript fell free of a scrapbook during moving. This is a partial transcription of the article “Preserve Early America in Virginia,” written by Lucille Lozier and Chi-Chi Kerns in 1968. The manuscript was sent to six magazines for potential publication. It was divided into three sections, so only the first portion which forms the most cohesive narrative is included today. We may revisit the next two sections in a future blog post.

Preserve Early America in Virginia

“We set out early, then traveled up to Frederick Town,” wrote George Washington in March, 1748, then a lad of 16. “We cleaned ourselves (to get rid of the game we had catched the night before), took a review of the town and thence returned to our lodgings where we had a good dinner…and a good feather bed with clean sheets, which was a very agreeable regale.”

This was the beginning of George Washington’s association with Winchester, then called Frederick Town.

The property on which this same inn rested, which was conveyed by Lord Fairfax to William Cocke, owner of the inn, was designated for preservation October 15, 1967. A fine old stone house, built in 1792, now stands there. This house is the first building in Winchester to be marked for preservation. A bronze plaque was placed on this home at the dedication ceremony, indicating it will be preserved, and the home is so listed by Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc.

At the time of Washington’s coming here, Winchester was the principal frontier post in the Shenandoah Valley. Washington, whose brother, Lawrence, married a cousin of Lord Fairfax, was sent here by the latter to survey Lord Fairfax’s vast estate of over 5,000,000 acres of unsettled land. He spent the next four years in this activity, and his headquarters attracts many tourists today.
George Washington's Office Museum

There seems to be an almost overwhelming urge, in the name of progress, to demolish and destroy relics of our country’s history and early cultural development. The era of concrete is upon the land, and ruthlessly, buildings of period architecture and antique beauty fall prey to the bulldozer. Feelings of pride in our past heritage seem to be swept aside in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

In the fall of 1963, a group of concerned citizens in Winchester, distressed and alarmed by the demolition of an increasingly large number of antique buildings in the area, assembled with a common desire to find some way to prevent the continuous destruction of their heritage. Winchester is one of the most historical cities of our nation and the oldest town west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a distinction of which they feel every citizen in the community should be justly proud.

Out of such concern grew an organization, the members of which were determined to preserve as many as possible of the old homes and buildings in Winchester which are historically important and architecturally interesting. These citizens formed an active group dedicated to providing a qualified and responsible organization capable of carrying out their objectives.

Those who belong to the organization have been successful in having the City Council pass an ordinance which enables them to proceed with their business of preservation. The name of the organization is “Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc.”

The members of PHW, Inc. have undertaken a project which will bring to a halt the impetuous tearing down of their historically invaluable buildings which, once gone, can never be replaced. They are trying to preserve as many as possible of the important buildings in Old Winchester which were built before 1860. Under their plan, the owner of a building may request its preservation. If the building qualifies, an attractive bronze marker, or plaque, specially designed, is placed on the structure to indicate that it will always remain a part of Old Winchester.

In recent years there has been some interest among members of garden clubs and other citizens of Winchester in improving the appearance of certain local historic buildings by beautifying their surroundings with appropriate planting of trees, shrubs, flowers, vines and ground covers. Since the preservation of an old building is not authentic without the restoration of the gardens and lawn which enhanced it, the Historic Winchester group would hope to work hand in hand with all those who wish the picture to be complete. It is anticipated that out of growing concern for saving these buildings will develop also a strong desire on the part of Winchester’s citizens to make their town more attractive with beautiful landscape architecture.

Members of the newly-formed organization look forward to the future with great excitement. They expect, as a body, which will be fully qualified for the activity, to solicit and accept money and property in the form of endowments and bequests. These gifts will be classified as charitable and may be listed as such on income tax forms of all donors.

The people of Historic Winchester wish to spread the news of their thrilling adventure to all Virginians, and, indeed, throughout the nation. Anyone interested in the organization can contact us at 540-667-3577, phwinc.org@gmail.com, or at our office Monday-Friday at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA 22601.