Friday Roundup: Clearing the Backlog

Icy Nandina
It’s going to be a cold weekend – here’s some extra reading!

Oops – sometimes we save too many things in our bookmarks and don’t get to share them in a timely manner. To make things a bit more manageable on the back-end of blog post production and inspiration, here is a selection of links we’ve gathered over a few years (gulp):

From Strong Towns, here is a simple list of questions and attractive graphic titled Ask Yourself These 20 Questions to Make Better Decisions for Your Community. Many people seem to make impulsive decisions without thinking through consequences, and we encourage anyone who has had a thought of charging ahead on any decision to take a few moments of reflection and really consider consequences past your immediate gratification. If you need to make a lot of decisions and keep finding the decisions are not working out as planned, perhaps you should print out the graphic and hang it in some conspicuous places.

We dusted off our PHW PayPal Giving page this week. If you’d like to drop us a little monetary donation, you can use an existing PayPal account, or a credit or debit card. This function, as we just learned, allows for anonymous donations and PayPal covers your tax receipt.

History lovers, have you tried Wikitrivia? We checked it out over the snow days and had a fun time placing events and people along a timeline. Test your general history knowledge this weekend, and perhaps you’ll find a topic you’d like to explore further.

We’ve mentioned the photographs of John Margolies in the Library of Congress collections before, but Atlas Obscura covered his images of novelty gas stations across America in Fuel Your Imagination with Glorious Photos of Odd Gas Stations.

Ghost signs are a love it or hate it topic in historic preservation (personally, we love them). If you’ve ever wondered about the ghost sign on the mountainside at Harpers Ferry, check out The Sign Above the Tunnel for a quick history of the sign.

Black Businesses in Antebellum Virginia is a look into how freemen could become business owners – as well as underscoring how difficult such a path was and how it was not a guarantee their family could remain together and their business remain viable.

Is Winchester a “15-Minute Neighborhood” for you? Can you walk to most of your necessities in 15 minutes or less? (It’s close for us, but groceries are our sticking point, and probably yours, too.) We can see this process in the downtown, and in the recently-proposed rezoning for the North End, that we are heading toward this process of becoming more dense instead of expanding ever outward (due of course in part to Winchester’s limited geographic footprint). Strong Towns posted 7 Rules for Creating “15-Minute Neighborhoods,” even for areas that may not currently be set up to accommodate this ideal. We find this suggestion particularly resonant (and reflective of past building practices): “A 15-minute neighborhood may be dense, but the more important thing is that it’s fine-grained and truly mixes homes, businesses, and public spaces seamlessly instead of segregating them into zones. This is why we need to let all our neighborhoods thicken up incrementally, instead of building clusters of high-rises to meet the demand for new housing.”

Last, in keeping with our “West of the Blue Ridge” series, Native American Trails Key to Settlement from Mt. Airy News calls back to a few of our early installments in the series. Look for the Winchester mention!