Out of the Past: Apple Blossom Articles

We hope you are staying safe and healthy as you celebrate Apple Blossom this year. At PHW, we are doing what we do best – finding interesting historical tidbits to share. This week, we are focused on the festivals of yore. Enjoy the apple blossom themed poem and articles highlighting some past blooms that we have found, and be sure to click the article links to see the original newspaper sources. All are available on the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle archive.


Miss Margaret Thors, Apple Blossom Queen 1949. Image published in Recorder, Number 15, 15 April 1949.
When It's Apple Blossom Time In Old Virginia 
When it’s apple blossom time 
In old Virginia and the bees 
Are busy buzzin’ in the many 
Many million apple trees, 
I’m going to crank my old jalopy 
And go chugging everywhere 
To see the beauty of the orchards 
And to breathe the scented air; 
And the mocking bird a-singing 
In a blooming apple tree is just 
A pleasure worth the trouble 
Going miles and miles to see, 
It’s just a satisfying sight for 
All—though be they old or young— 
To see the beauty and to hear 
The sweetest music ever sung. —W. B. Dennis.

Virginia Star, Volume 29, Number 43, 15 April 1948

Apple Blossom Fete Program: Fifth Annual Festival Offers Many Attractions on Thursday and Friday. Winchester, May 2.—The official program of the fifth annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival here May 3 and 4, announced Monday by Ray Robinson, director-general, provides for entertainment of visitors almost continuously. Apple orchards came through the big week-end snowstorm undamaged and it is expected that the buds will be open for the event. It has been estimated by Federal and state horticulturists that there are 11,000,000 trees in the commercial orchards of the district, embracing the Blue Ridge country from around Adams county, Pennsylvania, southward to Roanoke, Va. reached by good roads. (Virginia Star, Volume 9, Number 46, 3 May 1928)

APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL OPENS: Leaden Skies of Early Morning Give Way to Bright Sunshine As Queen Shenandoah IX Reviews First Parade of Human “Apple Blossoms.” WINCHESTER, Va., May 4.-(AP)— Leaden skies of the early morning broke and made way for bright sunshine which cast a golden lustre over the hillsides and valleys as the ninth annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival was inaugurated today. A parade of “human blossoms,” 5,000 school children of Winchester, nearby counties in Virginia and West Virginia opened the event. Miss Helen Ames Washington of Philadelphia, as Queen Shenandoah IX, reviewed the parade from a specially constructed stand. With her was Paul Claudel, French ambassador, who was selected to place the crown of apple blossoms on her head this afternoon. (Suffolk News-Herald, Volume 10, Number 38, 4 May 1932)

APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL LARGELY ATTENDED. Winchester, Va., May 6.– This city was slowly settling down to a normal pace this week following two days of pageantry and festivity in celebration of the 17th annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom festival here last Thursday and Friday. A crowd estimated at 50,000 lined the streets Friday to witness the grand finale event of the celebration– “The Trail of the Pink Petals,” a grand feature parade that wound over a five mile route and lasted for two hours. Heading the procession, as befitted her regal capacity, was Senorita Lillian Somoza, daughter of the president of Nicaragua, who Thursday was crowned Queen Shenandoah XVII by Dr. Henry F. Grady, Assistant Secretary of State. (Southside Sentinel, Volume 44, Number 51, 16 May 1940)

Blossom-less Blossom Festival Scheduled. A blossom-less Shenandoah Apple Blossom festival will go on, as scheduled May 2 and 3 in Winchester. Thursday, the national apple blossom majorette contest was scheduled at 10 a. m., with the coronation of Queen Shenandoah XXX at 2:30 p. m. “In All Generations,” a pageant written and directed by Dr. Garland R. Quarles, presentation times are 3 p m. Thursday and 10:30 a m. Friday. Thursday evening festivities include a firemen’s parade at 6 p. m., a fireworks display and a ground display of a Jamestown 350th anniversary scene at 3 p. m., at 9 p. m. a square dance, and at 10 p. m. the queen’s ball. Seven high school bands will spark the parade and upwards of 20,000 people are expected to see it. (Farmville Herald and Farmer-Leader, Volume 66, Number 64, 3 May 1957)

Friday Roundup: Two Grants, Mutual Assurance Policy Database, and Dr. John S. Lupton

Pink Dogwood at the Hexagon House
Pink dogwood is in bloom in the backyard of the Hexagon House.

This week, PHW was informed of two upcoming grant opportunities from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. First, do you live in a town of less than 10,000? Your project may be eligible for the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns. Funds range from $2,500 to $15,000 and applications are due May 3.

Second, applications are now open for the June round of the National Trust Preservation Fund Grants. Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for planning and education projects. Grants range up to $5,000 and applications are due June 1. Find the online eligibility guidelines and application here.


We have completed the database entries for all the Winchester Mutual Assurance Policies that are in hard copy at PHW’s office. The database has been added to our Google Drive if you are curious to see our holdings. While we had previously assumed our policies were identical to the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, that is not the case. We lack many of the earliest policies, but have a number of others extending into the 1860s. We used the information from the Archives database as the starting point and modified certain entries to update potential addresses of properties. The updates came through using the adjacent property owners listed in the policies and cross referencing the footnotes in Russell’s “What I Know About Winchester.” In general, the Archives may have copies of the pages PHW does not own. Information may still not be 100% accurate or complete, and only the Winchester holdings in PHW’s collection were indexed. You can also check out the Library of Virginia for more finding tools related to these records.


Last, as we noticed the apple trees blossoming around town, we felt it was a fortuitous time to share a story on Dr. John S. Lupton, credited as the pioneer of the local orchard industry. He was the owner of a particular plot of land we have been researching in downtown Winchester, which led to a bit of newspaper archive reading. One article in particular stood out for painting a picture of the early struggles of a fledgling apple orchard (other articles specify his apple of choice was the Newtown pippin). The article states:

“In all that has been said about Frederick county’s great apple industry, little note has been taken of the men behind it — those who bore the brunt of the early campaign and who were at times in danger of becoming penniless should their fruit fail of expectation. In this connection it is no exaggeration to call Dr. John S. Lupton the “grand old man” of the apple industry. . . . At times the future seemed black and hope almost blasted, but he persevered, with the splendid result of today, when he can look out upon prolific trees and his wide acres of fruit. . . . It is a known fact that he went hungry and ragged and sacrificed his credit before that orchard came into bearing, and had it been one year later bringing forth its fruit, he would have been a financial wreck. . . . However, when he realized handsomely from his orchard (which is now thirty-four years old) what numbers were ready to profit by his experience: for in the wake of the orchards followed the cooperages, cold storages, heavy shipments of fruit etc., with the employment of labor that all these industries mean, and what business man of Winchester, whether he be liveryman, hotel keeper, merchant, banker or professional man has not felt the benefit to the community of this fruit industry? The apple business brings money to those who were fixtures here, hence the money is spent right at home. So it is perhaps not putting it too strongly to say that no man deserves more credit for the material development of our community than Dr. John S. Lupton.”

Read Father of the Fruit Industry in Shenandoah Herald, November 17, 1905 (republished from Winchester News).

Friday Roundup: Community Survey, HTC-GO, and the Frankfurt Kitchen

Have you taken the City’s new Community Survey? The results will be part of the 2021 Strategic Plan update, which will guide the City’s future decision-making process for the next five years. Be sure to get your feedback in by April 30.


It’s been making the rounds in preservation circles, and PHW agrees: Urge Your Representative to Cosponsor HTC-GO! Last week, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced a new version of the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO) in the House of Representatives. It includes temporary tax provisions that will bring relief to projects impacted by the pandemic and permanent provisions that will add value to the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), improve access to the credit and increase investment in smaller rehabilitation projects. Introduction of companion legislation in the Senate is expected soon. Locate the name and phone number of your House Representative at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. In your outreach, please share the HTC-GO Fact Sheet as a link or attachment.


Last, for a bit of history on modern kitchen design, we invite you to visit Open Culture’s article “Discover the First Modern Kitchen – the Frankfurt Kitchen – Pioneered by the Architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky (1926).” Much of what we experience in a kitchen today was influenced by her assembly-line, efficiency-minded innovations. Be sure to watch the embedded videos to see the kitchen layout and the famous “golden triangle” between the sink, countertop, and stove in action!

Watch the Frankfurt Kitchen on YouTube (with German title cards).

Friday Roundup: Battlefield Grant and Tree Maintenance

We were notified of a  Battlefield Interpretation Grant opportunity from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (NPS ABPP). These grants are to fund projects that use technology to enhance battlefield interpretation and education. Eligible sites include those associated with the American Revolution, War of 1812 or the Civil War. These competitive grants are open to state, local, and tribal governments, other public entities, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. Eligible activities are diverse and may include content development, consultation with stakeholders, audience research, fabrication and installation, costs associated with Section 106, and more. This grant requires a non-federal cost share of at least 50%.

The application deadline is May 5, 2021. The funding announcement and application materials are available on Grants.gov. For more information, head to the NPS ABPP website or check out this informational webinar on Battlefield Interpretation Grants. Contact abpp@nps.gov for assistance or questions.


As you may have seen, we lost one of the mature white pine trees behind the Hexagon House in the high winds of last weekend. Luckily, the tree did not fully fall after cracking near the base, as it was propped up by a second large pine tree. We were very fortunate that no damage was caused to the house, grounds, or neighbors, and the tree was removed safely. This prompted us to find some articles on maintenance and care of historic trees that so often accompany our historic homes:

Preserving history: What you need to know about historic tree and site care: Interview with Sam Hill in 2019 on historic tree care and maintenance, with an eye toward issues related to caring for such trees on historic sites.

Considering trimming or getting rid of an old tree? Not so fast. “Ultimately, the fate of an old and compromised tree comes down to the owner’s comfort level for risk or to the sentimental attachment to the tree.”

Tree Care – Best practices from Historic New England experts: Explore the White Papers on various tree and shrub related policies and practices (scroll down for additional landscape topics as well).


In PHW Office news, we have completed recreating the hand-colored 1897 Sanborn maps that were used for the meetings with City Council to establish the Winchester Historic District. The close examination of the map was fascinating and an intriguing look into the diversity of Winchester businesses and dwellings close to the turn of the 20th century. Our next project, spurred by a research request, is organizing our Mutual Assurance Society photocopies into a more searchable format for future research requests. These insurance policies are some of the only ways to explore now vanished buildings in the era before Sanborn maps documented the core downtown.

Daffodill Along the Trail
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Friday Roundup: Share Your Knowledge!

George Washington's Office
Spring cherry blossoms are out at the George Washington Office Museum on the corner of South Braddock and West Cork streets.

We have been working on a few items behind the scenes at PHW, and we could use some extra input on a few topics that are proving elusive or could be better tackled with multiple minds and research angles. If you can contribute anything, please drop us a note at phwinc.org@gmail.com!


The identity of John Mann: While his name is well-remembered because of his connection to the John Mann Church, details about the man himself are sketchy at best. He is believed to have resided in Winchester and served as the pastor for the black freedmen in the Methodist church from 1815-1861. The researcher who approached us has not been able to locate John Mann in census records or death registers, or in the records of the Market Street Church (the parent church for the John Mann congregation prior to Emancipation). Our own searches into newspapers and court records have only turned up the “new” information of a suit linking John Mann and Thomas Stump, but the actual court documents from Frederick County for many of these cases have not yet been added to the online chancery files. The newspapers and chancery cases indicate there may be a Leesburg/Loudoun County connection to John Mann as well. If you would like to further explore these chancery items, we have been looking for items of interest using the surname “Mann.” Be prepared to read cursive!


Historically or architecturally interesting buildings in Winchester: This week, we have been exploring the history and reasoning behind the handful of designated landmark buildings of Winchester. While we have received the answer to why (and the broad reasoning behind the inclusion of most buildings in said list), an adjacent question arose. Are there other historically or architecturally significant buildings or sites that lie outside of Winchester’s local and/or National Register Historic Districts? The question is specific to the City of Winchester (so no Frederick County sites) but the qualities that would make a place significant can be fairly subjective. If you have ideas of a site that could be worth landmark status outside the Historic District, drop us an email.


PHW Preservation Award nominations: As you know, last year PHW did not present preservation awards at our truncated Annual Meeting. We are tentatively hoping to host awards this year in June, and as such, the award nomination form has been updated. Projects completed between June 2019 to May 2021 are eligible for this combined round of recognition. Awards are open to BOTH Winchester City and Frederick County. People or projects may be nominated by anyone (including the potential award recipient or family member) AND you may nominate an unlimited number of projects. Applications DO NOT need to be complete, but should at least have enough identifying information that the project can be further discussed by the award committee. Return applications or suggestions to PHW, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601 or by email at phwinc.org@gmail.com. Applications should be sent by May 28, 2021 for consideration for a 2020 or 2021 award. Thank you!

Friday Roundup: Women’s History Month

Annual Meeting 1979
Katie Rockwood at PHW’s 15th anniversary year meeting.

March is women’s history month, and PHW’s past is filled with women who believed in Winchester’s architecture and sought to improve the quality of our historic downtown. Perhaps none did more for PHW in our founding years than Katie Rockwood. Before PHW had an executive director, it had Katie, who worked tirelessly coordinating the original publication of Winchester: Limestone, Sycamores & Architecture. Her coordination skills were also utilized in the 1976 architectural survey of Winchester (plus a few add-on surveys after the fact) that guided the National Register of Historic Places listing for Winchester’s Historic District, PHW’s targeted areas for the Jennings Revolving Fund, and Board of Architectural Review decisions. Much of the basis of the historic walking tours of Winchester still in use today came from her pen. Schools benefited from her knowledge and enthusiasm for Winchester’s buildings in their teaching curricula. She coordinated countless events and touched countless lives as she moved with grace and dignity through the often fraught trials of saving importance places for fifteen years.

Due to her importance to PHW, she features in a number of our history of PHW blog posts previously written. If you would like more details on some of the items she worked on, you may wish to read:

Surveying for the Historic District

PHW Is Gifted the Lozier House

PHW’s 15th Anniversary

Architectural Walking Tours Shed Light on the Downtown

The Assessments of Downtown

The Baldwin House, 522 S. Loudoun St.

PHW and Winchester lost Katie at the tragically young age of 44. To help keep her memory alive, a memorial fund was started in 1991. In 1996 PHW named its preservation award for outstanding work on a Jennings Revolving Fund property in her honor.

From the Winchester Star editorial on April 11, 1991 following her funeral: “Those of us who know Mrs. Rockwood only by that work [in historic preservation] cannot truly share in the grief of her friends and family. But the whole community — those of us who live here now and those who will live here in the future — will share in and benefit from her legacy.”

Friday Roundup: Preservation Advocacy Week and Historic News Stories

Preservation Advocacy Week -2021, hosted by Preservation Action & National Conference of SHPOs, is going virtual on March 8 – 11, 2021. In-depth advocacy training, policy briefings, networking opportunities for Historic Tax Credit advocates will take place March 9th. Participants will be able to participate in virtual Capitol Hill visits March 10th. Registration is now live, and to participate in Capitol Hill visits, please register as an “advocate.” If this is your first time participating in the conference, please email Michael Phillips at mphillips@ntcic.com to assist in connecting you with appropriate registration links and individuals coordinating the conference.


The recent snowy weather is ideal for doing some reading in historic news articles. Like any good treasure hunt, you never know what you might find when you start a general search. While some searches turned up nothing, we stumbled across a deep rabbit-hole of stories related to the Hotel Evans on Piccadilly Street while attempting to find information on the Hotel Evans of Sharp Street. If you would like to follow the saga of attempted murders related to James M. Jack, son of the proprietor of Hotel Evans, the stories found so far are:

Jack Shoots Officer Down. (Times Dispatch, Number 17654, 16 August 1907)

Shoots Wrong Man. (Daily Press, Volume 12, Number 193, 16 August 1907)

Policeman Shot While Doing Duty. (Evening News, Volume 16, Number 40, 17 August 1907)

Shot Hits Policeman. (Culpeper Exponent, Volume 27, Number 19, 23 August 1907)

J. M. Jack Sent To Staunton Asylum. (Shenandoah Herald, Volume 90, Number 47, 22 November 1907)

Speaker Byrd Retained. (The Times Dispatch, February 25, 1913)

Mrs. Jack Recovering. (The Washington Herald, March 04, 1913)

Jack Is Freed by Pittsburgh Jury. (Times Dispatch, 17 May 1913)


To lighten the mood after the above saga, a story for our friends in Stephens City: Remember when a Little Virginia Town was Taken by Polecat Army? (Culpeper Exponent, Volume 43, Number 27, 11 October 1923)

If you have a Winchester or Frederick County topic or building you would like investigated for a future blog post, drop us a note on any of our social media outlets. Results are not guaranteed, but anything we can find will be shared.

Valentine Roundup: PHW’s 57th Year

Happy birthday, PHW!

Most of the world will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Sunday. This is also the weekend PHW marks its first officially organized meeting in 1964, during the grassroots movement to preserve Winchester’s architectural heritage. We will be marking PHW’s 57th year in 2021!

To get you in the Valentine spirit this weekend, we have gathered a few newspaper stories from around Virginia of Valentine celebrations of yesteryear.

Jolly Comic Valentine Party (Clarke Courier, 17 February 1904) “A most delightful Comic Valentine Party was held at the residence of Mr. A. Moore, Jr. . . . Cards and dancing were indulged in until a late hour, when refreshments were served. Everyone present had a merry time.”

Valentines for the Lady Fair (Morning News Item, 12 February 1907) “For St. Valentine’s Day comes Thursday, which is a good two days before pay day. If each young man’s particular affinity expects some material expression of her admirer’s adoration and it’s ‘up to him’ to cut down temporarily, at least, personal expenses.”

Valentine Parties (Morning News Item, 14 February 1907) “Although this is the Lenten season, it is understood that a number of valentine socials and a few select dances will be held this evening. It is said, however, that those who rigidly observe Lent will not be in attendance.”

A Valentine party (Peninsula Enterprise, 19 February 1910) “The interesting features were the shooting at a heart by each guest with a bow and arrow, and the fishing from a lover’s pond for the name of his or her intended. After punch, fruit, jelly and cake were served the favours were drawn from a Valentine pie.”

West End Hotel Valentine party (Times-Dispatch, 25 February 1912) “The parlor and halls were decorated in ferns, potted plants and red hearts, the color scheme being red. Many games were played, but the fortune telling by Mrs. A. P. Goldsmith and Cupid’s post-office, where Miss Brownie Delp presided, were the main features of the evening.”

Valentine parties delayed (Culpeper Exponent, 12 February 1920) “On account of so much sickness it was decided it would be best to postpone the entertainment until it is safer to bring the children together.”

Valentine Bridge (Crawford’s Weekly, 21 February 1931) “A very realistic castle lighted within and flying cupid’s flag, stood in the hallway where the guests were greeted, and pretty hand made tallies bearing cut-out Cupids paired off the partners for bridge”

Surprise birthday and Valentine party (Farmville Herald, 22 February 1935) “Due to the weather and condition of roads there was only a small number present. . . Miss Mollie was presented with some nice and useful gifts including an autography album in which many of her Sharon friends had written wishes of love and scripture verses and a large white birthday cake and home made candy in a large heart shaped box in red.”

Valentine costume party (Sun, 12 February 1937) “Guests came in costume and games suitable for the occasion were enjoyed. A prize for the most original and the most beautiful costume was given.”

Enjoyable Valentine Party for Service Men (Farmville Herald, 19 February 1943) “No paper decorations were used because of fire hazards and because of war shortage, but gay big red and white balloons bobbed from each light in the game room and lent a festive air.”

If all this talk of parties has you in the mood to celebrate, you may want to visit Click Americana’s website to pick up a vintage sweet heart-shaped cake recipe (1949), ideas for setting themed tables (c. 1950), and some Valentine games (c. 1900). Celebrate safely and responsibly this weekend!

Correction on the Construction Date of 201 North Loudoun Street

The Winchester Star has been publishing the bank building at 201 North Loudoun Street, most recently a Wells Fargo, was constructed in 1950. The Beaux Arts style building was actually constructed in 1903 for Shenandoah Valley National Bank. The bank appeared in a newspaper special on Winchester commercial enterprises published in 1904 and has been documented extensively since that point via postcards throughout the 1910s and ‘20s.

Shenandoah Valley National Bank 1904
Shenandoah Valley National Bank, 201 N. Loudoun St., circa 1904.

For more information, you may also wish to refer to the 2011 architectural survey of the building, which can be found here.

Friday Roundup: Historical Articles, Applications, and Archived Video

We enjoyed the article “Thanks to the Internet Archive, the history of American newspapers is more searchable than ever” from Nieman Journalism Lab. While we don’t quite have anything of such importance or national relevancy in the PHW archives, we do enjoy searching the newspapers that are becoming more available for researchers. Two articles that stood out this week are a description of building a house that rotates to catch sunlight all day long, as well as a small slice of life on Christmas dinners on Braddock Street long ago. We have also had fire stations on the mind this week, so to nod to the ongoing adaptive reuse taking place at the Sarah Zane Fire Company building, here is a short note on the old engine donated to the fire company by the aforementioned Sarah Zane.

The National Fund for Sacred Places provides training, planning grants, technical assistance, capacity-building support, and capital grants up to $250,000 to congregations of all faiths for rehabilitation work on their historic facilities. Submit your letter of intent by March 15 to keep these places as an important part of our national cultural heritage. You can also register for an introductory webinar for the 2021 grant cycle on February 10th at 2 pm ET.

Applications are due February 23 for the Spring 2021 Fellowship ARCUS Leadership Program. This leadership development program is for anyone who identifies as an emerging leader in the cultural heritage, public history, and historic preservation movement. The Spring 2021 Fellowship workshops will focus on Developing an Inclusive and Antiracist Approach to Cultural Heritage Leadership. Learn more and apply at ARCUS Leadership Program: Fellowship Spring 2021 Application. Not interested in a fellowship? Individual courses are also available at arcusleaders.com.

Last, from the PHW archives, check out our Lunch and Learn lecture with Chuck Swartz on How to Green Your Historic Preservation Project.