Preservation of Historic Winchester will host an informational open house for the 46th annual Bough & Dough Shop tomorrow, Saturday, August 20, 10 AM – 1 PM on the first floor of the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. PHW is seeking new artists crafting unique handmade items and holiday décor to expand the shop’s offerings for 2022. We invite anyone interested in applying to stop by to see the space in person and find out more about the event, or read our informational handout available at http://www.phwi.org/events/Shopinfo.pdf.
Prospective artists are encouraged to bring portfolios or example pieces for the jury process. Application forms will be available at the event or can be downloaded at the PHW website, http://www.phwi.org/events/2022juryform.pdf.
If you cannot make the open house event, applications can be sent in by mail to PHW, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org until September 2, 2022. Final artist lineups will be announced after September 14.
Are you heading downtown tomorrow, July 23? You may want to stop by the Old Frederick County Courthouse at 5 PM, reenactors will have a living history program to recreate the July 24, 1758 election of George Washington to Virginia’s House of Burgesses. All four candidates plus other top figures involved in the 1758 election will be on hand. The reenactment is sponsored by Jim Moyer, the French and Indian War Foundation, the Capt. George Mercer Company of Col. George Washington’s Virginia Regiment and the Virginia Beer Museum in Front Royal.
Preservation Virginia is offering two upcoming webinars cover state and federal grant opportunities as well as ways to cultivate individuals and private foundations. The webinars are paid events, but scholarship opportunities are available. Contact Sonja Ingram at email@example.com for more information.
Do you have questions about applying for statewide grant programs or private foundations? Panelist from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will provide an overview of state grants currently available for physical “bricks and mortar” preservation projects, including the new Virginia Black, Indigenous and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund and the Commonwealth History Fund. The program will also discuss other avenues for fundraising, such as approaching private foundations and cultivating support from individuals. Dr. Lisa Winn Bryan, Community Outreach Manager at Preservation Virginia, will moderate the discussion.
Dig deeper into the application process to understand how to prepare and what you need to apply for federal programs. Megan Brown from the National Park Service and Lawana Holland-Moore from the National Trust for Historic Preservation will discuss grants administered by their organizations, including National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grants and Underrepresented Communities Grants and the National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Preservation architect Joseph (Jody) Dye Lahendro will discuss the details of application requirements, like establishing historic significance and identifying the project scope, phasing and costs to support and justify grant requests.
You might have heard about the upcoming expansion at the Winchester Regional Airport. By happenstance while filing other newspaper clippings in PHW’s daunting backlog of uncatalogued items, we came across some articles on the 1988 expansion plans. From the August 13, 1988 editorial column by Tim Thornton, a few select quotes on the history of the airport and the vision for the new terminal:
“A patchwork of hangars and offices constructed in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s, the present  terminal is small — about 1,900 square feet by Mr. Wiegand’s reckoning — and it’s showing its age. . . . . Plans for a new terminal — a two-story building with a restaurant — were drawn up in 1983. In 1987 the plan called for a $335,000, 4,000 square foot terminal.”
“The Authority envisions a W-shaped terminal with a waiting area to accommodate 39 people, a pilot lounge, a concessions area, a flight planning room, administrative offices, and a reception area. . . . . The design also includes a 400-foot observation tower that would be required for passenger flights.”
According to the Frederick County Tax Map, the existing terminal was built in 1989 and is 9,248 square feet.
While we approach the end of National Preservation Month, there are still a few more activities in the pipeline that can help you celebrate the area’s unique architectural and cultural heritage:
This weekend is the 30th annual Newtown Heritage Festival. The event started in 1993 to commemorate Stephens City’s heritage and to bring community awareness to the town. The festival begins tonight, May 27, at 6 PM and continues into Saturday, May 28 with various activities and performances. Perhaps of most interest to our readers would be the “Up Along Mulberry” Guided Trolley tour created by Rick Kriebel of Newtown History Center. The tour is free but tickets are required. Seating is limited. Pick up a ticket at the festival tent or reserve by emailing NHF30th@gmail.com. Tours are scheduled for 11 AM and 4 PM on Saturday.
In celebration of its 200th anniversary, the Winchester Police Department will host a car show in Old Town Winchester (Piccadilly & Cameron Streets) in partnership with the Hoppers Auto Club, Inc. on Saturday, May 28, 1-5 pm (rain date Sunday, May 29). Cost is $10, with proceeds benefiting the Winchester-Frederick Co. Law Enforcement Foundation.
OrigamiintheGarden, an exhibition created by Santa Fe artists Jennifer and Kevin Box, opens Saturday, May 28 at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. The outdoor exhibit features Box’s own compositions as well as collaborations with world-renowned origami artists Robert J. Lang, Te Jui Fu, Beth Johnson and Michael G. LaFosse. These remarkable artworks feel at home in the wondrous setting of botanical gardens, since paper originates in plant life and origami is made of paper. Don’t miss the Memorial Day Special Showing on Monday, May 30 at 2 PM!
The PHW office will be closed on Monday, May 30 for Memorial Day. Celebrate responsibly!
The board of directors of the Clowser Foundation will host its annual memorial service to honor the Clowser family members of Frederick County who were killed on June 1, 1764, by Native Americans during the French and Indian War. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 10 a.m. June 4 at The Historic Clowser House at 152 Tomahawk Trail, Winchester 22602.
Mark your calendars! PHW and the Shenandoah Arts Council are teaming up on May 14 to host an open house in our office, the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. We invite anyone to stop by and see our unique office building, the only hexagonal residence built in Virginia. We will premiere the highly-requested brochure on the house’s history at the event, and visitors can pick up a free copy. This is also set to be one of the rare times the second story will also be open for tours, thanks to the partnership of ShenArts.
This event is held in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, which takes place every May. This year’s theme is People Saving Places. Historic place-savers pour their time, energy, and resources into protecting places they care about, often without recognition. Preservation Month 2022 is for them—a national high-five to everyone doing the great work of saving places and inspiring others to do the same.
In lieu of an admission fee, we encourage you to donate to one of a number of earmarked funds held by PHW. Online donations through Eventbrite will be marked as a general donation to PHW; you may donate in person at the door toward our directed funds. More information on the donation options will be available at the event.
The family-friendly Kidzfest day downtown will also be held May 14. Before or after visiting us at the Hexagon House, head to the Old Town Mall for exhibits highlighting education, art, music, sports and more. Information on the event is available at oldtownwinchesterva.com.
The French and Indian War Foundation has two events for the same weekend. First, stop by Washington’s Well at 419 N. Loudoun St. between 10 AM and 4 PM on May 14. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Fort Loudoun Day commemorating the beginning of construction of Col. George Washington’s historic Fort Loudoun in 1756. Look back into Winchester’s history during the 1700s via re-enactments, tours, and children’s activities.
Dr. Carl Ekberg presents a special luncheon and lecture “George Washington Gets Lucky, July 4, 1754” for the 20th anniversary celebration of the French and Indian War Foundation on Sunday, May 15. Head to the George Washington Hotel Ballroom for a 1 PM lunch and 2 PM lecture and cash bar. The event is $30 for members of FIWF and $35 for nonmembers; reserve your tickets by shopping online at fiwf.org/shopor by mailing a check to FIWF, PO Box 751, Winchester, VA 22604.
PHW is also accepting nominations for the 2022 preservation awards. If someone you know has completed a preservation project in Winchester or Frederick County and deserves recognition for their hard work, nominate them for a PHW award. The nomination forms can be found on the PHW website—nominate as many people or projects as you wish. Nominations are due by June 10 for consideration this year.
Orrick Cemetery is the only surviving African-American cemetery that is still active in Winchester, Virginia. It will be celebrating a century of incorporation on April 13, 2022, but has served our community for over two centuries.
Presenter Brenda Nelson will give a comprehensive history of Orrick Cemetery. She has been researching her and her husband’s genealogy and has shared what she has learned and the family she has researched by writing and publishing three articles for the Fairfax Genealogical Society Newsletter. Brenda’s latest project had been researching the history of the Orrick Cemetery here in the City of Winchester.
Markers educate the public, encourage pride of place, promote tourism and generate economic benefits. Despite their importance, many have not received ongoing care to maintain their luster. Road salt, pollen and other contaminants can take their toll. Markers must be regularly cleaned so they can be enjoyed now and for future generations. That’s where volunteers for National Historic Marker Day make a difference.
Visit the official National Historic Marker Day webpage for details about registering as a volunteer, planning a service project, tips for cleaning markers, and the benefits of participating. PHW will be sprucing up our markers at the Hexagon House before closing early that afternoon for Apple Blossom festivities.
PHW is planning a National Preservation Month event in mid-May at the Hexagon House. We are ecstatic to have finally completed an updated history brochure on our wonderful office space and are looking forward to celebrating its launch this spring. More details will be coming soon!
Are you an artist interested in being part of the Bough & Dough Shop this year? The dates have tentatively been set for November 18-December 11. Artist application forms will be completed soon; if you are a prospective artist drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a digital copy when they become available.
The Winchester-Frederick County Tourism Office will host the next Newcomers Eventon Thursday, April 7 from 5-7 pm at the Visitor Center. Are you new to the area or just want to learn more about our beautiful and vibrant community? Stop by and enjoy this free, casual event. Representatives from the City and County governments and parks and recreation departments, the Discovery Museum, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Handley Library, local destinations/museums, Winchester Area Newcomer’s Club, and more will be present.
As part of the Community Conversations Series, Councilors Kim Herbstritt and John Hill will host a Community Cleanup on Saturday, April 9 at 8 AM at Shawnee Springs (behind Mt. Carmel Church on Pleasant Valley Rd.), Friendship Park (end of N. Pleasant Valley Rd. across from Friendship Fire Station), and N. Cameron & N. Loudoun Streets (Rescue Mission and north to railroad tracks). Volunteers needed – bags, gloves, and pickers will be provided.
Grants from the Hart Family Fund for Small Townsare intended to encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects in small towns. These grants help stimulate public discussion, enable local groups to gain the technical expertise needed for particular projects, introduce the public to preservation concepts and techniques, and encourage financial participation by the private sector. Grants range from $2,500 to $15,000. Apply by May 2.
In our ongoing work sparked by the Elms on Valley Avenue, we have been researching the proliferation of short-term tourist accommodations in Virginia in the early to mid-twentieth century to provide background context for the site. In William Couper’s History of the Shenandoah Valley published in 1952, the author states: “Tourist courts, at times called motels and somewhat similar terms, have become so numerous in the Valley that a pamphlet listing them and their advantages and accommodations has been published by the Virginia Tourist Court Association, Incorporated” (p. 1186).
In a prepared statement in 1951, the Association outlined how their model of business was substantially different from rental housing and commercial hotels: “Though tourist courts possess some of the characteristics of ordinary rental housing and some of the characteristics of commercial hotels, they are different in very substantial respects from both . . . . Tourist courts, unlike ordinary rental housing, cater only to transients and, unlike commercial hotels, they cater only to transients traveling by private motor vehicle. Persons traveling by train, airplane, bus, or ship do not patronize tourist courts. Further, the tourist court, because of its location usually far distant from the business centers of large cities, does not appeal to the average commercial traveler. It is designed for and seeks its patronage among motoring vacationists.” 
This reasoning falls in line well with the development patterns of tourist courts and similar establishments. Hand in hand with the rise of the automobile, Winchester and its many scenic roads were often included in vacation guides geared to the automobile owner. Starting in at least the late 1920s, various groups concerned with tourism and travel along the highways passing through town partnered with other localities to drive more visitors here to experience our scenery, history, and of course, the Apple Blossom Festival. Winchester was often touted as the perfect overnight destination on these two or three day road trips.
No timeline accounting for the rise and fall of motels in Winchester and nearby Frederick County exists (yet), though incidental research of buildings throughout town reflects larger single family dwellings often being utilized as rooming houses or tourist homes in the early 1900s to 1940s. A 1967 business census lists 17 tourist courts, motels, and similar in Winchester, and 18 in Frederick County .
Documentary images of the remaining Elms “Cottages” may now be seen at our Flickr account.
We are also getting ready for a large batch of membership renewals for our spring/end of fiscal year push. If you’d like to get in your renewal early, we have an online form you can download and mail in with your check. Otherwise, keep an eye out in early April for the next renewal letter.
We are getting closer to seeing the MSV partnership on some landscaping/exterior improvements happen at the Hexagon House. Our end goal is to have some quality of life improvements for outdoor events here. Many of you are familiar with our usual outdoor setup for the Annual Meeting and the greenery sales at the Bough & Dough Shop and have probably noticed the yard is looking a bit rough. We hope to be able to share more details soon, but any donations made to PHW in memory of Jim Laidlaw are currently being considered for this project. As you may know, Jim and Barbara have been integral parts of PHW’s leadership since the 1970s, and were similarly involved with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Barbara is being consulted and is on-board for the proposed idea.
We have reached out to our local Department of Historic Resources office and confirmed of the 200 motels/hotels surveyed in Virginia, only three are from Winchester/Frederick County. Similar styles have been considered National Register eligible recently. We would recommend viewing the Multiple Property Document for Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels and Hotels for more in-depth architectural history on hospitality-focused buildings. You can also view more collected images and information on the Elms Motor Court at Dead Motels USA. The existing motor court is worth documenting properly at the very least, or perhaps even incorporated into the other adaptive reuse of existing structures planned for the site.
The public hearing for rezoning will take place March 15, 3 PM in Rouss City Hall. You may wish to make statements in writing and submit them before the meeting to the Planning Commission by email via email@example.com.
Today is Charlie Rouss Day, celebrated on the birthday of this benefactor to Winchester. While no events were planned for 2022 due to the pandemic, you can celebrate by watching a quick video produced by the City of Winchester:
This time of year, PHW is also getting ready to celebrate its 58th birthday. We celebrated at the office by doing some filing for old newsletters discovered tucked into other file folders this week. Perhaps not the most festive thing to do, but important if we’re ever going to get around to scanning all the backlog!
Here are a few other upcoming events and a video that could be of interest to historians and preservationists:
Learn about Winchester in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and explore the history of the Godfrey Miller House. The event takes place February 16 at 2:30 PM in the Godfrey Miller Center, 28 S. Loudoun St. The tours will be led by Rev. Jonathan Boynton dressed in period costume. Rev. Boynton is an avid reenactment historian that has been delighting participants with his knowledge and entertaining presentations for more than 35 years.
A new highway marker honoring Dr. Madison S. Briscoe will be unveiled at his childhood home 204 S. Kent St. on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2:30 PM (inclement weather date is Feb. 26). Parking is available at the Winchester Moose Lodge. Activities related to Dr. Briscoe will be held at the Discovery Museum between 11 AM and 2 PM on the same day.
It will be a brief roundup this week, as we’ve been working on PHW membership renewal letters. If you’d like to skip mailing a check, you can pay online using a credit/debit card. You can find the automatic subscription form on our website, along with a link to make a one-time donation or a form to mail in with your check (just in case you misplaced your form). Thanks in advance to everyone renewing for the 2022 year!
It’s Virginia General Assembly advocacy season at Preservation Virginia. The bills they have identified as a priority can be found on their website. They are currently following the progress of SB 158 and HB 141, Virginia Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund, which will establish a grant fund to support and provide nonprofit organizations, localities, and state and federally-recognized Indian tribes eligible costs to acquire, preserve and interpret historic structures, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites important to the history of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. No such fund currently exists to support these resources. Its establishment would help to ensure the preservation of historic sites and resources from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities, which traditionally have not been priorities for state conservation grant funding.
PHW is working on producing a pamphlet covering the Hexagon House. Do you have questions about the house and its history you want answered? Drop us a note and we’ll try to cover as many questions as possible. We’ve touched up our house history with information recently uncovered and are looking forward to printing this spring. Stay tuned for more details!
Ever wondered about the type of architectural detective work we do here at PHW? You might enjoyDidn’t Used To Be a Pizza Hut for the saga of uncovering land use history of a weird-looking Pizza Hut in Landover, MD. It’s quite a chain restaurant tale hitting both recognizable names like Pizza Hut and Howard Johnson and some mostly forgotten ones of a bygone era.
Last, for a bit of documentation of Vanished Winchester, you may wish to look through the Winchester Towers interior photography album on Facebook from shortly before the building was demolished. Thanks for sharing, Matthew Lofton!
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.
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!