Friday Roundup: Clowser House, Drinks from the Past

Friday RoundupWe have two exciting pieces of news to share on the Clowser House. Earlier this week, the Frederick County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 99 year lease of the house to the Clowser Foundation. This move will allow the Foundation to move ahead with efforts to stabilize the deteriorating wall. In addition, the Clowser Foundation has also received approval from the IRS for the group to be a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

Of course, this is only the first step – now the Clowser Foundation needs your help. They are just beginning their official fundraising efforts. If you would like to support saving the Clowser House, checks can be mailed to:
The Clowser Foundation
152 Tomahawk Trail
Winchester, VA 22602

Apple Blossom kicks off tonight downtown with the Bloomin’ Wine Fest. In that spirit of celebration, we have a few links to share on drinks of the past. The Library of Virginia opened a new exhibit Teetotalers & Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled. If you happen to be in Richmond on May 5, you may want to stop by the free event “‘Goodbye Booze’: The Music of Prohibition,” an upbeat look at popular music of the Prohibition era through live and recorded performances. More information can be found on the Virginia Memory website.

If you are looking for something a little less intoxicating for your historic beverage of choice, you could read about the escalation in soda fountain technology and ornamentation in “Victorians Drank Soda Out Of Monstrous Gilded Machines” by Cara Giaimo. The article, full of illustrations and photos of the soda fountains of yore, is a lighthearted look at an arms race which helped shaped how we think of the interiors of pharmacies and soda shops. If you can’t get enough of viewing these elaborate soda machines, the Matthews Catalogue and Price List of Apparatus, Materials and Accessories for Making and Dispensing Carbonated Beverages is available as a free Google e-book so you can read the enticing description of soda fountain machines with evocative names like Snowdrop, Avalanche, and Drinkjoy.

Friday Roundup: Preservation Resources

ResourcesHappy Friday! As the weather gets warmer you might have some outdoor preservation projects on your to do list. You may want to consult a few online sources for information before diving in to your next project. Here’s a handy reminder of some of the sources of information you can access for free online!

From the National Park Service:
Preservation Briefs (common preservation issues and how to resolve them, often used as a supplement for tax credit projects)
Preservation Tech Notes (case studies of preservation techniques)
Preservation by Topic (alphabetical list by preservation topic, useful if you have an issue but you are not sure where to look for an answer)

From the Virginia Department of Historic Resources:
Historic Trades Directory
Publications (a mix of both hard copy only and PDF publications on various preservation and archeology topics, including New Dominion Style Guide for help identifying architecture styles of the recent past, and How to Research Your Historic Virginia Property)
Technical Reports (a Virginia-level companion to the NPS Preservation Briefs and Tech Notes)

The Historic Preservation Education Foundation has provided digital versions of some hard to find print publications generated from conference proceedings, including:
Preserving the Recent Past

If you are looking for some period materials in catalogs in your research into house parts and appliances, check out:
Building Technology Heritage Library
Winterthur Museum Library

If you are looking for in-person training opportunities, check out:
Traditional Trades Youth Initiative pilot program, looking to provide youth (age range 18-30) with exposure and experience in the fields of Historic Preservation, Cultural Resources and Facility Maintenance
Historic Real Estate Finance Training Program May 8-12 in Fairmont, WV, an intense, interactive workshop in the real estate development process including underwriting, appraisals, cash flow, depreciation, passive income/loss, syndication, tax credits and more

And if you are in need of some actual architectural salvage pieces for a project, the PHW office has a selection of window sashes with historic glass (two, six, and nine light sashes) ready to go back out into the world. Drop us a line at 540-667-3577 or for more information.

Building Community Through Historic Preservation

We took a little break this week from scanning photos, so instead we found a TEDxCLE talk by Rhonda Sincavage from the National Trust for Historic Preservation called “Building Community Through Historic Preservation” to share with you.

To many of you, the points she makes in the first six minutes will be entirely familiar. If you find yourself nodding off, skip ahead to about the 6:40 minute mark to hear some outside confirmation of the intuitive reasons people get involved with historic preservation, and the theory of how a strong emotional attachment to a place positively impacts the community as a whole.

For those interested in exploring the Soul of a Community Study mentioned briefly in this talk in more detail, you can learn more about it on the Knight Foundation website or watch a quick introduction video.

Friday Roundup: PHW Newsletter, File Indexes, Clowser House Update, and Photos

Friday Roundup The first PHW Newsletter of 2017 is available online now, with a recap of the 2016 Holiday House Tour and a fairly lengthy update on PHW’s ongoing archiving process. If you think you should be on the PHW mailing list of current members and you don’t receive your hard copy, please let us know at 540-667-3577 or (If you spot a typo or need to update or confirm your current mailing address, please let us know that too!)

As part of the archiving process mentioned in the newsletter, we have made a working index of the dead PHW office files available online. At present time the list consists only of the file name and box number, but more information on the contents may be added in the future. This index only covers the files moved to storage, so most of the Revolving Fund, newer Holiday House Tours, and historic building files are not indexed (yet!).

We are also very excited to share the indexing of the Winchester Star’s “Out of the Past” articles completed to date. This indexing project was started by summer intern Marlena Spencer as we were beginning to sort and file the newspaper clipping boxes in 2013. Hopefully this will help you locate some stories you may have read in the Out of the Past section. Expect more additions to this index as time goes on.

The Clowser House has cleared its next hurdle in the ongoing preservation efforts. On Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move the Clowser House proposal to a public hearing to be held on April 26th. If all goes well, the April 26th hearing will be the final step needed before the Clowser House Committee can lease the property for 99 years and start the preservation process.

Last but not least, we added 22 photos to Flickr this week, all of one location: 219 South Loudoun Street. The brick house was likely built by Abraham Lauck around 1823 for his daughter Sarah at the time of her marriage to Charles Finn. In addition to a selection of shots from the 1997 Holiday House Tour, we were also able to identify the rear garden springtime photos, which had long been in the unknown photo file at PHW. We also did a bit of housekeeping at Flickr and created a dedicated album for those Holiday House Tour 1997 images we have been sharing recently. Enjoy both the festive photos and a taste of spring at the top of the photostream.

219 South Loudoun Street

Call for Help: Bridge Survey

BridgeFrom Preservation Virginia this week is a request for help in an informal bridge survey taking place across Virginia. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is re-evaluating of their Historic Bridge Inventory. Preservation Virginia is reaching out for help identifying bridges that could be considered eligible for individual listing in the National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Landmarks Register.

PHW is extending this call to our readership for help in identifying any local bridges that may qualify. The Historic Bridge Inventory lists only one bridge in Frederick County, a concrete closed spandrel arch bridge on Rt. 672 crossing the Opequon Creek, built in 1917. There are no listings for Winchester City, Clarke County, or Warren County.

The basic requirements for consideration are that a bridge should be administered by VDOT, 50 years old or older, and meet at least one of the criterion for consideration as a historic structure (bridges usually qualify under feats of engineering, but may also be associated with a significant person or event, or for outstanding design elements).

If you know of a bridge that may qualify, you will need: location, route number, stream crossing, VDOT structure number (if known), or name, as well as an explanation of why the bridge should be included. You may wish to refer to A Management Plan for Historic Bridges in Virginia Appendix A for a listing of the National Register Eligible historic bridges identified to date (starts on page 34 of the PDF).

The bridge survey is time sensitive. Please submit your responses before Friday March 31, 2017. Information may be emailed to PHW at, or hard copy information dropped off in person or by snail mail to 530 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA 22601. If you have questions about the bridge survey or would like to submit your bridge directly to Preservation Virginia, please contact Lisa Bergstrom by email at

Friday Photos, Tax Credit News, and Mailing Lists to Follow

Happy Friday! This week we have added 38 photos from Holiday House Tours of years gone by to the Flickr account, including some interior images of the Simon Lauck House when it was on the tour in 1997. Catch all the new additions at the end of the Holiday House Tour album, or at the top of the photostream.

Holiday House Tour 1997

Good news has been coming out of Richmond in relation to the future of the state historic preservation tax credit. Check out the article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch “Va. Senate panel kills Sen. Glen Sturtevant’s bill to cap and phase out historic rehab tax credits” to get a few more details.

Presumably if you are an avid reader of PHW’s blogs, you have some interest in keeping abreast of preservation stories like the one above. Here are a few more email lists that the PHW office is subscribed to:
Preservation Virginia
Valley Conservation Council (signup form is at the bottom of the page)
National Trust for Historic Preservation (scroll down about midway on the page to find the signup form)
Winchester CitE-News

Let us know if you have found any other historic preservation mailing lists worth following!

Friday Smorgasbord: Podcasts, Mycology and More

Around the InternetHappy Friday! We have a mix of links and history to share with you this week that we found interesting, without a particular theme.

Next City put together a list of 7 Podcasts Urbanists Should Be Listening to Now. For historic preservation focused topics, try the recommendations from Preservation in Pink, HiFi History, Strong Towns podcasts, Historic Preservation by the National Park Service, and National Center for Preservation Technology and Training podcasts. Let us know if you have come across any other good podcasts on history and preservation related topics.

For something off the beaten track, this article at Atlas Obscura on an almost forgotten mycologist Mary Banning had a surprise Winchester connection. Banning worked in near isolation cataloging and illustrating fungus around her native Maryland for twenty years. Her life’s work was sent to a leading scientist in the field, but was lost and forgotten for 100 years. While the tale alone is worth a read, it was most surprising to see that in her final years, Mary Banning lived in a boarding house in Winchester.

Alexandria Gazette Jan. 15, 1917A quick look in the 1900 census records confirms she was living at 127 North Cameron (then Market) Street. The house was originally the home of William “Bake” Miller before its conversion to a boarding house by sisters Martha (Mattie) and Virginia Wall (1, 2). By the 1900 census only Martha was still alive to run the boarding house. Martha’s brother and bookstore proprietor Thomas Wall and his wife were in residence, along with Mary Banning and four more boarders. An obituary for Thomas Wall which ran in the Alexandria Gazette on January 15, 1917 mentions his book and stationery business, but mostly recounts his close call with General Sheridan and his service delivering mail through the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.

Finding these small connections not only brings to light the amazing stories of the former occupants of a relatively obscure historic Winchester building, but also grounds those tales to a physical location which still exists and can be seen and visited today.

Around the Internet: Contemplating the Future of Historic Preservation

Around the Internet Like the world as a whole, historic preservation itself is a changing field with expanding goals and priorities. The book review How to Reinvent Historic Preservation by Amanda Kolson Hurley is more than just a dry look at two recent publications about historic preservation, but also a bit of a retrospective on this change in priorities. This is one of the primary angles to The Past and Future City. Hurley explains, “The new preservation movement cares about neighborhoods as much as individual buildings. . . It looks beyond architecture for reasons why a place resonates, often finding them in social history.” Although lengthy, the full article is worth a read to gain perspective on the evolution in historic preservation which has been taking place since the late 1990s and early 2000s.

You can see how some of the ideas discussed in Hurley’s book review were put into practical application at our closest National Trust site, Belle Grove Plantation, with A Different Kind of History Lesson at Belle Grove Plantation by Kelly Schindler. She recounts her experience spending the night in the historic site in some of the same conditions experienced by Judah, an enslaved cook at the plantation in the early 19th century.

We hope you were able to join in the webinar on Thursday discussing the future of the historic tax credit on the federal level (the event was recorded and should be available for review at the National Trust’s website soon if you missed it live). In the meantime, the Trust put out the article Three Buildings Saved by the Historic Tax Credit. You may also want to check out the Historic Tax Credit Coalition website, especially the Rutgers Annual Report on the Economic Impact of the Historic Tax Credit for 2015 and the Historic Tax Credit Impact Maps, to get some facts in hand to support the historic tax credit.

Around the Internet: Becoming an Expert

Around the InternetIt’s a new year, and with the new year often we make resolutions to be better or more engaged with a cause. It can be hard to find tips on how to be a better preservationist or historian – like many things in life it is something you learn best by doing instead of reading about it – but we have found three guides to help you become an expert and speak more eloquently and authoritatively on issues you care about.

1. On Becoming a Local Go-To Person
Last year, Gracen Johnson shared her experiences about becoming a go-to person for interviews concerning local development issues. She lists five things which propelled her into being a go-to person in her community. There are no real shortcuts but to put in the time and research and networking, plus have a dash of luck on your side, but if you too see a vacuum, face your fears and start by writing that op ed piece or volunteering for a board position or committee. You never know what may come of it.

2. Applying What You Know: Reading the Built Environment
Have you ever wondered how some architectural historians just seem to “know” about when some change might have been made to a building? It can seem like magic the first time you see this in action, but it is really just a skill that comes from reading the environment and knowing the broad context of architectural movements. Kaitlin O’Shea walks you through her thought process in reading the environment in an unfamiliar city in this blog post. See if you can pick up any tips from her for your own built environment expeditions.

3. “Addressing the Threat to the Federal Historic Tax Credit and Setting the Preservation Policy Agenda for the 115th Congress.”
Here is one issue that comes up quite often for preservationists – what is happening on a national level that could affect local preservation issues? The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a free webinar to help you get caught up on the latest challenges facing the federal historic tax credit. On Thursday, January 19, 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET, join preservation partners and National Trust President and CEO, Stephanie Meeks, for a presentation of the most pressing policy issues facing the preservation community in the months ahead. You may also want to check out their archive to review past webinars on preservation issues, heritage tourism, grants, and more.

Saying Goodbye to 2016

A Happy New YearFor our last PHW blog post of 2016, let’s find out how to send off this year!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has put together a list of 11 Preservation Wins and Losses in 2016. Locally, you can refresh your memory for the 2016 PHW Preservation Award Winners, reflect on the loss of the Winchester Towers, and recognize the ongoing efforts to save the Clowser House in Frederick County and bring life back to three historic structures after the fire on the south end of the Loudoun Street Mall last February.

To see the year out in a safe and family-friendly atmosphere, head to downtown Winchester on December 31 for the 30th Annual First Night Winchester celebration. Events take place from 10 AM to midnight, culminating in the apple drop and the fireworks display to ring in the new year. Buttons are $10 each, with free admission for children 10 and under. Find the full list of activities, locations, performers, and where and how to purchase your buttons at the First Night Winchester site.

If you are planning the celebrate at home, the Encyclopaedia of Superstitions we looked at for Christmas has a few suggestions to help bring in the good luck for the New Year. A plum tree branch should be placed over the front door to encourage fruitfulness and beauty. If you’d like to try a little fortune-telling, “lay a green ivy leaf in a dish on New Year’s night, cover it with water and set it in a safe place until the fifth day of the year. If the leaf is then still green and fair you will be safe from any sickness all the year; but if you find black spots on it, you may expect sickness.” For more interactive and enjoyable party entertainment than watching a leaf for five days, The Book of Games and Parties for All Occasions offers the game “Old Year’s Follies and New Year’s Resolutions,” which derives from the game Consequences (think of an early type of Mad Libs):

“The hostess provides a number of sheets of paper as confession blanks, one for each guest. At the head of one set of blanks she writes, ‘I [name of guest] hereby confess that in the year that is past I committed these among many follies:’ Upon the second set of blanks she writes, ‘I [name of guest] bitterly repenting my follies of the year that is past do hereby firmly resolve:’ Each paper is folded so that no name is visible and passed around in turn for each guest to write a folly and a resolution. Allow two minutes to each guest for writing follies and two for resolutions after which the papers are opened and read. The highly amusing follies and resolutions ascribed to the different guests will create the greatest merriment.”

While you are partying, whoever has the last glass of wine or other spirits from the bottle has had the “lucky glass” and will be successful throughout the next year. It is of course a tradition to sing a rendition of Auld Lang Syne just before midnight. To finish off your New Year’s Eve party, try opening your windows and doors at midnight to let the bad luck out and the good luck in, and make lots of loud noises to scare out those pesky evil spirits. Your neighbors will undoubtedly be thrilled with your shenanigans.

Stay safe, celebrate responsibly, and we will see you in 2017!

Good Wishes for the New Year
Vintage postcard from