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:
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.”