Friday Roundup: Memorial Day Weekend Events

Start your long weekend off with a book signing with Maral Kalbian today, 4:30-6:30 PM at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. She will be on hand to sign copies of her new book “Clarke County, Virginia: History Though Architecture.” This event is open to the public.

Kalbian’s book introduces the reader to the first people known to live in the area, guides readers through the development of roads and communities, and explains the architectural styles of its grand estates and humble houses. She addresses all types of buildings and provides an overview of how the surviving architecture reflects Clarkes’ history. Kalbian also separated fact from fiction by tracking down widely held beliefs and finding documented evidence to either support or debunk them. Aware of discrepancies in past historical writings, she double- and tripled-checked some stories in order to give future researchers a better place to start. The book is heavily illustrated and footnoted.

If you could not make the open house event earlier in May, the first floor of the Hexagon House will be open for visitors this evening. Light refreshment will be offered.

The 2023 Newtown Heritage Festival takes place Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 in Stephens City. The 31st annual event opens with crafters, concessions, music, and an outdoor movie, while Saturday’s events include a classic car show, tours, museum access, a parade, and more! Check their website for full details.

Applying to Lineage Societies – Get Help with Your Application and Research: Have you ever wanted to apply to a lineage society such as the Daughters of the American Revolution? Do you have an application but aren’t sure if you have all the proofs you need? Katherine Collins, MLISc, can help you with your questions, review applications, and assist with genealogical research issues. Come to the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives reading room at the Handley Library on May 27 from 10:30 AM to 12 PM. Registration not required.

1864 Valley Campaign in a Box: Join a National Park ranger at Kernstown Battlefield in Winchester for a 30 minute talk on the 1864 Civil War campaigns in the strategic Shenandoah Valley. Kernstown Battlefield Association, a nonprofit group, operates the historic battlefield. The battlefield is part of Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. The event takes place Sunday, May 28, noon at Kernstown Battlefield, 610 Battle Park Dr, Winchester, VA.

The outdoor exhibit Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects® Made with LEGO® Bricks returns to the MSV gardens with new sculptures this Saturday, May 27. Exhibition admission—which includes gallery admission—is $15, $10 for youth (13–18) and senior (60+), $5 for ages 5–12, and free to MSV members and ages 4 & under. Nature Connects will be open May 27–September 4, 2023.

Do you recognize this building? It was in our Indian Alley collection, but we have been unable to pinpoint an approximate location. The photo was unmarked, so we do not have an approximate date or a business name to help narrow down the location. The building may have been substantially altered or perhaps demolished. Any leads are appreciated!

Friday Roundup: 119 S. Washington Updates and Book Signing Next Week

Unfortunately the Thursday BAR meeting was unable to be held as a quorum was not available. The meeting had the potential to reconsider the reconsideration of the fence and pillar issue at 119 S. Washington St. It is possible a special BAR meeting will be called next Thursday, May 25, to consider the items on yesterday’s agenda.

We would also like to thank everyone who signed the petition to appeal the decision on the fence/pillars. It was an unfortunate turn of events that the deadline to file was not what was expected based on the date of the “final” consideration of the items, but the required signatures were reached and the petition has been filed. While PHW did not spearhead the appeal, we assisted in connecting interested parties to the document and acting as a public space to collect signatures.

Given that much of this application is in limbo, we are not sure what the future will hold. PHW felt it was important to participate in this petition because it was clear several rules of order were overlooked or applied incorrectly in the reconsideration of the fence/pillars. Many of the procedural errors this appeal rests upon would not have been spotted without the sharp-eyed neighbors following this process.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next Friday, May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM, for a book signing event with Maral Kalbian at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. Stop by to chat and get signed copies of her newest book, “Clarke County, Virginia: History Though Architecture.” This event is also open to the public.

Kalbian’s book introduces the reader to the first people known to live in the area, guides readers through the development of roads and communities, and explains the architectural styles of its grand estates and humble houses. She addresses all types of buildings and provides an overview of how the surviving architecture reflects Clarkes’ history. Kalbian also separated fact from fiction by tracking down widely held beliefs and finding documented evidence to either support or debunk them. Aware of discrepancies in past historical writings, she double- and tripled-checked some stories in order to give future researchers a better place to start. The book is heavily illustrated and footnoted.

If you could not make the open house event earlier in May, the first floor of the Hexagon House will be open for visitors that evening. Light refreshment will be offered.

Friday Roundup: House Update and Open House This Saturday

First: PHW is aware of a number of developments concerning 119 S. Washington St. We would like to reiterate that while we are an advocacy group and we appreciate questions and concerns about changes to property in the Historic District without approval, we are not an enforcement agency. Reports of this nature made to PHW will be passed to the Board of Architectural Review via their staff liaison for investigation.

At this point in the project, it is not entirely clear to the PHW members who have been following these meetings and series of approvals what is or is not approved work, what is/was/will be subject to stop work orders, and what has been approved. We certainly anticipated the painting of the brick was likely to cause backlash, and that has indeed been the case.

Unlike some other work that has been conducted on the property recently, the painting of the brick did go through the Board of Architectural Review. While PHW members do not endorse the painting, the proposal was done with historic images and traces of paint presented as proof that the building had been painted in the past. At the time of that approval, PHW was under the impression this was an actual restoration, attempting to recreate the exterior appearance of the home as presented in a circa 1905 image.

The paint approved for this application is said to be similar to a lime wash. We are not familiar with this particular brand, but it was stated to be a “breathable” paint in keeping with recommended practices for historic masonry buildings. If the building had to be painted, this was the least objectionable path to take.

We expect to see 119 S. Washington St. return to the Board of Architectural Review again on Thursday, May 18, 2023, 4 PM in Rouss City Hall. If you cannot attend the meeting in person but would like to submit comments about this or any other issue pertaining to the BAR, you suggest you direct written comments to the Planning Department in advance of the meeting.

Second: It is a busy weekend downtown and around the Historic District. We hope that if you are out and about for Kidzfest or Fort Loudoun Day on May 13 (this Saturday!), you will also pop by the Hexagon House between noon and 4 PM for our joint open house with ShenArts. If you came last year, we’ll have a few new displays set up in the first floor of artifacts pertaining to PHW’s history with the Kurtz Building, as well as a half hour video playing on loop during the event. We’ll also be able to sell some of our books and other goodies, have a few mystery photos that we hope you’ll be able to help us ID, and free coloring sheets for kids of all ages. We are planning to be a chill event, and since we’re indoors, we go rain or shine!

Vanished Winchester: The Colonial Theatre

While the front facade of the Taylor Hotel was rehabilitated and now appears much as it did one hundred years ago, a sizeable area in the middle of the lot is now home to the Taylor Pavilion. The next time you visit this space downtown, take a moment to think on the now vanished part of this building and its opulent past.

Sanborn map of 1885, showing the wings of the Taylor Hotel.

Originally the “missing middle” was part of the hotel, with two wings connected by a hyphen with a courtyard between them. After the Civil War, the Taylor fell somewhat from its resplendent past, eventually being closed and converted to a McCrory’s around 1921. What could have been quite a dramatic fall from grace instead allowed for a rehabilitation of the upper floors, re-imagining the space into a theater.

The Colonial Theatre, numbered 129 N. Loudoun St., was built not only for motion picture screening, but also to accommodate plays, musical acts, talent shows, and as a meeting place for organizations and speakers.

This adaptive reuse took some time as expected, but the work was completed in December of 1923, with the grand opening being held on Christmas Day. A. R. Roberts of New York was the supervising engineer. All of the electrical work and supplies were provided by the Butler Electric Company, while the furniture, rugs, and many interior decorations were furnished by P. C. Neidemeyer & Company.

Charles W. Boyer was the manager and lessee of the theater; Claire Dotterer was the resident manager, and Madelyn Hall was named musical director. Miss Dotterer subsequently hired three “usherettes” to assist patrons with finding their seats and providing programs.

The Sanborn map of 1921 shows the plans for the theater and stage scenery (fly tower).

Some of the innovations also included the attention to safety of the patrons. The opening description of the building stated, “Every precaution possible has been adopted to make the Colonial absolutely safe both from fire and panic.” The theater had “eleven exits, each of which is clearly defined in large glowing red letters” so that the “entire theatre could be emptied within five minutes.” Modern fire escapes with electrical lights were installed, fire hoses and chemical extinguishers were on hand, and the stage and the dressing rooms were equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.

We are very fortunate that a full description of the interior at opening was documented in the Daily Independent on December 24, 1923. We will be pulling heavily from this account to describe the Colonial Theatre. Be sure to click the links to visit the Stewart Bell Archives images of the associated descriptions!

“The main entrance of the New Colonial is situated on Main street, immediately north of the entrance to the J. G. McCrory Five and Ten-Cent Stores. A ticket booth is in front of the entrance, on the street, and in the foyer to the right there is a box office for use when road shows are presented.”

“The foyer and lobby and stairway of the New Colonial are imposing in appearance and beautifully decorated and lighted. The side walls and panels have been done in pink and ivory, the wainscoting and panel edges and columns in buff, while the stairway railings are of mahogany and the wooden panelling and interior woodwork is finished in mahogany.

“At the right of the stairway there is a large room which is to be used as a ladies’ lounge and which faces the main entrance on the right. Here a reading room for tired shoppers, whether they be patrons of the theatre or not, has been provided. Upholstered wicker furniture has been installed and the current magazines and newspapers and writing material will always be at the disposal of the public. A restful and comfortable atmosphere pervades the ladies’ lounge. The floor is covered with a velvet rug of old gold and rose.

“Up and down both sides of a wide stairway, which is divided by a mahogany railing, there is rubber matting, and the same material has also been placed on the landing floor above. At the left of the landing are the ladies’ and men’s retiring rooms and the men’s smoking room, while the balcony of the theatre is reached by entrances at both right and left of the landing.”

“Including the balcony and six boxes, it has a seating capacity of one thousand. There is a wide aisle down the middle of the theatre, reaching from the entrance doors to the orchestra pit, with aisles on either side of the immense room.

Detail of the theater ornamentation, photographed by Alan Lehman for the Northern Virginia Daily, March 8, 1995

“The balcony upon which the picture machine is placed extends some distance from the main doors towards the stage. The distance between the picture booth on the balcony and the screen is 110 feet, and the distance from the back of the stage to the orchestra wall is 140 feet, while the theatre itself is 50 feet in width.

“The ceiling is white, decorated in gold and ivory, and the walls are finished in buff and ivory and polychrome.”

“The stage itself is unusually large for a moving picture theatre in a city the size of Winchester, and measures 21 feet, 11 inches from one end of the footlights to the other, and 19 1-2 feet, 12 inches from the footlights to the top of the proscenium arch. When road shows are presented, forty-two sets of lines have been installed to move the scenery and equipment, which is to be of the most modern type.

“The lighting system, both for the stage and for the theatre, is controlled from an electrician’s box which is located back of the curtain, on the left, 12 feet above the stage. The lighting control consists of a dead front switchboard and all interior theatre lighting is both indirect and direct. All the orchestra lights are controlled through dimmers, and this method also prevails with the stage equipment. Throughout the theatre itself both the direct and indirect systems of lighting are used, the suspended ceiling lights being softened by amber shades and the side lights with amber parchment shades.”

The Colonial also had a summer lighting and decor change. In the Daily Independent, 11 June 1924 the writer noted: “The stage has been completely redecorated, the heavy, winter velvet draperies have been replaced by light, cool, airy ones of silk and silver tone cloth. The house lighting has been changed to a delightful blue replacing the amber lights, while on the stage there is absolutely no bright light. The white lights have all been replaced by magenta and blue lights.”

Although we are not completely sure, it appears Charles Boyer retired from operating theaters in 1930.[1] Another story noted in 1926 Marshall Baker took over operation of the Colonial, implying Boyer gave up his Winchester enterprise before his Hagerstown theater. Warner Bros. purchased the theater in 1930 and appear to have been the last owners. The Colonial celebrated a change in showing schedule and admission prices to bring them in line with Warner Bros. policy on December 7, 1931 with a “gala reopening.”

Information on the theatre through its 1930s era is sparse. It is commonly repeated the theatre closed in 1939, which appears to be when the McCrory’s store was altered. A longtime McCrory employee, Betty Kline, relayed the 1939 date to the Winchester Star during an interview on the theater’s history July 12, 1986. It seems likely the theater seating was removed around 1939 to create a store room for McCrory’s, but according to Kline’s memory, the stage lights were still in place when she started in 1941.

Image of the Colonial Theatre space in use as McCrory’s storeroom. Photo by Alan Lehman, Northern Virginia Daily, March 8, 1995.

Dreams of restoring the theater to specialty film showings or conversion to IMAX were floated in the 1990s and 2000s with other downtown renovations. Unfortunately, the long-deferred dream was not to be. After close to a week of heavy rainfall in October 2007, the neglected roof drainage system over the theater collapsed under the weight of the water.

Taylor Hotel Collapse
The fly tower and Colonial Theatre space shortly after collapse, October 2007. Photo by Frank Wright.
Taylor Hotel Roof Collapse
After debris was cleared away, the remnants of the balcony seating area were visible.

Salvaging the theatre was now impossible. In its stead, the removed central portion is now known as the Taylor Pavilion. Sections of the old limestone footers and foundation walls help make a tiered seating area. A small concrete stage area was installed as a nod to the space’s history. PHW was fortunate enough to host our 50th anniversary party there as the first major event in September 2014. The pavilion and event space is a fitting way to honor this once grand theater of Winchester’s past. The next time you are downtown, stop by the pavilion and stand in the pocket park. You just might be able to envision the glittering beauty and pageantry that graced the screen and stage here one hundred years ago.

PHW's 50th Anniversary Party
PHW members finish off the 50th Anniversary celebration under the stars at the Taylor Pavilion, September 2014.

Certain articles referenced in the creation of this blog post are not freely available online for citation but are held in the collection of the PHW Architectural Inventory.

Friday Roundup: May Events at the Hexagon House

Mark your calendars for two events happening at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St.!

First, PHW and the Shenandoah Arts Council will host our second annual open house event on Saturday, May 13, noon-4 PM. This event is FREE and open to the public! Stop by to see both the upstairs and downstairs of the unique Hexagon House and learn about the two nonprofits which call the building home. PHW will have a small temporary display of artifacts from our Kurtz Building era, a visual display focusing on Winchester’s architecture, as well as other hands-on history activities. Light refreshments will be available.

Next, PHW is hosting a book signing by author and architectural historian Maral Kalbian on Friday, May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM at the Hexagon House. Stop by to chat and get signed copies of her newest book, “Clarke County, Virginia: History Though Architecture.” This event is also open to the public.

Kalbian’s book introduces the reader to the first people known to live in the area, guides readers through the development of roads and communities, and explains the architectural styles of its grand estates and humble houses. She addresses all types of buildings and provides an overview of how the surviving architecture reflects Clarkes’ history. Kalbian also separated fact from fiction by tracking down widely held beliefs and finding documented evidence to either support or debunk them. Aware of discrepancies in past historical writings, she double- and tripled-checked some stories in order to give future researchers a better place to start. The book is heavily illustrated and footnoted.

If you can’t make our official open house event, the first floor of the Hexagon House will also be open for visitors that evening. Light refreshment will be offered.

PHW is still accepting award nominations for the 2023 Preservation Awards! Official deadline is end of day on Friday, May 5, but if you are out and about during Apple Blossom weekend, feel free to leave some nomination packets for us at the Hexagon House. You may tuck envelopes in the basket on the back door, or place larger packets in the cabinet on the back porch. Thank you to all the submissions to date. The winners will be announced at PHW’s Annual Meeting in June.

Friday Roundup: Updates and BAR Notes

Oops! If you tried to download the newsletter last week, the file only partially uploaded. The full spring newsletter is now available. Thanks to Dave for spotting the issue!

This week the roof at the Hexagon House got some TLC. We learned during the evaluation process we still have a real tin roof. Although we don’t recommend hanging on to paint cans for this long (keeping your paint swatches and color mixing instructions are sufficient and less hazardous), we were also able to color match the paint from the 1997 work. Our roof looks as good as new. Many thanks to the MSV and Winchester Roofing for helping to keep a roof over our heads (literally)!

As you may have heard, on April 6 there was a Board of Architectural Review application for 119 S. Washington asking for retroactive approval of work done to the exterior of the home, including door replacement and alteration to the fence and walkways. Not all the items were addressed at that meeting, which was continued in the April 20th meeting. As is usual in cases like this where work is done and then it seeks retroactive approval, it is PHW’s position that the work should be evaluated as if it is a fresh application and the design guidelines applied as usual. This was not a case where an owner or tenant could claim ignorance of the BAR process, as he had applied numerous times before for other exterior changes.

This was certainly an unfortunate situation, as certain items (such as the fence and gate “piers”) were approved in a completely different manner that was in line with the historic documentation of the building. PHW was under the impression the owner was aiming to restore the appearance of the home as documented in some ca. 1905 images; the original approvals would have been in line with this work. We understand the most historically-inaccurate of the changes to the sidelights around the front door will be brought back to the BAR at a future meeting with a revision; at this point there is not information on exactly what the sidelights may look like.

The changes to the fence are certainly not our preference from a historic perspective, and while we understand the decision made at BAR it does not make what happened in any way right or excusable. As we often say in cases of demolition, once an item is removed from a home, it is very difficult to restore it; matters become even more complicated when the work encroaches on city sidewalks and rights of way. Removing these items can impact your ability to restore them at a later point.

We also would urge residents in the historic district to embrace some of the quirks of their homes and properties. It is unlikely you will find a perfectly square lot and a perfectly centered house; the quirkiness is part of what attracts many people to older homes. To try to perfect something that has already aged gracefully tends to lead to a feeling of artificiality – certainly the opposite of what we want to encourage in a historic district.

As you think over this situation, we encourage those who have only heard this described second or third hand to review the meetings in question. You may watch the meetings for April 6 and April 20 online through the City’s website and draw your own conclusions. Much of the BAR process relies on good faith cooperation between applicants, staff, and the volunteer board. This was definitely one of the more stressful BAR meetings of recent times, and we thank the City staff and BAR members for working through a very complicated situation to the best of their abilities.

119 S. Washington St. as seen during the 2007 Holiday House Tour.

Friday Roundup: Spring Events

Our spring newsletter is out! Download a copy from our site now – and if you also receive a physical copy from your PHW membership, the links are functional in the PDF version.

Be sure to save the date for our second annual open house event at the Hexagon House! Like last year, in honor of National Preservation Month, the offices of PHW and Shenandoah Arts Council will be open to the public on Saturday, May 13, noon-4 PM. The event is free and open to the public – and yes, the upstairs WILL be open for this event! Stop by to see the house, learn about our organizations, and enjoy some light refreshments.

You may have seen the article in the Winchester Star noting the Willa Cather birthplace is going up for sale. Since the article was posted, the National Willa Cather Center has started a fundraiser to try to purchase this site. If you’d like to contribute, you can find the information on their website. Should the Center be unsuccessful in purchasing the property in Gore, the funds may be repurposed to preserve another Cather-related site.

The City’s April’s workshop, in coordination with the North End Citizen’s Association, will focus on revitalization efforts in the North Kent Street area. The meeting will be held April 22, 2023, 11:00 AM at Old Douglas School (new WPS Admin building), 598 N. Kent Street. City staff will present opportunities, answer questions, and provide an overview of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and how it contributes to the neighborhood. Registration is not required for this workshop. Open to all.

The weather is feeling distinctly springlike! If you’d like to enjoy the great outdoors here in town, join Jim Smith for Saturday nature walks. Registration not required.

Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve: April 15, April 29 and May 13, 8:30 AM, meet at the entrance on Meadow Branch Ave.

Earth Day Walk in Jim Barnett Park: April 22, 9-11 AM, meet in the Rec Center lobby.

Abrams Delight image remix

Friday Roundup: Easter Weekend

The public hearing on the accessory dwelling unit ordinance at Planning Commission Tuesday was well-attended. As you may have heard, the motion was to deny the changes to the ordinance language. One of the sticking points was the inability to say whether a stipulation for a homeowner to be in residence on the property could be added to the ordinance legally (the thought being that without such a requirement it would incentivize landlords to add more rental units on one parcel.) Other potential issues such as requirements for minimum lot size to add ADUs or requirements for all residents to be related were also unable to be answered at the meeting. The ordinance still proceeds to City Council, sometime in May, before the ordinance can be declared officially dead.

Looking to expand your preservation knowledge? The National Trust is offering two upcoming webinar series in April and May. Discovering Our Ancestors and Preserving Historic Gravesites Webinar Series explores issues related to preserving cemeteries. Planning, Preservation, and Change Webinar Series explores planning and preservation issues and opportunities presented by future changes. Learn more and register at their website. There are also links to past webinars if you missed other topics of interest – check it out!

Located! Two of our sharp-eyed readers last week identified the mystery building as Belle Grove. We admit we were thrown off by the landscaping, but a copy of the image is also held at the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, with the photographer listed as Allan Richardson. He took many a photograph at PHW events in the 1970s, and PHW partnered with Belle Grove on activities during this time, so we’re not surprised by the revelation or timing of the photographs, or that PHW has a copy. Thank you to Kristen and Margaretta for the identification!

Assorted Links: Our bookmark tab was looking a bit overgrown again, so we’d like to share some links to articles we found interesting.

Do you need help with alternatives to tearing down historic buildings? This is an archived version of the National Trust website from 2007 which had a number of useful publications and alternatives.

Partitioning the Landscape: The Fence in Eighteenth-Century Virginia From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation comes this exploration of historic fence construction techniques.

Historic preservation and affordable housing are not mutually exclusive. This page, hosted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, features a webinar on utilizing historic tax credit for affordable housing projects as well as supporting written documentation. (It is also a useful primer for anyone looking to utilize Federal Historic Tax Credit in a project, not just for affordable housing – many of the basic points are the same.)

Existing Buildings: The Elephant in the Room. “Existing buildings are a resource for growth. Every city and town in the nation has dozens, hundreds, even thousands of abandoned and partially occupied buildings.”

Two Simple Rules For Healthy Neighborhood Change: “1. No neighborhood can be exempt from change, and 2. No neighborhood should experience sudden, radical change.”

Ever wondered how we estimate walking tour distances? We use this site for a rough estimator.

Spring at the Hexagon House image remix

Friday Roundup: Events and Updates

Nominations are open for a 2023 Preservation Award! We need your help to find projects and people that may have flown under our radar so we can recognize all the good preservation work happening locally. Download the award nomination form and fill in all the information you can about work you’ve seen happening in and around Winchester. You can nominate yourself and there is no limit to the number of nominations you can make. Nominations are due slightly earlier this year – May 5, 2023 – so get started now!

Are you in a quandary researching deeds and land records? Family History Hunters, an informal meeting for genealogists of all levels of experience, might be able to help. The group’s April 13 meeting at the Archives at Handley Library, 12:30-2:00 PM, will discuss deeds and land records. In addition to helping you trace your ancestors’ property holdings, deeds and land records can also be mined for genealogical information. We’ll review where to find land records, how to read them, and what they can reveal about your family.  Registration is required; visit the Handley Library site to reserve your spot!

The Valley Conservation Council has announced ahead of spring planting season resources to find pollinator friendly native plants. If you’re looking to replace plantings on your property this spring, they recommend the Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center tool. The Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will release their Valley and Ridge Native Plant Guide in April. VCC will have copies of the guide for sale in April; contact them at for more information or to pre-order your copy for $15.

Located! The last unidentified slide location in PHW’s collection (mentioned in our Feb. 10, 2023 post) has been positively IDed as partial views of 600 and 620 S. Braddock St. after the demolition of 606 and 610 S. Braddock St. The corner house was demolished following this image and the view toward 620 S. Braddock has been changed by the new construction at South End Fire Company, so this was by far one of the hardest locations we’ve attempted to match up to its current view.

Our next to-do is to locate the home below. We’re not sure when the photo was taken or why, but the house is just familiar enough that we’re fairly certain it is in Winchester. There are two views – if you recognize it or think you know the neighborhood to check out, drop us a note on any of our social media channels!

Unidentified house
Unidentified house

Friday Roundup: Spring Is in the Air

The PHW office is gearing up for our largest membership renewal batch of the year, but before we send renewals by snail mail, we want to reach out to offer the chance for an emailed invoice. We recently upgraded our credit card processing abilities for PHW. If you’d like to help us save some costs for letterhead and stamps, drop us a note at with your desired membership level (individual, family, etc., from our membership form) and any additional tax-deductible contribution you wish to include.

The emailed invoice will have several options for payment, including PayPal (which will let you use your credit or debit card without needing a PayPal account,) Venmo, or an option to download a PDF invoice you can use to send payment by mail. Your email invoice should look similar to this, but may vary by device (click to enlarge the images):

Example online invoice for a $30 Family membership.
An example of the PDF invoice for the same Family membership.

Are you already a subscriber who is on a yearly autopay schedule? You don’t need to do a thing – you’re still all set, and thank you for being an early adopter!

You may have heard the Planning Commission meeting set for March 21 was unable to be held, with a quorum of Commission members not in attendance. This meeting included the public hearing for changes to accessory dwelling structures in the Zoning Ordinance. The public hearings scheduled for that meeting have been moved to the April 4 meeting, also held at 3 PM at Rouss City Hall. If you cannot attend in person to make your statement, remember that you can provide statements in writing prior to the meeting. Find the full list of all contact points for public hearings at the City’s website.

Image remix – enjoying public spaces downtown in spring.