Holiday House Tour 2022 – Owl Be There! Overview

Preservation of Historic Winchester welcomes you back to our 46th annual signature fundraising event. Guided tours of three private homes will lead you through building styles of the 19th century, while the fourth site will take you to a Georgian-style church. Stop by our pop-up holiday shop for sweet treats, holiday décor, and fresh greenery before or after the tour. You don’t want to miss our year-end celebration – Owl Be There!

Owls may not be a traditional Christmas bird, but they are a recurring winter motif. According to Iroquois tradition, hearing the call of an owl nearby was a sign snow was on the way. Since the non-migratory birds may be easier to spot in the winter, owls and chilly weather have become deeply associated with each other. The owl was chosen as our 2022 mascot for his symbolic associations with wisdom, protection, and winter.

Date: Sunday, December 4
Time: Noon-4 PM

Tour Sites:

119 East Clifford Street
202 South Washington Street
216 South Cameron Street
306 East Piccadilly Street

Admission: $25 in advance, $30 at the door

Ticket Sale Locations: Kimberly’s, Winchester Book Gallery, Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center, The Bough & Dough Shop at the Hexagon House (starting Nov. 18), and online through Eventbrite (starting Nov. 15).

Other Information: The tour will not be rescheduled for inclement weather. Call (540) 667-3577 or watch our Facebook for announcements. Be prepared to spend some time waiting outside and wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. No photography inside private residences, please!

Free parking is available at nearby surface lots and on-street. Please be mindful of residents’ driveways when utilizing on-street parking. City autoparks are self-service and open 24 hours a day. Rates at Braddock, Court Square, and George Washington Autoparks are $1.00/hour. Loudoun Autopark is $0.50/hour.

PHW is grateful for the support of the Stephanie Ryall, Realty One Group Old Towne, our major sponsor of the Holiday House Tour.

Friday Roundup: Loudoun Street Update

We would like to share an update on yesterday’s Board of Architectural Review public hearing on demolition. The row of townhouses at 514-520 South Loudoun Street was approved for complete demolition last night, citing safety concerns for the structures. There had been some hope to try to save the front of the homes with their ornate woodwork, but closer investigation revealed they were all heavily rotted. Rehabilitation would involve almost every piece of the building being repaired or replaced. It was acknowledged it could be done, but the end result would, in effect, be a new structure.

The ability to sell the property as the alternative to demolition by the city was brought up, but allegedly this option was not available in the blight remediation per the court process. The reasoning given was that by selling the property, the blighted condition would not be remediated (even if it was sold to an entity willing to undertake rehabilitation or demolition). The property is not currently going to be changing ownership.

This is definitely a loss for the historic district on multiple levels. We know a number of people were hopeful there was some process to get the buildings into new ownership for an investigation of rehabilitation. At this point it seems unlikely any new construction will happen on that lot for the foreseeable future. The parcel is planned to be seeded with grass post demolition. The only small consolation is that the structure will not be in place to continue posing a risk to its adjoining neighbors.

If you would like to review the submitted documents from the meeting, they may be found on the city’s website.

Friday Roundup: Halloween Edition

We are hard at work behind the scenes getting all the final touches ready for Holiday House Tour and Bough & Dough Shop 2022, so excuse the abbreviated Friday post! First, we wanted to share the news about the Daughters of the American Revolution and William G. Pomeroy Foundation Historic Marker Program. From their news announcement:

The multiyear marker program, which has been named “Revolutionary America 1775-1783,” coincides with the celebrations leading up to and during the nation’s 250th anniversary, the United States Semiquincentennial in 2026. The DAR will receive funding from the Pomeroy Foundation for at least 250 historic markers for sites across the country beginning in 2022 through 2027. All DAR chapters nationwide are encouraged to submit a grant application upon the identification of a significant point of interest. Chapters interested in participating should email the DAR at RevolutionaryAmerica@dar.org to request information about applying for a marker grant.

Second, if you’re a fan of both horror movies and historic architecture, these breakdowns of iconic haunted house sets should come as no surprise. One element seems to be fairly consistent in our collective idea of what a haunted house ought to look like. (Hint: check out those roofs!) Watch Architect Break Down 5 Haunted Houses From Scary Films at Youtube.

Next week we should begin our coverage of Holiday House Tour and the Bough and Dough Shop in our blog. Keep an eye out here and on our other social media channels for links to house descriptions, ticket sale information, and other tidbits.

Friday Roundup: Loudoun Street Demolition

We know a few of our readers are following the Gavis properties action. It appears a public hearing for demolition of 514-520 S. Loudoun is on the agenda for the Nov. 3 Board of Architectural Review. PHW has requested further information about this item but we do not have additional insights to share at this time. If you are interested in speaking, the event will take place at 4 PM in Rouss City Hall, or comments may be submitted in writing to the city before the meeting.

Friday Roundup: Working on Loose Ends

A follow-up to our question last week on the name for the Kent and Piccadilly streets area: a longtime resident of West Street says the area was known as “The East Side,” in reference to being on the east side of the railroad tracks. Did you call this area anything else, or have you seen reference to any other names for the area?

We have made a test layout of the House Tour program booklet this week; if you are considering a sponsorship, please note we have a half page sponsorship spot and possibly up to a full page sponsorship spot; we may need to add additional pages this year that could increase available ad spots as well. You can find the ad size and price sheet and the form to return to PHW. The deadline to turn in your ad for the program booklet is Friday, October 28. If you’re interested in supporting this event, please drop us a note a phwinc.org@gmail.com and we’ll get you the info you need.

Mark your calendars! Holiday House Tour 2022 is December 4, noon-4 PM!

Looking forward to November, we will be suspending our daily image caption project on social media to focus on the Holiday House Tour and Bough and Dough Shop. We captioned over 200 images in 2022 and helped unearth forgotten events and untold stories of locations, some of which even we had forgotten about at PHW. We’ll be back with more image exploration in January 2023!

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 phwinc.org@gmail.com 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: Behind the Scenes for Holiday House Tour

Heads up! PHW is undergoing a deep edit to its physical mailing lists ahead of the Holiday House Tour. This edit mostly impacts those of you who are on our “extended” mailing list (you only receive emails or physical mailers on public events from us). It appears the last time we performed such an in-depth edit was back in 2015, and we know many of you have moved between then and now. If you want to make sure you get a physical postcard mailer in November, reach out with your preferred mailing address to phwinc.org@gmail.com and we’ll make sure you’re on the list or updated to a new address.

Save the date! The Holiday House Tours will be held Sunday, December 4, 2022.

If you were considering placing an ad in our Holiday House Tour program booklet, please note the back cover spot has been spoken for, but we still have room for interior full page, half page, or business card size ads. Find our information sheet on sizes and prices and the reservation form online. If you are working on an ad, deadline is Friday, Oct. 28 to make sure you are included in the booklet. Thank you to our generous sponsors so far this year – your support helps to offset most of the cost in hosting this community event so that proceeds can go back into our preservation and history work!

We are at work now finalizing the site lineup for the 2022 tour. We expect to be able to announce the sites by the end of October and have ticket prices and information on where to buy them available soon.

To finish off your Friday, we have eight pictures around and inside the Old Stone Presbyterian Church at 306 E. Piccadilly St. Catch them all at the top of our Flickr photostream!

Old Stone Church
Daniel Morgan overlooks Winchester’s roundabout with the Old Stone Church in the background. Photo by Rick Alvarez.

Friday Roundup: Descendants Search, Black Modernism Grants, and Weekend Activities in Winchester

The Winchester Star editorial page recently ran a letter from Nancy Oudekerk looking for possible relatives of people buried in Green Hill African American Cemetery in Martinsburg, WV. The formerly abandoned cemetery has now been cleaned and the group is now hoping to find descendants of those buried here. If you or someone you know recognize a name on the following list, please contact Gloria Carton, president of the Green Hill Historic African American Cemetery at glojc13@aol.com.

The names of those interred, according to Trinity Episcopal Church, are: Charlotte Alexander; Louise Arnold; R.B.; Jeannie Barnes; Emma Jane Brook; John Campbell; Sinah Campbell; Margaret Carter; Cynthia Cook; A.D.; Agnes Dandridge; Sancho Drew; Mary Henrietta Dunmore; Julia Lyons Gray; Virginia Smith Gray; William Green; Thomas Jenkins; Lucy Lane; James Lowrie, Easter Lowrie; Laura Marshal; Anna McDaniel; Susan Parrott; Lemira Patterson; Toby Pettigrew; John Robinson; John Henry Semmes; Elizabeth Sherman; Harriet Smith; Stephen Thomley; Jesse Virginia Turner; Fanny; Lavinia; Thornton (unknown surnames) Lewis Washington; Ashby Weldon and Mary Wilson. The original Trustees of the cemetery were Samuel Hopewell, William Fairfax, Daniel Thurnton, Lewis Ford, William Ford, Franki Johnson, Perry Alman, Christopher Ailingsworth and James Johnson.


On the other end of history, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Getty Foundation are partnering on a new grant program, Conserving Black Modernism, to protect the often-overlooked modernist sites designed by Black architects. The two-year program will advance efforts to further identify historic sites that represent this architecture style, while also providing necessary preservation planning, training, and storytelling resources for long term sustainment. Grant applications will be managed by the National Trust and open in November, with the first round of grantees to be announced in Summer 2023. If you know of a site that fits these criteria and could benefit from this program, visit the Action Fund and learn more.


There’s a lot happening this weekend in and around Winchester! The Winchester Arts and Music Festival kicks off this Friday, Sept. 23, at 4 PM and runs through Sunday, Sept. 25 at various locations and times around downtown. Find more information on the activities here.

Literacy Volunteers will also host Oktoberfest downtown, 5-10 PM today. Tickets include ten tastings from breweries across Virginia and a commemorative glass. More information and ticket purchase information is available here.

The MSV at Night is also taking place this evening, 5-8 PM. Come out to the museum at 901 Amherst St. to view the exhibitions “Destination: Latin America” and “ORIGAMI IN THE GARDEN” while enjoying live music and authentic Mexican food. For more information on the program schedule and admission prices, visit the MSV’s website.

The French and Indian War Foundation will have their 5th annual French and Indian War Weekend at Abrams Delight in Winchester this Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25. Stop by Winchester’s oldest home for living history and tactical demonstrations.

Fort Collier and Trenches
Fort Collier, 922 Martinsburg Pike

Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute and the Fort Collier Civil War Center present Prof. Jonathan A. Noyalas, “A Theme for the Poet, a Scene for the Painter”: Fort Collier and the Third Battle of Winchester. The one-hour tour, beginning at 9:30 AM, will be held at Fort Collier, 922 Martinsburg Pike. This event is free and open to the public and no pre-registration required.

Celebracion will round out the Saturday events downtown on the walking mall, noon-4 PM. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with food and retail vendors, music, and impromptu dance lessons.

Stay safe and pace yourselves this weekend while you enjoy all that Winchester has to offer!

Friday Roundup: Bits and Bobs

First, many apologies to Kathy Yereb of Very Merry Mittens, who should have been listed in our “sneak peek” post last week. Her felted mittens and ornaments WILL be available this year at the Bough & Dough Shop!


From Preservation Virginia is the Historic Places Student Art Contest 2022. If you have a child in grades 3-12 (public, private, or homeschooled), they are eligible to participate in this 2D or 3D art contest. This art contest asks students to create a visual representation of an historic structure or place from their community that they think is important to their local identity. These could include any number of historic buildings or structures, such as a former school, library, community center, historic house, or a bridge, or places like cemeteries, green spaces, memorials and more! Art submissions will be due by December 5, 2022 at 11:59pm. For complete details and guidelines about the Historic Places Art Contest, please see the full announcement here. Please submit any questions to Meika Downey, Education Coordinator at mdowney@preservationvirginia.org. We hope to see some Winchester places represented!


Last, we’ve been keeping an eye on an upcoming Planning Commission public hearing, set for Tuesday, September 20 beginning at 3 PM. This public hearing will cover the proposed development/redevelopment of the former site of Smalts florists, including the historic 1867 brick dwelling located on George Washington’s out-lot. If you are interested in learning more about this project, you may find the agenda and packet materials on the City’s website. PHW is in favor of retaining the brick structure at approximately 428-432 National Avenue, as it appears to be the oldest remaining house on National Avenue and is an excellent example of Italianate architecture. Although outside the Historic District, it is in a Corridor Enhancement District, and we believe the historic structure will be an appropriate buffer between National Avenue and new construction inside the large Smalts parcel.

National Ave.
The ca. 1867 brick duplex on George Washington’s out-lot, as it appeared in a later 1970s photographic survey conducted by an intern for PHW.

Sneak Peek: Bough & Dough Artists for 2022

PHW is proud to announce the lineup for this year’s Bough & Dough Shop (Nov. 18-Dec. 11) at the Hexagon House. Here’s what you can expect this year:

Ornament by Margie Cullers, the Primitive Peddler

Nina Burke, gourd art

Lorraine Candell, holiday decor and party favor treats

Tracy Carbaugh, The Card Shop Bakers, cookies, notecards, ornaments, and cross stitch

The Clowser Foundation

Margie Cullers, The Primitive Peddler, ornaments made from antique butter and Springerle molds

George Davis, reclaimed wood tables

Ornament by Dave Hickman

Melanie Fields, The Merry Beader

Linda Spollen Haile Watercolors notecards

Dave Hickman, turned wood items and ornaments

J&W Farm, birdseed wreaths

Susan Keenan, mosaic ornaments and jewelry

Beth Light, Eye of the Needle Embroidery

Ron Light, Lighthouse Woodworking

Weaving detail by Clara Schulte, CLS Cloth

Karen Miller, Karen’s Kollection

Annamarie Mrazik, Ree’s Treats

Jamie Pein, Fripperies

Libba Pendleton, felted items

Deborah Phillips, Heartsong Hill Designs, sea glass art and jewelry

Preservation of Historic Winchester: Holiday House Tour tickets, fresh greens, books, and bows

Cyndie Rinek, Blooming Hill Lavender Farm

Snowflake ornaments by Hilda Troxel, Capers in Crochet

Mike Robinson, Winchester Tales books

Clara Schulte, CLS Cloth

Donna Sheets, jams

Carol Spalding, Angel’s Roost Quilts

Virginia Stultz and Jean Whetzel, baskets

Hilda Troxel, Capers in Crochet, crocheted ornaments

Doris Vanderpool, shell ornaments

Steve Wilson, Virginia Pottery

Kathy Yereb, Very Merry Mittens

Need to plan your visit this fall? See our listing at Virginia.org or on Facebook for days and times.