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: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScfT458IaNogtPPo0ZQgH6rbp1KhZy-JFULpjo1TC9i0_l-kA/viewform

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 newtownheritagefestival.org 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!

Friday Roundup: May Events at the Hexagon House

Mark your calendars for two events happening at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St.!

First, PHW and the Shenandoah Arts Council will host our second annual open house event on Saturday, May 13, noon-4 PM. This event is FREE and open to the public! Stop by to see both the upstairs and downstairs of the unique Hexagon House and learn about the two nonprofits which call the building home. PHW will have a small temporary display of artifacts from our Kurtz Building era, a visual display focusing on Winchester’s architecture, as well as other hands-on history activities. Light refreshments will be available.


Next, PHW is hosting a book signing by author and architectural historian Maral Kalbian on Friday, May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM at the Hexagon House. 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 can’t make our official open house event, the first floor of the Hexagon House will also be open for visitors that evening. Light refreshment will be offered.


PHW is still accepting award nominations for the 2023 Preservation Awards! Official deadline is end of day on Friday, May 5, but if you are out and about during Apple Blossom weekend, feel free to leave some nomination packets for us at the Hexagon House. You may tuck envelopes in the basket on the back door, or place larger packets in the cabinet on the back porch. Thank you to all the submissions to date. The winners will be announced at PHW’s Annual Meeting in June.

Friday Roundup: Updates and BAR Notes

Oops! If you tried to download the newsletter last week, the file only partially uploaded. The full spring newsletter is now available. Thanks to Dave for spotting the issue!


This week the roof at the Hexagon House got some TLC. We learned during the evaluation process we still have a real tin roof. Although we don’t recommend hanging on to paint cans for this long (keeping your paint swatches and color mixing instructions are sufficient and less hazardous), we were also able to color match the paint from the 1997 work. Our roof looks as good as new. Many thanks to the MSV and Winchester Roofing for helping to keep a roof over our heads (literally)!


As you may have heard, on April 6 there was a Board of Architectural Review application for 119 S. Washington asking for retroactive approval of work done to the exterior of the home, including door replacement and alteration to the fence and walkways. Not all the items were addressed at that meeting, which was continued in the April 20th meeting. As is usual in cases like this where work is done and then it seeks retroactive approval, it is PHW’s position that the work should be evaluated as if it is a fresh application and the design guidelines applied as usual. This was not a case where an owner or tenant could claim ignorance of the BAR process, as he had applied numerous times before for other exterior changes.

This was certainly an unfortunate situation, as certain items (such as the fence and gate “piers”) were approved in a completely different manner that was in line with the historic documentation of the building. PHW was under the impression the owner was aiming to restore the appearance of the home as documented in some ca. 1905 images; the original approvals would have been in line with this work. We understand the most historically-inaccurate of the changes to the sidelights around the front door will be brought back to the BAR at a future meeting with a revision; at this point there is not information on exactly what the sidelights may look like.

The changes to the fence are certainly not our preference from a historic perspective, and while we understand the decision made at BAR it does not make what happened in any way right or excusable. As we often say in cases of demolition, once an item is removed from a home, it is very difficult to restore it; matters become even more complicated when the work encroaches on city sidewalks and rights of way. Removing these items can impact your ability to restore them at a later point.

We also would urge residents in the historic district to embrace some of the quirks of their homes and properties. It is unlikely you will find a perfectly square lot and a perfectly centered house; the quirkiness is part of what attracts many people to older homes. To try to perfect something that has already aged gracefully tends to lead to a feeling of artificiality – certainly the opposite of what we want to encourage in a historic district.

As you think over this situation, we encourage those who have only heard this described second or third hand to review the meetings in question. You may watch the meetings for April 6 and April 20 online through the City’s website and draw your own conclusions. Much of the BAR process relies on good faith cooperation between applicants, staff, and the volunteer board. This was definitely one of the more stressful BAR meetings of recent times, and we thank the City staff and BAR members for working through a very complicated situation to the best of their abilities.

119 S. Washington St. as seen during the 2007 Holiday House Tour.

Friday Roundup: Spring Events

Our spring newsletter is out! Download a copy from our site now – and if you also receive a physical copy from your PHW membership, the links are functional in the PDF version.


Be sure to save the date for our second annual open house event at the Hexagon House! Like last year, in honor of National Preservation Month, the offices of PHW and Shenandoah Arts Council will be open to the public on Saturday, May 13, noon-4 PM. The event is free and open to the public – and yes, the upstairs WILL be open for this event! Stop by to see the house, learn about our organizations, and enjoy some light refreshments.


You may have seen the article in the Winchester Star noting the Willa Cather birthplace is going up for sale. Since the article was posted, the National Willa Cather Center has started a fundraiser to try to purchase this site. If you’d like to contribute, you can find the information on their website. Should the Center be unsuccessful in purchasing the property in Gore, the funds may be repurposed to preserve another Cather-related site.


The City’s April’s workshop, in coordination with the North End Citizen’s Association, will focus on revitalization efforts in the North Kent Street area. The meeting will be held April 22, 2023, 11:00 AM at Old Douglas School (new WPS Admin building), 598 N. Kent Street. City staff will present opportunities, answer questions, and provide an overview of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and how it contributes to the neighborhood. Registration is not required for this workshop. Open to all.


The weather is feeling distinctly springlike! If you’d like to enjoy the great outdoors here in town, join Jim Smith for Saturday nature walks. Registration not required.

Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve: April 15, April 29 and May 13, 8:30 AM, meet at the entrance on Meadow Branch Ave.

Earth Day Walk in Jim Barnett Park: April 22, 9-11 AM, meet in the Rec Center lobby.

Abrams Delight image remix

Friday Roundup: Easter Weekend

The public hearing on the accessory dwelling unit ordinance at Planning Commission Tuesday was well-attended. As you may have heard, the motion was to deny the changes to the ordinance language. One of the sticking points was the inability to say whether a stipulation for a homeowner to be in residence on the property could be added to the ordinance legally (the thought being that without such a requirement it would incentivize landlords to add more rental units on one parcel.) Other potential issues such as requirements for minimum lot size to add ADUs or requirements for all residents to be related were also unable to be answered at the meeting. The ordinance still proceeds to City Council, sometime in May, before the ordinance can be declared officially dead.


Looking to expand your preservation knowledge? The National Trust is offering two upcoming webinar series in April and May. Discovering Our Ancestors and Preserving Historic Gravesites Webinar Series explores issues related to preserving cemeteries. Planning, Preservation, and Change Webinar Series explores planning and preservation issues and opportunities presented by future changes. Learn more and register at their website. There are also links to past webinars if you missed other topics of interest – check it out!


Located! Two of our sharp-eyed readers last week identified the mystery building as Belle Grove. We admit we were thrown off by the landscaping, but a copy of the image is also held at the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, with the photographer listed as Allan Richardson. He took many a photograph at PHW events in the 1970s, and PHW partnered with Belle Grove on activities during this time, so we’re not surprised by the revelation or timing of the photographs, or that PHW has a copy. Thank you to Kristen and Margaretta for the identification!


Assorted Links: Our bookmark tab was looking a bit overgrown again, so we’d like to share some links to articles we found interesting.

Do you need help with alternatives to tearing down historic buildings? This is an archived version of the National Trust website from 2007 which had a number of useful publications and alternatives.

Partitioning the Landscape: The Fence in Eighteenth-Century Virginia From the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation comes this exploration of historic fence construction techniques.

Historic preservation and affordable housing are not mutually exclusive. This page, hosted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, features a webinar on utilizing historic tax credit for affordable housing projects as well as supporting written documentation. (It is also a useful primer for anyone looking to utilize Federal Historic Tax Credit in a project, not just for affordable housing – many of the basic points are the same.)

Existing Buildings: The Elephant in the Room. “Existing buildings are a resource for growth. Every city and town in the nation has dozens, hundreds, even thousands of abandoned and partially occupied buildings.”

Two Simple Rules For Healthy Neighborhood Change: “1. No neighborhood can be exempt from change, and 2. No neighborhood should experience sudden, radical change.”

Ever wondered how we estimate walking tour distances? We use this site for a rough estimator.

Spring at the Hexagon House image remix

Friday Roundup: Events and Updates

Nominations are open for a 2023 Preservation Award! We need your help to find projects and people that may have flown under our radar so we can recognize all the good preservation work happening locally. Download the award nomination form and fill in all the information you can about work you’ve seen happening in and around Winchester. You can nominate yourself and there is no limit to the number of nominations you can make. Nominations are due slightly earlier this year – May 5, 2023 – so get started now!


Are you in a quandary researching deeds and land records? Family History Hunters, an informal meeting for genealogists of all levels of experience, might be able to help. The group’s April 13 meeting at the Archives at Handley Library, 12:30-2:00 PM, will discuss deeds and land records. In addition to helping you trace your ancestors’ property holdings, deeds and land records can also be mined for genealogical information. We’ll review where to find land records, how to read them, and what they can reveal about your family.  Registration is required; visit the Handley Library site to reserve your spot!


The Valley Conservation Council has announced ahead of spring planting season resources to find pollinator friendly native plants. If you’re looking to replace plantings on your property this spring, they recommend the Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center tool. The Shenandoah Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will release their Valley and Ridge Native Plant Guide in April. VCC will have copies of the guide for sale in April; contact them at info@valleyconservation.org for more information or to pre-order your copy for $15.


Located! The last unidentified slide location in PHW’s collection (mentioned in our Feb. 10, 2023 post) has been positively IDed as partial views of 600 and 620 S. Braddock St. after the demolition of 606 and 610 S. Braddock St. The corner house was demolished following this image and the view toward 620 S. Braddock has been changed by the new construction at South End Fire Company, so this was by far one of the hardest locations we’ve attempted to match up to its current view.

Our next to-do is to locate the home below. We’re not sure when the photo was taken or why, but the house is just familiar enough that we’re fairly certain it is in Winchester. There are two views – if you recognize it or think you know the neighborhood to check out, drop us a note on any of our social media channels!

Unidentified house
Unidentified house