Friday Roundup: Quick Updates and Links

411 S. Loudoun St.: A number of people have reached out to PHW about this building. It’s too early to say how this may go, but given the interest expressed, we hope it will be possible to find a buyer. If you are contemplating pursuing this property and have not reached out for more information, we will remind our readers you will need to file a Motion to Intervene ASAP to be heard at the upcoming August 28 hearing.

Valley Conservation Council Resources: The VCC shared two updates to their resources page this week. Conservation Resources for Landowners provides general resources for habitat, soil, and water projects. All resources include the counties in which they operate and descriptions of what they can help with.

Native Landscaping Resources provides resources specific to native plant landscaping and pollinator gardens. If you’re looking for a place to start a native plant project, this page is a great resource!

At Home on Main Street: The National Trust for Historic Preservation shared a Q&A on two aspects of a four-part research initiative to provide action-oriented recommendations for thoughtful housing development. In 2021, Main Street America, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, launched the At Home on Main Street (AHOMS) project, funded by the 1772 Foundation, in response to widespread housing challenges in the forms of both housing availability and affordability across the country, including in many Main Street communities. On the Main Street America website, you can read and download “A Report on the State of Housing” and “A Housing Guidebook for Local Leaders.”

Eventbrite Changes: We were notified late yesterday Eventbrite will start charging additional fees to list events with more than 25 tickets on their platform. While we’ve enjoyed the ease of using Eventbrite for digital tickets for the Holiday House Tour the past few years, we will most likely be going back to direct sales on the PHW website. We heard last year some people had issues with checkout through Eventbrite, so fingers crossed our self-hosted checkout option will be more user-friendly. If not, we will always have tickets available at the Bough & Dough Shop at the Hexagon House and in select other locations in Winchester.

Identified: Thanks to Frances and Missy, we feel more confident last week’s photo of Mulvey’s is the rear of Abija Blue, which is modern day street address 16 S. Loudoun. Frances shared that Mulvey’s was owned by the same family that owned the Oxford Shop at 21 S. Loudoun.  The Oxford Shop is now Roma’s – but look above the outdoor seating and you’ll still see the Tudor Revival styling on the building to mark the location.

Identified? This image was taken about the same time as the Mulvey’s photo posted last week. We think this is also a view taken of the back of the Loudoun Street mall buildings from Cameron Street, possibly on the north end of the mall this time. Unlike last week, we don’t see any store signs to help us confirm we’re looking in the right area. If you recognize the buildings and can provide a modern street address, let us know!

Friday Roundup: Preservation News and a History Mystery

The appeal for the fence location approval at 119 S. Washington St. was heard and voted on Tuesday evening at City council. The decision of the BAR for the April 20 approval was upheld, and it was stated Winchester’s Zoning Department has viewed the fence and views it as “substantially compliant” with the April 2023 application in execution. The issue of the design of the entrance gate and piers will likely be heard again at the BAR meeting on July 20 to attempt to address the brick piers design denial.

For those readers and observers who seem very concerned that the appeal process of a BAR decision is endless, we understand – it is frustrating and exhausting for everyone. We will note to PHW’s knowledge and recollection in about the last twenty years of observing BAR meetings, only two petitions for appeals not filed by the original applicant (i.e. neighbors filing an appeal) have successfully made it to the threshold of 25+ signatures with proper documentation. Both times the appeals were successful because of an error in process that was pointed out by the appellants.

City Council also voted Tuesday on amending the language for Substantially Rehabilitated Historic Property to bring the City’s ordinance in line with Virginia Code, as well as add a possibility of 15 year tax exemption. Following discussion, the “step down” approach to the tax exemption was struck from the ordinance, which was the preferred outcome for those working in the redevelopment of historic properties. We hope that this approach can benefit some of the projects in the pipeline, like the ZeroPak Building, bringing it from an underutilized and dilapidated state to vibrant, contributing structures reflecting Winchester’s history.

As you may know if you attended our 59th Annual Meeting, PHW was working on a micro grant program specific to homeowners or nonprofits in Winchester’s National Register Historic District. We have completed the basic application and criteria documents and added a dedicated grants page to our website. We have earmarked $10,000 maximum for our first grant cycle, with an application due date of January 31, 2024.

PHW used the principles outlined at the Community Tool Box website when establishing this program. We hope to stretch the $10,000 across a number of building repairs and quality of life upgrades through the Winchester Historic District and help subsidize needed work on our historic buildings to keep them contributing resources. We see this as a more sustainable and attainable way for PHW to continue improving the quality of the Historic District now that purchases through the Jennings Revolving Fund are rarely achievable.

Since this is the first grant cycle for us and this program, we anticipate lots of questions from applicants. We encourage you to reach out to the PHW office at or through our social media channels for more information – we are likely to compile an FAQ section over the coming months as we learn what our frequently asked questions are.

History Mystery – Solved? In a bit of research off our usual beaten path at the PHW office, it was pointed out that there is Morse code on the Henkel box we keep in our Board Room. It was short enough characters to spell out “Henkel,” so we did a little deciphering to see what the code stood for.

—.. -.-. -.– .-. …-.-

The code translates to 8CYR$. This became another head-scratcher – what did this new code stand for? It was not the right format for a phone number and did not seem related to the furniture business. Some tapping into online databases led to the idea of amateur radio. Amazingly enough, this guess was substantiated with a hit in Amateur Radio Stations of the U.S. in 1924 for Carroll H. Henkel under the call sign 8CYR, based in Martinsburg, WV. This portion of the mystery seems solved, but if you’d like to read more about the history of call signs, we would like to recommend An Overview of Amateur Call Signs Past and Present to see how these numbers were generated almost 100 years ago.

Friday Roundup: Preservation News

It’s been a busy week for preservation items at Winchester City Council, but in a positive way. First, an amendment to Winchester’s Community Development Block Grant Action Plan to allow for historic preservation and rehabilitation was approved. The target area of this grant is likely to be North Kent Street. As the potential activity sites are privately owned, no details were available on Tuesday evening, but North End residents should expect more input sessions in the future.

Similarly, the derelict and blighted property designation for 137 South Loudoun has been continued until May 9 to allow the owners time to present their plans to BAR and show action on remedying the site issues. You may remember plans had been submitted and approved by BAR several years ago, but the owners faced financing complications due to the pandemic. It appears they have rebounded financially and we should see them at a BAR meeting in early April. (This group is also behind the pending rehab at the old Winchester News Stand building on East Piccadilly, and previously rehabbed the Guitar Shop building on South Loudoun.)

PHW was very encouraged to hear on Tuesday that many councilors were mindful of the historic significance of both the South Loudoun Street building and the North Kent Street neighborhood. Older buildings, particularly those that have a long history of community cultural and artistic uses, are deserving of more leeway when repurposing or recovering from disasters and often become points of pride when the projects are completed. We’re definitely encouraged by this fresh perspective on City Council for our historic resources and hope to see it continue.

Researchers, are you looking for a collection of primary sources and classroom activities relating to Emancipation in our area? Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute has launched the Emancipation Celebrations website. There is both a search function if you know what you’re looking for, or a browse collection option if you want to be surprised.

This week is also Flood Awareness Week in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website has information before and after flooding occurs to help you prepare and minimize problems and recover from the aftermath. If you’re curious about other long-range flood or climate change related possibilities, You may also want to visit Lifehacker’s similar article with three additional interactive mapping tools, which also have options for heat, drought, wind, and wildfires.

Image remix of Town Run decked in green for St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate responsibly!

Friday Roundup: A History-Filled Weekend

Recent history researchers, rejoice! Archives of the Northern Virginia Daily published between 1936 to 1963 have been added to the Virginia Chronicle website. We have found the lists of building permits issued to be most helpful in our work as we start to flesh out our files on the 2015 additions to the Winchester Historic District. If you have one of the mid-century buildings constructed in Winchester (or know your home had significant improvements around that time) and were looking for more concrete details, try entering your house number and street name into the search bar in quotations to see what might turn up.

Tim Youmans is wrapping up his work on documenting the history of all the street names in Winchester, and he needs your help for the last fourteen before going to press. If you have information on any of the street names listed below, contact him at or call 540-667-1815, ext. 1415.

  • Brooke Road
  • Bruce Street
  • Douglas Street
  • Grove Street
  • Harrison Street
  • Ivy Street
  • Jones Street
  • Kathy Court
  • Lewis Street
  • Melvor Lane
  • Robyn Terrace
  • Sumpter Court
  • Tower Avenue
  • Wyck Street

Along similar lines, PHW was contacted about the possible existence of John Marvin papers or diaries. Marvin ran a school on Sharp Street (the school building at 219 Sharp Street still stands) and also acted as a weather observer. A researcher is hoping that Marvin may have further observations on weather during the Civil War that are as yet unknown. If you know of any leads on Marvin, or on other privately-owned diaries with weather observations around 1860-1865, get in touch with PHW at and we’ll connect you to the researcher.

Handley 100th – Anniversary Book Photo Sharing Day is taking place Saturday, March 11, 10 AM-1 PM at 1360 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. If you have any interesting memorabilia including candid pictures, a uniform from athletics, a special sweater, class ring, club award or other items pertaining to the history of Handley High School, bring your items to Hollingsworth Mill, behind the Visitor’s Center. There, they will photograph or scan your items and receive information, including owner’s name and year used. If you can’t make the event, photos may also be submitted at the linked website.

If you need to take a break after all the history-mysteries, Celtic Fest returns to downtown Winchester this weekend, noon-9 PM. Kick off St. Patrick’s Day early by visiting Old Town Winchester to explore various venues for food, drink, live music, cultural displays, dancing, retail sales, artisan vendors, and more. Visit the Old Town Winchester site to find all the participating vendors and activities.

Downtown Winchester image remix

Friday Roundup: History Mystery Edition

Welcome to October! It seems the spooky season is uncovering all kinds of unsolved mysteries, and we have three to share this week:

PHW was recently approached for further information concerning 225 Sharp St. This is a frame addition to a ca. 1830 (possibly as old as 1822) brick house. The frame addition was part of our image caption project for social media, at which time we tentatively identified the owner at the likely time of the construction as George E. Bushnell. In searching for further information on the owner, we learned he was a druggist (or pharmacist) in Winchester, but to our surprise it appears he passed away in 1898, probably before the frame addition was constructed. We can confirm by the 1920 census it was being used as a rental for Ida and Westley Washington and their family. If you know of any specific history tidbits or timeline concerning this structure, please let PHW know at so we can pass the information along to the requester.

On a similar note, we were asked if there was any specific name for the area near the Piccadilly/Kent St. railroad crossing. We have looked through some older maps and accounts of Winchester as a young town, and in general that area around Piccadilly seems to have been referred to as “the northeastern end of town” at least until the early 1900s and the construction boom along National Avenue pushed the edge of town further east. That intersection comprises lots 47, 48, 65, and 66 of the 1752 plan of Winchester, and the original owners of said lots were identified as Andrew Fretty, John Steward, and — Bush, respectively (with Bush owning two parcels). None of these names seem to have stuck to the land parcels through the centuries. Looking at real estate records sometime reveals tract names from subdivisions; the closest we could find was reference to the Virginia Woolen Mill. Although no specific and catchy name like Potato Hill or Virginia City has stuck in the printed literature, do you call this area anything in particular?

While doing this and other research on Piccadilly Street, we came across a mention in the May 14, 1925 Daily Independent newspaper that Harry Gardiner, “The Human Fly,” was set to climb the Piccadilly side of the George Washington Hotel as a fundraiser. The attempt was indeed successful, though it is unclear how much money his stunt raised for the American Legion. From the coverage the Monday following the event:

George Washington Hotel
The Piccadilly side of the George Washington Hotel scaled by Harry Gardiner, “The Human Fly.”

“A large crowd of people gathered on Market [Cameron] and Piccadilly streets Saturday night to witness the climbing of the walls of the George Washington Hotel by Harry Gardiner, the human fly. Mr. Gardiner ascended the Piccadilly street side of the hotel, and when he had almost reached the roof of the hotel, the spectators stood in breathless excitement, wondering how he would be able to climb to the roof, but they soon spied a rope dangling a few feet from the roof, by which Gardiner climbed to the top of the hotel. The Citizens’ Band, who donated their services, gave a beautiful concert in front of the hotel before the climbing act took place. The affair was held under the auspices of the R. Y. Conrad Post of the American Legion, and the amount of money taken up and for the benefit of the building fund.” – Daily Independent, May 18, 1925

From a quick peek at other newspapers, it appears Harry Gardiner’s building-climbing skills were employed at other hotels in Virginia and West Virginia in the 1920s, many under the auspices of fundraising for American Legion chapters. It does not appear a full list of his climbing exploits have been compiled yet, but perhaps this chance find will spark a bit more interest and investigation into this once famous stuntman.

Friday Roundup: South Loudoun Street Demolitions and African American Genealogy

PHW has reviewed the preliminary structural reports for 411 and 514-520 South Loudoun Street this week. From our reading and conversations, we believe 411 South Loudoun is able to be rehabilitated following some selective (not total) demolition to the rear of the structure. The main block of the house facing Loudoun Street appears to be relatively sound and the issues found are common enough to correct. The rear wing is more deteriorated primarily through water damage, but reconstruction or a new addition to the rear of historic buildings is an acceptable and common way to repurpose historic buildings for new uses and needs.

514 S. Loudoun
514-520 S. Loudoun, circa 1976

The townhouses at 514-520 South Loudoun are more deteriorated, but we would like more information from the completed structural reports. Again, it sounds like water and lack of maintenance were the primary sources of deterioration. One of the issues we have circled back to many times at PHW during discussions involving these properties is the unique character of the townhouse facades. While there are a few townhouses of a similar style in Winchester, none have quite the same “San Francisco” feeling as these units with their walk-in basements. One idea that may be worth exploring for the townhouses is a facadectomy, wherein the facade (the most architecturally interesting portion of the building) is retained, and an entirely new structure is built behind. This approach may be particularly useful in this case because the interior of the building may be difficult to work with for modern conveniences, as the units are reported to be very narrow, dominated by staircases, and the rooms quite small inside.

In either case, for both structures, there is no plan by the applicant to rebuild. Philosophically, PHW is opposed to demolition that leaves holes in the streetscape. Given the slow pace of action of these properties throughout almost the entire existence of PHW as an organization, we have little hope should this demolition be approved that anything will be built on this land within the next fifty years. We urge the applicant to finally relinquish these properties to other entities who are willing and able to proceed in meaningful action instead of continuing a slow and painful demolition by neglect.

If you would like to make a statement on these properties, the public hearing for demolition is scheduled for August 18, 4 PM at Rouss City Hall.

In other news, we also watched this presentation from the Thomas Balch Library on African American Genealogy this week. While this is focused on Loudoun County and some of the search resources are not available for Winchester, it can provide ideas for alternative lateral research avenues. If you are on the hunt for more information, you may wish to check out the Virginia Untold website to start or flesh out your search.

Friday Roundup: Living History, Grant Webinars, and the Winchester Regional Airport

Are you heading downtown tomorrow, July 23? You may want to stop by the Old Frederick County Courthouse at 5 PM, reenactors will have a living history program to recreate the July 24, 1758 election of George Washington to Virginia’s House of Burgesses. All four candidates plus other top figures involved in the 1758 election will be on hand. The reenactment is sponsored by Jim Moyer, the French and Indian War Foundation, the Capt. George Mercer Company of Col. George Washington’s Virginia Regiment and the Virginia Beer Museum in Front Royal.

Preservation Virginia is offering two upcoming webinars cover state and federal grant opportunities as well as ways to cultivate individuals and private foundations. The webinars are paid events, but scholarship opportunities are available. Contact Sonja Ingram at for more information.

Webinar 1: State Grant Opportunities (July 26, 6-7:30 PM)

Do you have questions about applying for statewide grant programs or private foundations? Panelist from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will provide an overview of state grants currently available for physical “bricks and mortar” preservation projects, including the new Virginia Black, Indigenous and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund and the Commonwealth History Fund. The program will also discuss other avenues for fundraising, such as approaching private foundations and cultivating support from individuals. Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan, Community Outreach Manager at Preservation Virginia, will moderate the discussion. 

Webinar 2: Federal Grant Opportunities (July 28, 6-8 PM)

Dig deeper into the application process to understand how to prepare and what you need to apply for federal programs. Megan Brown from the National Park Service and Lawana Holland-Moore from the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss grants administered by their organizations, including National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grants and Underrepresented Communities Grants and the National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Preservation architect Joseph (Jody) Dye Lahendro will discuss the details of application requirements, like establishing historic significance and identifying the project scope, phasing and costs to support and justify grant requests. 

You might have heard about the upcoming expansion at the Winchester Regional Airport. By happenstance while filing other newspaper clippings in PHW’s daunting backlog of uncatalogued items, we came across some articles on the 1988 expansion plans. From the August 13, 1988 editorial column by Tim Thornton, a few select quotes on the history of the airport and the vision for the new terminal:

“A patchwork of hangars and offices constructed in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, the present [1988] terminal is small — about 1,900 square feet by Mr. Wiegand’s reckoning — and it’s showing its age. . . . . Plans for a new terminal — a two-story building with a restaurant — were drawn up in 1983. In 1987 the plan called for a $335,000, 4,000 square foot terminal.”

“The Authority envisions a W-shaped terminal with a waiting area to accommodate 39 people, a pilot lounge, a concessions area, a flight planning room, administrative offices, and a reception area. . . . . The design also includes a 400-foot observation tower that would be required for passenger flights.”

According to the Frederick County Tax Map, the existing terminal was built in 1989 and is 9,248 square feet.

Airport Terminal Faces Razing or Renovation
The previous “patchwork” terminal, as seen accompanying a May 10, 1988 article that ran in the Winchester Star.

Out of the Past: July 5, 1901

Many thanks to Dr. John Chesson, who turned over a handful of old Winchester Evening Star newspapers found in the Samuel Noakes House during its rehabilitation. We wanted to take you back in time to July 5, 1901, to see what was up in Winchester and environs. We felt these short notes with history of construction, houses, or notable historical names were most likely to be of interest to our readers:

Building New Barns: The spirit of improvement has taken possession of the neighborhood south of Nineveh. Two of the most prosperous farmers of that vicinity, Messrs. Oscar McKay and Wesley Le Hew, are building fine barns.

Tripped by a Dog: Virginia, the interesting little daughter of Mr. John L. Smith, the well known tobacco salesman, met with a painful accident near Hotel Evans last night. She was running across the street and, in attempting to avoid a carriage, tripped over a dog, falling to the street and cutting and ugly gash in her chin. Dr. W. S. Love dressed the wound.

Selection From Florodora: Yesterday morning the Eddy Brothers relieved the monotony of East Water street by giving an informal open-air concert with the phonograph. This is one of the largest and best machines on the market, and the Messrs. Eddy make it a point to have only the best records. The popular duet from Florodora: “Tell me pretty maiden are there any more at home like you?” caught the audience. Very few of us have had the pleasure of witnessing this opera which is all the rage in New York at present, but we can appreciate its excellence by hearing the duet on the phonograph. [Editor’s Note: The Eddy Brothers ran a printing

Leaves Property Conditionally: The will of the late Charles H. Harrod, colored, has been admitted to probate. He owned several small houses and leaves one on the alley back of Kent street to his sister, Eliza Harrod and a share in another to his brother, John Harrod. The property is left to them conditionally.

Contractor Shull has put down a very creditable curb on the north side of Rouss avenue.

Public Sale: J. M. Steck and A. J. Tavener, special commissioners, will sell “Jennie White” Springs property, located near Mt. Williams, containing about 35 acres July 8, 1901, at the Court House in Winchester. See handbills for terms, description, etc.

Valuable Suburban Property: For sale or exchange a fine house and 5 1/2 acres of land situated about one mile from town on the Northwestern Grade, and known as the Taggert House. House contains ten rooms with hot and cold water in bath. Also valuable farm for sale. Apple to Warren Rice. [Editor’s note: This appears to be roughly in the vicinity of the intersection of Amherst St. and Meadow Branch Avenue.]

169 Years Old: John Jones, while working at the new Shenandoah Valley Bank site, found a Spanish coin in a good state of preservation, dated 1732.

Lightning Shocks Mr. Conner: During the short electrical storm yesterday afternoon, Mr. J. Wm. Conner, the plumber, received quite a shock. He was at work extending the gas main on Stewart street, when the lightning zigzagged along the pipe and his arms were numbed for a while. The effects passed off soon and no harm resulted.

How to Search Census Records

If you are researching a family connected to a place, one of the first stops to glean more information is the census records. The records are available several places online, but the easiest option for armchair research if you have a Handley Regional Library card is HeritageQuest Online. Input the barcode number from your library card and you can search records from 1790-1950 in a variety of ways. Aside from the obvious searches for family names, here are some tips when tracking down something you know should be there but you can’t quite find.

1. Change your census year!
If you know from oral histories, deeds, or city directories your targets should have been at a location spanning at least two census collection dates but they aren’t appearing in one year, try the next year in your search results. You may be able to use some information on the second census to help you circle back to the first.

2. Search for a neighbor!
If you know the names of the neighbors to a property you are researching and they are more unique than “John Smith,” try searching for them instead. The census recorders usually went street by street or block by block, and by paging forward or backward from the neighbor’s entry you may find your target street and house number in the margins.

3. Try the residence number search!
Not all census records have this option, but if it’s available and you don’t have any other leads to try first, it will save more time than flipping through the records blindly. We’ve noticed the street names are often the worst for the record transcribers to get right because they are squashed in the margins, so you may have to get creative if you try this search option.

4. Double check your location!
More than once I’ve found myself ticking the wrong ward or district box, or even the wrong Winchester from the autocomplete suggestions. Don’t forget that some buildings that are firmly in the city today were originally in Frederick County (this goes for deed searching, too!).

5. But be aware…
There are some gaps in the census records – the 1890 census is one of the victims of record destruction, for example. The very earliest censuses only recorded the head of household’s name and a tally of others in the home by age, sex, and race. Some recorded places of birth; others recorded occupations. The forms were tweaked every time for whatever information was deemed relevant to capture at that point.

6. Go beyond the basics!
Sometimes you just can’t quite get the research to come together as you hope. Heritage Quest has also put together a collection of Research Aids to help you think of some other avenues of research, or ways to put the results you found to better use.

Happy researching!

Friday Roundup: Upcoming Events and Virginia Tourist Courts

The Winchester-Frederick County Tourism Office will host the next Newcomers Event on Thursday, April 7 from 5-7 pm at the Visitor Center. Are you new to the area or just want to learn more about our beautiful and vibrant community? Stop by and enjoy this free, casual event. Representatives from the City and County governments and parks and recreation departments, the Discovery Museum, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Handley Library, local destinations/museums, Winchester Area Newcomer’s Club, and more will be present.

As part of the Community Conversations Series, Councilors Kim Herbstritt and John Hill will host a Community Cleanup on Saturday, April 9 at 8 AM at Shawnee Springs (behind Mt. Carmel Church on Pleasant Valley Rd.), Friendship Park (end of N. Pleasant Valley Rd. across from Friendship Fire Station), and N. Cameron & N. Loudoun Streets (Rescue Mission and north to railroad tracks). Volunteers needed – bags, gloves, and pickers will be provided.

Grants from the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns are intended to encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects in small towns. These grants help stimulate public discussion, enable local groups to gain the technical expertise needed for particular projects, introduce the public to preservation concepts and techniques, and encourage financial participation by the private sector. Grants range from $2,500 to $15,000. Apply by May 2.

In our ongoing work sparked by the Elms on Valley Avenue, we have been researching the proliferation of short-term tourist accommodations in Virginia in the early to mid-twentieth century to provide background context for the site. In William Couper’s History of the Shenandoah Valley published in 1952, the author states: “Tourist courts, at times called motels and somewhat similar terms, have become so numerous in the Valley that a pamphlet listing them and their advantages and accommodations has been published by the Virginia Tourist Court Association, Incorporated” (p. 1186).

In a prepared statement in 1951, the Association outlined how their model of business was substantially different from rental housing and commercial hotels: “Though tourist courts possess some of the characteristics of ordinary rental housing and some of the characteristics of commercial hotels, they are different in very substantial respects from both . . . . Tourist courts, unlike ordinary rental housing, cater only to transients and, unlike commercial hotels, they cater only to transients traveling by private motor vehicle. Persons traveling by train, airplane, bus, or ship do not patronize tourist courts. Further, the tourist court, because of its location usually far distant from the business centers of large cities, does not appeal to the average commercial traveler. It is designed for and seeks its patronage among motoring vacationists.” [1]

This reasoning falls in line well with the development patterns of tourist courts and similar establishments. Hand in hand with the rise of the automobile, Winchester and its many scenic roads were often included in vacation guides geared to the automobile owner. Starting in at least the late 1920s, various groups concerned with tourism and travel along the highways passing through town partnered with other localities to drive more visitors here to experience our scenery, history, and of course, the Apple Blossom Festival. Winchester was often touted as the perfect overnight destination on these two or three day road trips.

No timeline accounting for the rise and fall of motels in Winchester and nearby Frederick County exists (yet), though incidental research of buildings throughout town reflects larger single family dwellings often being utilized as rooming houses or tourist homes in the early 1900s to 1940s. A 1967 business census lists 17 tourist courts, motels, and similar in Winchester, and 18 in Frederick County [2].

Documentary images of the remaining Elms “Cottages” may now be seen at our Flickr account.

Elms Motor Court