At the Planning Commission on January 16, a motion to initiate text amendments to Article 14, which governs the Historic District and Board of Architectural Review have been proposed. You may wish to check out the proposed amendments online. While this is not a public meeting, you may still wish to offer your thoughts on the text amendments to the Planning Commission.
PHW is generally in favor of attempting to procure alternate members for the Board of Architectural Review. Some of the other minor text adjustments are not concerning. We are, however, concerned that the proposal currently for 14-10-.3 has struck the need for City Council and BAR members to consult prior to an appeal.
The reasoning for the removal of this sentence was stated that during the last several appeals, the consultation has been different each time. PHW would urge that instead of removing this consultation process, a procedure can be codified to make the process consistent. Matters that come before the BAR are often specialized knowledge, so we feel it is helpful to have this process in place so City Council members can understand how decisions were reached from the BAR side. There is certainly other language that could be nitpicked, but this was of immediate concern.
If you have comments on this amendment, you may share them with the Planning Department ahead of the meeting on Tuesday, or keep an eye out for future developments.
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.
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 email@example.com 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):
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.
First, many apologies to Kathy Yereb of Very Merry Mittens, who should have been listed in our “sneak peek” post last week. Her felted mittens and ornaments WILL be available this year at the Bough & Dough Shop!
From Preservation Virginia is the Historic Places Student Art Contest 2022. If you have a child in grades 3-12 (public, private, or homeschooled), they are eligible to participate in this 2D or 3D art contest. This art contest asks students to create a visual representation of an historic structure or place from their community that they think is important to their local identity. These could include any number of historic buildings or structures, such as a former school, library, community center, historic house, or a bridge, or places like cemeteries, green spaces, memorials and more! Art submissions will be due by December 5, 2022 at 11:59pm. For complete details and guidelines about the Historic Places Art Contest, please see the full announcement here. Please submit any questions to Meika Downey, Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see some Winchester places represented!
Last, we’ve been keeping an eye on an upcoming Planning Commission public hearing, set for Tuesday, September 20 beginning at 3 PM. This public hearing will cover the proposed development/redevelopment of the former site of Smalts florists, including the historic 1867 brick dwelling located on George Washington’s out-lot. If you are interested in learning more about this project, you may find the agenda and packet materials on the City’s website. PHW is in favor of retaining the brick structure at approximately 428-432 National Avenue, as it appears to be the oldest remaining house on National Avenue and is an excellent example of Italianate architecture. Although outside the Historic District, it is in a Corridor Enhancement District, and we believe the historic structure will be an appropriate buffer between National Avenue and new construction inside the large Smalts parcel.
We are also getting ready for a large batch of membership renewals for our spring/end of fiscal year push. If you’d like to get in your renewal early, we have an online form you can download and mail in with your check. Otherwise, keep an eye out in early April for the next renewal letter.
We are getting closer to seeing the MSV partnership on some landscaping/exterior improvements happen at the Hexagon House. Our end goal is to have some quality of life improvements for outdoor events here. Many of you are familiar with our usual outdoor setup for the Annual Meeting and the greenery sales at the Bough & Dough Shop and have probably noticed the yard is looking a bit rough. We hope to be able to share more details soon, but any donations made to PHW in memory of Jim Laidlaw are currently being considered for this project. As you may know, Jim and Barbara have been integral parts of PHW’s leadership since the 1970s, and were similarly involved with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Barbara is being consulted and is on-board for the proposed idea.
We have reached out to our local Department of Historic Resources office and confirmed of the 200 motels/hotels surveyed in Virginia, only three are from Winchester/Frederick County. Similar styles have been considered National Register eligible recently. We would recommend viewing the Multiple Property Document for Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels and Hotels for more in-depth architectural history on hospitality-focused buildings. You can also view more collected images and information on the Elms Motor Court at Dead Motels USA. The existing motor court is worth documenting properly at the very least, or perhaps even incorporated into the other adaptive reuse of existing structures planned for the site.
The public hearing for rezoning will take place March 15, 3 PM in Rouss City Hall. You may wish to make statements in writing and submit them before the meeting to the Planning Commission by email via email@example.com.
The PHW Office will be closed on Monday, September 6 for the holiday. We’ll be back on Tuesday!
We’ve had a few questions pertaining to our Holiday House Tour and Bough & Dough Shop calls for help. For our paper bag donation request, we are looking for all sizes of bags, from small gift bags/sandwich bag up to full size paper grocery bags. Any donations are welcome, and can be left in a bin on the back porch of the Hexagon House at any time. For volunteering obligations as a Holiday House Tour docent, plan to have a shift of about two hours during the Sunday tour. You may also have around half an hour to forty-five minutes of script training and house walkthroughs before the event. Docents are NOT expected to memorize scripts. If you have other questions, just let us know!
The Patsy Cline Block Party returns this Saturday, September 4, in the 600 block of South Kent Street! The event takes place between 10 AM and 4 PM. Come out to celebrate Patsy’s life and music, the designation of the Patsy Cline House as a National Historic Landmark, and the tenth anniversary of the event. The block party is free to attend, but house tours, which will begin at 11:30 AM, will cost $5.
The Comprehensive Plan Update open house and public hearing was held August 31. If you couldn’t attend in person, you can still get up to speed before submitting your feedback through the upcoming online form by reviewing the Comp Plan Update materials and watching the presentation and public hearing online. Stop by Rouss City Hall during regular business hours (main floor-Level 2F) to view the open house exhibits through September 14.
As part of our ongoing image captioning project on our social media, the ghost sign for the E. N. Hardy Grocery Store at 300-302 North Kent Street came up in the queue this week. When we spotted the ghost sign and took a quick picture of it in the spring, we didn’t get time to research it. The photo caption project provided the perfect chance to look through the copies of the city directories we have here at the PHW office. Sure enough, we came across one directory entry in 1929 for the 302 N. Kent half of the duplex as the location for E. N. Hardy, grocer. His business appears to have been short-lived, as the 302 side of the building was constructed around 1927, and it was changed to residential use by the time of the 1936 city directory. The grocery business instead moved to the 300 N. Kent half and was operated by Melvin Lewis until about 1962. Thanks to Linda Fiddler for providing her memories of going to the store every day, Stephen Brown for providing the information Melvin and his wife Ruth lived on Woodland Avenue and she worked for Judge Henry Whiting, and Scott Straub for providing Melvin’s draft card confirming he was a self-employed grocer at 300 N. Kent St.
Calling all photographers! The City’s 2022 annual informational calendar photo contest is now open. Click here for the free to enter online submission form. The deadline to submit up to five qualifying photos is November 1, 2021.
We are always surprised to find more photos lurking in our program file folders to scan. This week, we uncovered a sampling of products from Arise Studio, which set up a mobile shop in December 1990 as part of a fundraiser for the Kurtz Cultural Center. The timing of the find was fortuitous, as the fundraiser helped the dedicated Patsy Cline display go into the first floor visitor’s center and gift shop area of the building. Take a peek at the five photos at the top of our photostream, and jog your memory of the display with the photo below!
Comprehensive Plan Update: If you want to see what the Planning Commission is recommending for future land use in the city, stop by City Hall on Tuesday, August 31 at 5:30 pm to talk with staff and review exhibits. At 6:30 pm, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and they want to hear your thoughts. Written comments can be submitted but must be received by 5 pm on August 27 to be provided to the Commission prior to the meeting.
Visit the Public Domain Review for a photo essay Porch Memories by Federica Soletta. As we’ve already touched on here at PHW, porches are uniquely embedded in American architecture and culture. Combining historic images and small vignettes helps bring the photos to life and highlight the porch as a scene of American life.
Some of our best finds in the tracing of historic stories are from the Virginia Chronicle newspaper collections. The Library of Virginia dedicated a blog post to the worldwide tour these scanned and searchable pages take before they become accessible to researchers online.
First, a public hearing on the proposed redevelopment at the corner of Cameron and Piccadilly streets Conditional Use Permit will take place on Tuesday, July 20, beginning at 3 PM in Council Chambers at Rouss City Hall. The CUP was triggered due to the size of the development exceeding by-rights use. If you are interested in making a statement on the project at the Planning Commission public hearing, you may review the submitted materials and staff report at the city meeting portal. PHW will note that according to the staff report, a previously approved demolition request and mitigation of the proposed loss of historic ghost signs on walls lining Baker Street has lapsed. PHW is in favor of retaining these ghost signs as they tell part of the story of the business enterprises in the area and the impact of the railroad on local commerce.
Second, tomorrow, Saturday July 17, is free admission to the MSV and a car show. The car show coordinated by the Shenandoah Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America will feature 60 vehicles at least 25 years old. Families are encouraged to stop by the picnic area next to the garden entrance to pick up a take-and-make car-themed craft and a brochure with a seek-and-find scavenger hunt activity for the gardens. Visitors may also enjoy free admission to several special exhibitions, including Norman Rockwell’s America and the MSV Invitational Outdoor Sculpture Show. The Roaming Bistro and Shaffer’s BBQ food trucks will be on site offering food and drink for purchase from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. We’re excited to see this MSV tradition return this year!
Third, there is a call for proposals for the 2022 Main Street Now Conference. Proposals are due August 13 in three themed categories: Main Streets for the New Economy, Community Preservation and Expression, and Housing and Small-Scale Development. Visit the link for more information and how to submit proposals. Winchester was one of the three test programs for the Main Street Approach, and it may be time for us to show how our downtown is surviving and thriving forty years after the program launch.
We are pleased to inform you our quest last week to help a descendant find a copy of the Keith Williams print “Historic Buildings of Winchester” has borne fruit. Thank you to those who helped and shared stories related to Keith. By a confluence of events, we came across his resume as one of the applicants to the Kurtz Cultural Center RFP in the late 1980s. A select list of Keith Williams’ local projects include: the F&M Banks on Cameron Street and Valley Avenue; alterations and additions to First Christian Church and Opequon Presbyterian Church; renovation and organ installation at First Presbyterian Church; the Religious Education Building at First Baptist Church; the Winchester Church of Latter Day Saints; Robinson Memorial Elementary School and Gibson Elementary School buildings; Fremont Nursery School; the Child Day Care Center for Amalgamated Clothing Workers Health & Welfare Fund; Shenandoah University’s Armstrong Building, Howard Building, Funkhouser Building, Cooley Building, Racey Building, Student Center, Field House (1969), 100-Student Dorm (1972), and Library; showrooms for Molden Electric Company and Pifer Office Supply Company; offices and plant for Perry Engineering Company; Beltone Hearing Aid Center; factories for Monoflo International Inc. and Capitol Records; additions to Fulton Trucking Company and Burger King; the Golf & Country Club; the War Memorial Recreation Center; Country Club Pines Apartment Complex; Prospect Hills subdivision; tennis pavilion and club house complex at Lake Holiday Estates, The Summit; Winchester Seed Processing Plant; two Automatic Soft Cloth Car Washes in Winchester; and an acoustics consultant to John Handley High School renovation. We don’t quite recognize all the location names for his Winchester work and addresses and dates for most were not provided, so if you know any details about the above projects, let us know and we will compile them for our fledgling “architects of Winchester list” we’re developing at the office.
Save the date for the 2021 Holiday House Tour! Current plans are for the daylight tour only on Sunday, December 5, noon-4 PM. Plans and dates for the Bough & Dough Shop are not yet finalized, but we anticipate it will be held at the Hexagon House concurrent with the ticket sale window. All plans subject to change!
Thank you all again for the thoughts and feedback on the tour and shop from 2019. Our tentative dates for the 2020 festivities are the Shop from November 20-December 13, and the House Tours on December 5 and 6. More information on the houses and how to apply for a spot in the Shop will be available as we progress through the year.
If you would like to clean out your closets and cupboards, PHW is willing to accept the following in-kind donation items: Gently used shopping or gift bags (paper or plastic, any size), wrapping material like tissue paper and bubble wrap, large lightweight planters, light strings and clip on spotlights, and wired edge ribbon. You may bring donations to the Hexagon House at 530 Amherst St. or leave a message for more unusual donations at 540-667-3577.
If you would prefer instead to give monetarily to a lasting monument, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is looking to place a monument to the soldiers of Maine killed and wounded at the Third Winchester battlefield. According to the Maine at War blog, this will be the first permanent marker to commemorate the soldiers of Maine who fought in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. There is currently a $1 to $1 matching grant challenge on to push the monument to its final completion. An online donation button is available on the SVBF website, or checks may be mailed to Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Attn: Maine Monument Fund, P.O. Box 897, 9386 S. Congress St., New Market, VA 22844. For more information, please, contact Peter Dalton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-325-0787.
Preservation Virginia is beginning their monitoring and coverage of legislative action in Virginia, including actions on tax credits, conservation easements, cemeteries and historic monuments. They invite you to register today for their Legislative Reception on February 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Hilton Downtown (formerly Miller & Rhoads) in Richmond. That same evening, the Virginia Association of Museums is holding their annual Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Reception at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, also in Richmond.
Via the Forum Connect, you are invited to check out the Architectural Plastics & Polymer Composites in the 21st Century: Design and Preservation of Contemporary & Historic Architecture conference. It will be held on March 28-March 29, 2020 at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts and will cover in-depth a variety of issues surrounding plastics in architecture. Continuing education credits will be available. “Early bird” reduced registration rate is offered up to January 20th. Information and registration form on the conference are available online.
Last but not least, the senior living center planned for 333 West Cork St. will be discussed at the January 21 Planning Commission Meeting, 3 PM in Council Chambers at Rouss City Hall. Review the agenda and documents about the requests at the Winchester City website here.
As the rezoning request of the Amherst Street corridor last week highlighted, Winchester’s local historic district and National Register district currently have different boundaries. What does this mean for property owners? Currently, the Amherst corridor has the regulation of the local Board of Architectural Review, but none of the financial incentives available to other properties that fall within both the local and national districts.
Dave Shore, a Planning Commission member who served on the Historic District committee, said he thought the panel’s intent was to seek expansion of the national district to mirror the local district.
That would provide economic incentives for property owners to improve buildings currently subject to BAR governance but without the fiscal advantages of being in the national district.
The hope is that the incongruities noted in the survey will drive the redrawing of the city’s historic district, potentially contracting the district from “non-contributing” resources and expanding to include contributing resources currently ineligible for tax benefits.
To read more about the potential boundary changes from the architectural and cultural resource survey, visit Vic Bradshaw’s article at The Winchester Star Online. (Login required.)