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: Two Quick Items

For those following along with 119 S. Washington St., the application that was on the BAR meeting for July 6 has been tabled again to allow the appeal process to resolve at the City Council level, as part of the appeal going through City Council addresses the installation location of the fence. We feel this was the correct course of action to take. As was stated by several BAR members, if the two bodies make conflicting rulings it could cause more trouble in finding a resolution down the line.

We also noticed some uncertainty may be on the horizon for Twitter for free users or those not logged in to an account from the time of our last post. We have been cloning our Twitter feed on Mastodon for some time, and this process will continue. Feel free to follow us there if you want, or know that this backup will be available in the future.

Friday Roundup: 59th Annual Meeting Recap

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Annual Meeting last Sunday! We managed to get the outdoor portion of the event in right after a short rain. We send out a warm welcome to Ben Ford, a new addition to the Board of Directors, as well as saying thank you to our retiring Directors Callie Fitzwater, Dan Whitacre, and Jim Stewart.

We were pleased to announce the fruition of one of our older ongoing projects this year, a scholarship fund in memory of Sherry Bosley, who passed away in 2019. She had been a behind the scenes volunteer at PHW for fourteen years. If you received PHW flyers in that period, there’s a good chance she was the one who proofread it, folded the letter, stuffed the envelope, put stamps on it, and made sure it got to the post office. She never sought recognition for her invaluable contributions of time, energy, and labor and was always willing to help with any task.

In August last year, we finalized the selection criteria for the scholarship and set the payout amount at $2,000 a year. PHW is honoring her legacy by supporting a student who exhibits academic excellence, volunteerism without expectation of accolades, and interest in pursuing a career related to historic preservation. We are pleased to announce the first student selected by Handley High School is Lucas Mamana.

Lucas has placed his top picks at Appalachian State University, Shepherd, and WVU for universities and wants to major in History Education. His goal is to become a full-time teacher. Congratulations, Lucas, and may you enjoy much success in your future endeavors!

The other main draw of the event was the dedication of the James and Barbara Laidlaw Amphitheater in the back yard of the Hexagon House. Many of you may know the Laidlaws, but in case you are new to PHW and our shared history, here is the story of how our amphitheater came to be:

Barbara Laidlaw and PHW President Bruce Downing stand beside the new amphitheater.

Jim Laidlaw was president of PHW 1974-76, the formative years of the Jennings Revolving Fund. He oversaw the negotiations to purchase the first house through the fund – the Simon Lauck House at 311 S. Loudoun St. Barbara Laidlaw served as PHW’s Secretary 1974-75, and a Vice President for PHW twice, once from 1980-82, and again from 1992-96. Both Jim and Barbara remained active with PHW affairs even after their time on the board, such as the Holiday House Tour, the Jennings Revolving Fund, and the Kurtz Cultural Center. In 2003, both Jim and Barbara were nominated to PHW’s Honorary Council to recognize the longstanding commitment they shared with the organization.

When Jim passed away in July 2021, we were honored to be one of the organizations named to receive contributions in his memory. Along with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, PHW was always near and dear to his heart. We did not know exactly what we would do with the funds, but we hoped to continue this partnership with the MSV to collaborate on a project in his memory.

After much discussion, we had several ideas for exterior improvements to the Hexagon House. While the Hexagon House is PHW office space, it is also owned by the MSV, so it was a natural way to collaborate with the two organizations closest to the Laidlaws’ hearts. The PHW board came up with a list of ideas, which we then shared with Dana Hand Evans, Perry Mathewes, and Barbara Laidlaw to see what might be possible. PHW had been using the back porch as an impromptu amphitheater for some time. The memorial funds allowed us to level off a small patch of ground and add a retaining wall for built-in seating. With the design of the MSV and the work of Reading Landscape, we now have an outdoor space suitable for events. We welcome you all to enjoy this space, and we encourage you to recall the generosity of the Laidlaws to Winchester as a whole when you visit.

PHW was then pleased to present our annual Preservation Awards and turn the floor over to the people doing the hands-on work of preservation. This year, we recognized ten projects in Winchester and Frederick County:

Awards of Merit:

These awards recognize renovations of houses or buildings that contribute to improving the character of their neighborhoods and maintaining the overall historic fabric of the city.

Winchester Public Schools, Old Frederick Douglas School, 598 N. Kent St.: Winchester Public Schools has been working to convert the building to its administrative headquarters since 2016. The oldest parts of the school were adapted, while some selective demolition allowed for a building expansion to take place. A museum honoring the history of the Black community will be opening soon in part of the building. Howard Shockey & Sons was the project’s general contractor, with design by CJMW Architecture of Lynchburg.

The Clowser Foundation: The Clowser Foundation has continued their work preserving the historic Clowser House in Shawneeland with a roof replacement project, probably the largest improvement to the house since work began in 2017.

Randy Sprouse, 115 E. Cecil St.: This is a log house that may have been moved to or reconstructed on Cecil Street in the 1880s – its exact origins are not known, but the first people to live in the structure at its Cecil Street location were Robert and Lydia Henry. The building, which may contain logs once used in the construction of Fort Loudoun, was in disrepair when purchased by Randy Sprouse about two years ago. He has since renovated the structure, retaining the log portion while removing some severely dilapidated additions.

Vibrissa Beer and North Kent Properties, 2 N. Kent: Winchester’s Vibrissa Beer is the second location opened by Tim and Kerry Barnhart. It is located in the former home of the Winchester Star, in the press room additions to the north side of the structure. It boasts a large production brewery, taproom, full service kitchen, indoor/outdoor seating, and an eye-catching mural. Lisa Dallolio, a local architect, was instrumental in the conversion.

Joshua Feltner, 309 N. Kent St.: This row house has been completely renovated on the interior, with new electrical and plumbing systems, modern heating and cooling systems, and an updated kitchen. The original hardwood floors, staircase, windows, and doors were restored to keep a sense of the home’s history. A clawfoot tub, latches, locks, and knobs were all restored and retained. The approximately two year process was documented on Instagram at Va_Lane.

210 South Cameron, LLC, 210 S. Cameron St.: This ca. log cabin retains its visual history on the exterior, but has been modernized inside in a blend of old and new. Now part of the Merchant Suites, the historic home has been subdivided into three apartments for short and long term rent.

Katherine G. Rockwood Award

This award is named in honor of Katherine G. Rockwood. 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, the 1976 architectural survey of Winchester 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 trials of saving important places for fifteen years.

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.

609 S. Cameron, restored once more.

JMMB Properties, LLC, 609 S. Cameron St.: The Jennings Revolving Fund acquired 601- 609 South Cameron Street in 1981. This building was constructed circa 1860 for Christopher Funk, a bricklayer. The home was successfully restored the first time in the 1980s. Disaster struck in April 2020, when a fire originated in one of the units of this building. In a rarely-taken step, PHW exercised its right of first refusal to repurchase the property when it seemed likely a developer would raze and construct a new building on the lot. PHW then sold the building to the team of Scott Moore and Tommy Beavers who vowed to retain as much of the historic building as they could in the rebuilding process. The Christopher Funk home was partially rebuilt to the rear and the front restored close to its appearance before the fire.

Ben Belchic Award

This award is named in honor of Ben Belchic, a founding member of PHW. He came to Winchester in the midst of the 1930’s depression, teaching 20 students at the one-room schoolhouse at Lamps in Frederick County. Stashing away documents was a passion with Ben, who had the entire archives of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society in the shoe room at the back of the Workingman’s Store before they found a forever home in the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives. Rod Sirbaugh, his brother-in-law, said “The old homes in Winchester and the surrounding area, that was his whole life.”

Ben Belchic was also an active member of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, so the Belchic award recognizes a significant contribution to understanding Winchester’s history. These awards are generally presented for written texts, such as books, maps, National Register nominations, and guided tours.

Shenandoah Valley Batllefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum “One Story…A Thousand Voices”: The overhaul of the museum in the Old Frederick County Court House with the new exhibit “One Story…A Thousand Voices” has made the experience of this contentious period in US history more accessible, incorporating three thousand artifacts into an immersive – and currently free for local residents – experience. While covering the major battles and events, it also humanizes the story with more personal, everyday touches of the people who lived through this tumultuous period, the post-war era, and the efforts to preserve that history today. The exhibit design and construction work was undertaken by Riggs Ward, a nationally recognized firm.

Patron’s Award

In light of Barbara Laidlaw’s outstanding support of PHW, it seems natural to commemorate her work on behalf of PHW with a Patron’s Award. This award recognizes a person or business which has been an outstanding supporter of the goals and programs of PHW.

Lucille Lozier Award

This award is named in honor of Lucille Lozier, a founding member of PHW and president of the organization in 1969. She led PHW during the final year of the fight to save the Conrad House and laid the groundwork for the Historic District and Board of Architectural Review as we currently know it. Much of her work called for championing “antique buildings” and retaining them in an appropriate setting – a holistic approach to save not just an important building but the surrounding that gave it context and the landscaping that enhances its attractiveness. The Lucille Lozier Award is one of our highest honors, awarded for the renovation of a significant structure retaining 75% of the historic architectural fabric.

Jennifer Wolgamott, 202 S. Washington St.: The J. B. Russell House has had a number of significant upgrades, including repairing the slate roof; installing new copper valleys and ridges; rebuilding four brick chimneys; resetting front entry steps; relaying the brick front walkway and installing brick floors at the dirt basement. The historical appearance was improved by removing eight window air conditioning units and installing central air conditioning; upgrading the electric system to include underground service from Cork Street; replacing broken glass panes with restoration glass; restoring the Juliet Balcony and repairing and painting all exterior woodwork. With these critical repairs complete, 202 South Washington will continue to contribute to preserving the unique and irreplaceable resources of the Winchester Historic District.

Friday Roundup: Annual Meeting and Public Hearing

First, this Sunday, June 25, is PHW’s Annual Meeting. We will be meeting in the rear yard of the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St., starting at 3 PM. Parking is available at the top of the hill; you may also park in the driveway in front of the house. We are watching the weather for the outdoor portion; so far it appears we’ll be partly cloudy with low chance of precipitation. We have limited outdoor seating, so you may wish to bring your own folding chairs. We hope to see many of you there!

Second, the public hearing for the neighbors’ appeal at 119 S. Washington St. is scheduled for City Council on Tuesday, June 27, beginning at 6 PM. Public comments at City Council are limited to 3 minutes per speaker; alternatively you can write your thoughts on this matter and submit them through the City’s online form prior to noon on Monday, June 26. We will remind our readers that the piers have been removed from this appeal item, as the procedural error that spurred that portion of the appeal has been resolved at the Board of Architectural Review. The appeal as will be considered only concerns the modification of the fence (set back from the adjoining fence and addition of a concrete base as the primary visual changes from the street). The agenda documents for this public hearing item can be found on the City’s website if you would like more clarity on the sequence of events and facts of the case.

Friday Roundup: Preservation News

It was a busy week for preservation related items. At City Council on Tuesday, 137 S. Loudoun was declared blighted. This does not mean the structure is going to be torn down; it just means the City has the opportunity to take ownership down the line if the proposed sale of the property falls through and the abatement plan milestones are not being met. A rehabilitation plan has been close to complete at BAR level (the remaining items to be approved are relegated to the rear elevation on Indian Alley; the Loudoun St. facade plans are fully approved.) The approvals for these plans will transfer to the new owner of the property; we certainly hope the new owner decides to proceed with the rehabilitation plan instead of starting from scratch and endangering this historic building with demolition by the City.

At the City Council work session on Tuesday, the neighbors’ appeal for two items pertaining to 119 S. Washington were discussed. The first item was the reconsideration of the brick piers. This item was duly noted by the City’s legal counsel to have been acted on improperly at the April 20th Board of Architectural Review meeting. BAR did not have the authority to revisit a denied item without a substantially amended application. We are pleased to report BAR members proceeded to correct this error at the Thursday BAR meeting by rescinding the April 20th approval. This means, as currently stands, the round piers that were built without BAR approval are denied. This means this portion of the neighbors’ appeal has been resolved prior to the public hearing.

The fence issue at 119 S. Washington is a different matter. The neighbors contend the approval of the fence on April 20, 2023 utilized the incorrect BAR guidelines (new fence construction over rehabilitation/maintenance of an existing fence.) As this was a historic fence and is utilizing the historic fence panels, there was no reason to apply new fence construction guidelines to a rehabilitation of an existing fence.

Upon reviewing the April 21, 2022 video of the meeting which discussed the fence, the architect presenting for Mr. Megale repeatedly used the word “restore” in regards to the fence (video timestamp at approximately the 15 minute mark). Restore, when used by a preservationist, has a particular meaning, and has much stricter standards of review to meet that threshold of being a restoration. The full definition per the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards is:

Restoration is defined as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code-required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a restoration project. (1)

We note in the further explanation of restoration as a treatment, “Only those designs that can be documented as having been built should be recreated in a restoration project.”

Even if the term “restore” was used more loosely as by a non-preservationist, the presentation before BAR on April 21, 2022 implied this was strictly a maintenance and repair issue for the fence, meaning that a reasonable conclusion is that the fence would be returned to its historic location on Washington Street.

The fence issue in the appeal may be more technical than even the issue of the piers. From a preservationist’s standpoint, however, having an applicant state that the Washington St. side was the oldest surviving portion of the fence with other panels constructed later to match, state the historic fence would be restored, and then not deliver on an accurate restoration on the claimed oldest portion of the project is certainly disappointing.

Friday Roundup: Updates and Weekend Events

Found! Thanks to our spotters Linda, Jeff, Eydie, and Jim, we can confirm last week’s unidentified street is North Braddock just past the intersection of North Avenue, looking north toward the Winchester Cold Storage buildings. Thank you all for helping identify that location. It is technically just outside of the Winchester Historic District, so we were looking too far south to find it.

Looking for Early PHW History: It’s that time again – we are looking through our holdings at PHW for information of the early history of the Jennings Revolving Fund in advance of its 50th Anniversary in 2024. In the process, we went back through the minute books from 1964-1979 to digitize our holdings. Although we’ve mentioned it before, it bears repeating the records for this period of PHW’s history are sparse. If you are cleaning out old documents and find minutes, agendas, newsletters, flyers for programs, or files from PHW, from this period or any other, please consider donating them to the PHW office so we can try to fill in some of our gaps in our history.

Weekend Events:

10th Annual Museum Open House and Living History Event

June 10, 9 AM – 5 PM: This year marks the American Military Heritage Museum’s tenth annual open house and living history event. Come see the museum displays, military vehicles, and living history displays featuring WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam at 811 Fairfax Pike, Stephens City. All free! Rain or shine.

160th Anniversary Tour of the Second Battle of Winchester

June 10, 10 AM: Larry Turner will lead a walking tour of the 2nd Winchester Battle on the Kernstown Battlefield. The tour will be mainly a walking tour, so please wear sturdy shoes. A golf cart is available for those who might need assistance getting around. The tour will last from 10 AM until about 2 PM. To register go to:

Grave Marker Dedication

June 10, 10 AM: The Fort Loudoun chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will hold a grave marker dedication for American Revolutionary Patriot Christian Streit at Mount Hebron Cemetery, 305 E. Boscawen St., Winchester.

Behind the Scenes Tour at Handley Library

June 10, 11 AM: The Handley Library branch tour will take you behind the scenes to all floors of the building. Come learn about the architecture and history. Walk on the famous glass floors and peer down the well built into the stage. Meet on the Lower Level.

Do you recognize this sidewalk? We’re not sure if this is a Winchester sidewalk or an example from another historic downtown. The best clue might be the “JAS” written in the concrete and the metered on-street parking. We believe this image likely dates to the late 1970s/early 1980s like last week’s image as they are from the same slide batch. Any help identifying the location is appreciated!

Friday Roundup: Quick Updates

Found! Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Chet, we are 99% sure the unidentified Indian Alley building posted last week is 218 S. Indian Alley. The building is much more obscured now that the Indian Alley extension behind the Discovery Museum is blocked off and a new privacy fence installed, but we feel relatively confident it is the same building.

Mark your calendars! The PHW Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, June 25, 3 PM at the Hexagon House. Join us in celebrating preservation projects around the city, as well as the first recipient of PHW’s Sherry Bosley Scholarship and the dedication of the James and Barbara Laidlaw Amphitheater. This event is free to members and invited guests – and if you need to renew your membership, you can do it that day on site, too.

119 S. Washington St.: The Board of Architectural Review tabled an application at yesterday’s meeting for a modification of the piers. However, because there is a pending appeal filed on the April 20th approval the application was tabled to allow the appeal time to play out before the application is reconsidered to be fair to both the applicant and the board members. The appeal is set to be on the City Council agendas for late June and early July. We do not expect further action will be taken at the BAR level until after the appeal works through the City Council process. Part of this will include a public hearing, likely on June 27. This was an unusual situation procedurally, but we are hopeful that this means the BAR will be course correcting from this point forward.

Do you recognize this street? We believe the image dates to the late 1970s to early 1980s. We have been unable to pinpoint its location in the Winchester Historic District, so it may be in a surrounding area that experienced growth in the early 20th century. It also appears to be near a school based on the shape of the street sign visible. As this image was digitized from a slide, we can also not rule out the image is mirrored. If you have any suggestions on areas to check, drop us a note!

Friday Roundup: Memorial Day Weekend Events

Start your long weekend off with a book signing with Maral Kalbian today, 4:30-6:30 PM at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. She will be on hand to sign copies of her new book “Clarke County, Virginia: History Though Architecture.” This event is open to the public.

Kalbian’s book introduces the reader to the first people known to live in the area, guides readers through the development of roads and communities, and explains the architectural styles of its grand estates and humble houses. She addresses all types of buildings and provides an overview of how the surviving architecture reflects Clarkes’ history. Kalbian also separated fact from fiction by tracking down widely held beliefs and finding documented evidence to either support or debunk them. Aware of discrepancies in past historical writings, she double- and tripled-checked some stories in order to give future researchers a better place to start. The book is heavily illustrated and footnoted.

If you could not make the open house event earlier in May, the first floor of the Hexagon House will be open for visitors this evening. Light refreshment will be offered.

The 2023 Newtown Heritage Festival takes place Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 in Stephens City. The 31st annual event opens with crafters, concessions, music, and an outdoor movie, while Saturday’s events include a classic car show, tours, museum access, a parade, and more! Check their website for full details.

Applying to Lineage Societies – Get Help with Your Application and Research: Have you ever wanted to apply to a lineage society such as the Daughters of the American Revolution? Do you have an application but aren’t sure if you have all the proofs you need? Katherine Collins, MLISc, can help you with your questions, review applications, and assist with genealogical research issues. Come to the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives reading room at the Handley Library on May 27 from 10:30 AM to 12 PM. Registration not required.

1864 Valley Campaign in a Box: Join a National Park ranger at Kernstown Battlefield in Winchester for a 30 minute talk on the 1864 Civil War campaigns in the strategic Shenandoah Valley. Kernstown Battlefield Association, a nonprofit group, operates the historic battlefield. The battlefield is part of Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. The event takes place Sunday, May 28, noon at Kernstown Battlefield, 610 Battle Park Dr, Winchester, VA.

The outdoor exhibit Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects® Made with LEGO® Bricks returns to the MSV gardens with new sculptures this Saturday, May 27. Exhibition admission—which includes gallery admission—is $15, $10 for youth (13–18) and senior (60+), $5 for ages 5–12, and free to MSV members and ages 4 & under. Nature Connects will be open May 27–September 4, 2023.

Do you recognize this building? It was in our Indian Alley collection, but we have been unable to pinpoint an approximate location. The photo was unmarked, so we do not have an approximate date or a business name to help narrow down the location. The building may have been substantially altered or perhaps demolished. Any leads are appreciated!

Friday Roundup: 119 S. Washington Updates and Book Signing Next Week

Unfortunately the Thursday BAR meeting was unable to be held as a quorum was not available. The meeting had the potential to reconsider the reconsideration of the fence and pillar issue at 119 S. Washington St. It is possible a special BAR meeting will be called next Thursday, May 25, to consider the items on yesterday’s agenda.

We would also like to thank everyone who signed the petition to appeal the decision on the fence/pillars. It was an unfortunate turn of events that the deadline to file was not what was expected based on the date of the “final” consideration of the items, but the required signatures were reached and the petition has been filed. While PHW did not spearhead the appeal, we assisted in connecting interested parties to the document and acting as a public space to collect signatures.

Given that much of this application is in limbo, we are not sure what the future will hold. PHW felt it was important to participate in this petition because it was clear several rules of order were overlooked or applied incorrectly in the reconsideration of the fence/pillars. Many of the procedural errors this appeal rests upon would not have been spotted without the sharp-eyed neighbors following this process.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next Friday, May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM, for a book signing event with Maral Kalbian at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. Stop by to chat and get signed copies of her newest book, “Clarke County, Virginia: History Though Architecture.” This event is also open to the public.

Kalbian’s book introduces the reader to the first people known to live in the area, guides readers through the development of roads and communities, and explains the architectural styles of its grand estates and humble houses. She addresses all types of buildings and provides an overview of how the surviving architecture reflects Clarkes’ history. Kalbian also separated fact from fiction by tracking down widely held beliefs and finding documented evidence to either support or debunk them. Aware of discrepancies in past historical writings, she double- and tripled-checked some stories in order to give future researchers a better place to start. The book is heavily illustrated and footnoted.

If you could not make the open house event earlier in May, the first floor of the Hexagon House will be open for visitors that evening. Light refreshment will be offered.

Friday Roundup: House Update and Open House This Saturday

First: PHW is aware of a number of developments concerning 119 S. Washington St. We would like to reiterate that while we are an advocacy group and we appreciate questions and concerns about changes to property in the Historic District without approval, we are not an enforcement agency. Reports of this nature made to PHW will be passed to the Board of Architectural Review via their staff liaison for investigation.

At this point in the project, it is not entirely clear to the PHW members who have been following these meetings and series of approvals what is or is not approved work, what is/was/will be subject to stop work orders, and what has been approved. We certainly anticipated the painting of the brick was likely to cause backlash, and that has indeed been the case.

Unlike some other work that has been conducted on the property recently, the painting of the brick did go through the Board of Architectural Review. While PHW members do not endorse the painting, the proposal was done with historic images and traces of paint presented as proof that the building had been painted in the past. At the time of that approval, PHW was under the impression this was an actual restoration, attempting to recreate the exterior appearance of the home as presented in a circa 1905 image.

The paint approved for this application is said to be similar to a lime wash. We are not familiar with this particular brand, but it was stated to be a “breathable” paint in keeping with recommended practices for historic masonry buildings. If the building had to be painted, this was the least objectionable path to take.

We expect to see 119 S. Washington St. return to the Board of Architectural Review again on Thursday, May 18, 2023, 4 PM in Rouss City Hall. If you cannot attend the meeting in person but would like to submit comments about this or any other issue pertaining to the BAR, you suggest you direct written comments to the Planning Department in advance of the meeting.

Second: It is a busy weekend downtown and around the Historic District. We hope that if you are out and about for Kidzfest or Fort Loudoun Day on May 13 (this Saturday!), you will also pop by the Hexagon House between noon and 4 PM for our joint open house with ShenArts. If you came last year, we’ll have a few new displays set up in the first floor of artifacts pertaining to PHW’s history with the Kurtz Building, as well as a half hour video playing on loop during the event. We’ll also be able to sell some of our books and other goodies, have a few mystery photos that we hope you’ll be able to help us ID, and free coloring sheets for kids of all ages. We are planning to be a chill event, and since we’re indoors, we go rain or shine!