Friday Photos: PHW’s Silver Anniversary

PHW's  Silver Anniversary It’s hard to believe, but we are just one week away from PHW’s 50th Anniversary celebration. Tickets are still available; see the 50th Anniversary page for more details on how to reserve your spot.

In honor of our upcoming 50th celebration on September 19, we look back today at the 25th, or Silver Anniversary celebration, which was held in October 1989 at the recently renovated Rouss City Hall. Relieve the last big anniversary celebration with some candid photos before making new memories next Friday!

View the album on Flickr.

Friday Photos Themed Albums

Sacred Heart Church Happy Friday! No history post this week as we continue to work on the 50th Anniversary Party coming up on Sept. 19, but we do have a new themed album at Flickr featuring architectural details. If you’ve ever wanted to see examples of adzed vs. circular sawed wood marks, nail types, or visual examples of architectural terms, this album should help you out. More photos will be added to this album as time goes on, so check back!

There are also new albums for the former Sacred Heart Church on South Loudoun Street, the Kurtz Building, and the Hexagon House.

Images were also added to PHW’s Revolving Fund Houses album.

In addition, some photos have not yet been categorized, so check out the photostream to see what else we found in our closet this week.

Tickets Available for PHW’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

50eventPlease join us in the celebration of Preservation of Historic Winchester’s 50th Anniversary with an evening of music, light hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and fun at the Taylor Hotel Pavilion. This casual, outdoor event in the mixed grass and paved multilevel Taylor Hotel Pavilion is a party honoring PHW’s accomplishments over the past fifty years. PHW has enjoyed this longevity and success because of our excellent and motivated volunteers, board of directors, and staff through the decades. This event is a celebration those past accomplishments, while looking forward to another fifty years of preservation in Winchester.

Special thanks to the Robert Larson Trio, musicians; and Becky Parrish of “A Matter of Taste,” caterer. They are sure to make this a special evening for us.

Date: Friday, September 19, 2014
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Location: The Taylor Hotel Pavilion, 125 N. Loudoun St.
Inclement Weather Location: Bright Box Theater, 15 N. Loudoun St.
Dress: Casual, prepare for the weather and wear flat shoes
Admission: This special event is FREE to current PHW members as a thank you for your continued support.
Not a current PHW member? Admission is $25 per person or $45 per couple. Admission cost includes a 1 year membership to PHW.

Space is limited to 200 attendees, so reserve your tickets one of four ways:

  • In person at the PHW Office, 530 Amherst St.
  • By email at
  • By phone at (540) 667-3577
  • By PayPal for new or renewing PHW members

Friday Photos: Field Trip to Staunton, VA

PHW Trip to Staunton It’s another short post this week as we continue to work on PHW’s 50th Anniversary Celebration (spots are still available!).

This special two-part tour and lecture focusing on Staunton was coordinated in 1988 by Katie Rockwood and Kay Whitworth. The first phase, a lecture, was held in the Old Stone Church on East Piccadilly Street in Winchester. Ann McCleary, Curator at the then newly opened Museum of Frontier American Culture, spoke on the early 18th and 19th century architecture of the Shenandoah Valley, and how the Frontier Museum interprets the lives of the early pioneers.

The second phase was the field trip to Staunton. The first stop on the bus trip was the Frontier Museum itself. At that time, two homesteads were completed – the Scotch-Irish and the Appalachian farm. PHW’s guests were offered a special guided tour on this trip, as normally experiencing the site was unguided.

The tour group had a private tour and lunch at Belle Grae Inn, which at the time was a gourmet hotspot in an 1870s Italianate home converted to a bed and breakfast establishment.

After lunch, the group meet with representatives from the Historic Staunton Foundation for a walking tour of the downtown, with an emphasis on how their Facade Improvement Program impacted both the appearance and economic vitality of their downtown. Some of the highlighted spots included Trinity Church, Stuart House, C.W. Miller House, and The Oaks.

Relive the field trip to Staunton at the Flickr album.

PHW Combats Gentrification

South Kent StreetAs you may have deduced from past Friday Photos posts, the 1980s were the most active period for the Jennings Revolving Fund. This was a critical period which saw some truly remarkable renovations take place. This activity helped to much of the core downtown after decades of rampant demolitions for parking lots.

The unfortunate side effect of this work is that by returning these buildings to single family use, the renters in the multiple apartments were displaced. The massive amounts of work to the buildings naturally led to a rise in property values and slowly began to change the perception of neighborhoods like Potato Hill from somewhere undesirable to a safe and attractive neighborhood. This displacement, called gentrification, was one of the main criticisms leveled at PHW and the Revolving Fund.

Although PHW’s approach to Revolving Fund purchases was to offer a current renter the ability to purchase the property, in most cases this was not feasible for the renter. The Revolving Fund houses were often in disrepair past the point of someone inexperienced and not financially stable taking on the task of renovating them on their own. It is hard to imagine someone diving into renovations for the first time with properties like the Grim-Moore house, 215 S. Loudoun, or the Huntsberry Building and reaching a successful outcome.

To that end, PHW partnered with the City on a Community Development Block Grant for Kent Street. The CDBG was primarily aimed at reversing blight in rental properties and focusing on maintaining the existing building stock as the likelihood for new construction declined. A secondary motivation was in response to the fear of the downtown as a whole declining as the key anchor stores moved to the Apple Blossom Mall. By keeping the surrounding neighborhoods inhabited, there was more chance of businesses remaining downtown because of the built-in clientele.

All told, the 1980 CDBG project addressed safety and blight concerns in 28 residential properties on North and South Kent Street. Fire hazards were one of the highest cited problems for the neighborhoods. The houses typically lacked central heating and relied on wood stoves, kerosene heaters, or portable electric heaters, all of which raise the potential for fires. The data collection for the CDBG also found many buildings did not have adequate plumbing (some never having been connected to the existing sewer service) and many were overcrowded. There were also insufficient fire hydrants and in some cases the very streets were too narrow for fire equipment to access.

A Home, Sweet Affordable Home On Kent StreetThe houses were renovated to provide fire breaks and improve electrical wiring conditions. At the same time, sidewalks, water lines, and sewer lines were improved and the stone retaining walls on South Kent Street were repaired. PHW’s focus was primarily on South Kent Street in the 300 block. Seven of the units on South Kent Street were under PHW’s purview. Although reactions to the project were mixed and it never quelled the concerns about gentrification, one unit in particular was called out as a prime success story.

311 1/2 South Kent was the smallest of PHW’s units and the first to be renovated. Completed and put up for sale in 1982, potential buyers would have to qualify under special Department of Housing and Urban Development restrictions because the house was renovated with CDBG funds. It didn’t take long for the house to find its new owner. After being listed in February and shown in an open house event, the home was sold to Daryl Monn and his family in May. (1) (2) It had been a perfect opportunity for Monn, who had been struggling to find a home. Through PHW, the Monns could realize their dream of home ownership.

A copy of the 1980 CDBG Kent Street paperwork is on file at PHW and is available to researchers seeking more information. See the Flickr album for images of 311 1/2 South Kent Street before and during PHW’s renovation.

The History of Preservation of Historic Winchester

What is Preservation of Historic Winchester all about? Watch this quick intro video to learn what started the organization and some of our major projects over the past fifty years. Versions of this slideshow were presented several times in 2014, most recently at the July 26, 2014 Design Expo on the Old Town Mall in Winchester, Virginia.

Background music from OverClocked ReMix
“Aeris Lives” by Kevin Lau –
“A Healer’s Touch” by Level 99, Avaris –

Watch on YouTube.

The Funk and Fuller Properties

Funk and Fuller PropertiesWe take a little break from the downtown mall this week with a look at one of the more unique situations in PHW’s Revolving Fund history A row of four lots, encompassing 601, 603-605, 607, and 609 South Cameron Street, was purchased by the Jennings Revolving Fund in 1981. Like 215 South Loudoun last week, the three existing buildings were in poor condition, while a fourth had already been razed following a fire. This was the first, and to date only, time an empty lot was part of a Revolving Fund purchase. (1)

The properties were held for many years by two families. 601 and 603-605 S. Cameron were both built by James A. Fuller, a Winchester railroad engineer. 601 was constructed in 1846, and 603-605 in 1882 (though like 215 S. Loudoun, deed references indicate there may have been an earlier dwelling on the site which did not survive.) These properties remained in the Fuller family until 1946.

The house at 609 S. Cameron St., and the lot at 607, were both owned by the Funk family. 609 S. Cameron was constructed circa 1860 for Christopher Funk, a bricklayer. His son James N. W. Funk was an undertaker and proprietor of Funk and Ray Undertakers, located at 7 S. Market (Cameron) St. 607 and 609 S. Cameron remained in the Funk family until their purchase by PHW in 1981. (Note the Winchester Star cites the location of Funk and Ray Undertakers as 7 S. Loudoun St. It appears the error originated in PHW’s research and was passed on to the newspaper.)

Funk and Fuller PropertiesThe interesting story may be the house at 607 S. Cameron. The Funk-owned house here had been destroyed by fire in the 1920s. Although offered as a rare chance for new construction in the Historic District, the lot instead became a once in a lifetime chance to move a historic property from outside the district into its boundary. The house is recorded in PHW’s notes as originating from 901 S. Cameron St., approximately the juncture of Millwood Avenue/Gerrard Street and Cameron Street. Presumably this house was in danger of demolition for the strip mall now located at 101-113 Millwood Ave., which was constructed circa 1983. The May 1984 PHW newsletter notes this house was “laying on its side, under a black tarp” before the reconstruction process began.

Funk and Fuller Properties
See more images of the Funk and Fuller properties at the Flickr album.

215 South Loudoun St. Rehabilitation

215 South Loudoun Street This Friday we bring you one of our favorite things: a photographic documentation of a building rehabilitation. The houses at the intersection of Cork and Loudoun Streets, just off the walking mall, had been in decline for some time, adding to the visual perception of the downtown as a dirty and unsafe place to be. PHW purchased the house at 215 South Loudoun Street in 1979. The building was in dilapidated condition, inside and out, and would require extensive work to make it inhabitable once more.

George and Vivian Smith stepped up to the challenge. Over the next two years, the Smiths worked on the home. The building was originally tentatively dated pre-1885; as work on the interior commenced, the existing moldings and mantels suggested a circa 1840-1850 timeframe. Later, the building received a facelift, adding Italianate features like the arched windows, doors, and front porch. A frame wing to the rear of the main brick house was apparently constructed over the site of an earlier structure. Archeological work during the rebuilding of the frame portion revealed the remains of a stone chimney, fragments of Canton ware, and an 1831 penny.

Deed research by PHW supports these archeological findings. The lot was purchased by John Lauck in 1821. Some sort of dwelling was likely in place by 1828 when it was purchased by William Blanchard. Language of the deed in 1852 when the property was sold to Edward Hoffman seem to indicate the brick house was not yet constructed. Tax records for 1881 indicate a jump in assessments, leading to speculation the Italianate improvements may have taken place that year.

215 South Loudoun StreetWork on 215 South Loudoun included repairing the existing porch and shutters, rebuilding and repointing the walls, jacking and leveling the frame extension and replacing the siding, and repairing and reglazing the existing windows. PHW placed special protective covenants on this property to specify all work during the repointing was to be done with hand tools to not damage the brick. Interior upgrades included new electrical, HVAC, plumbing, insulation, bathroom and kitchen facilities, as well as modifications to the interior stairs.

With so much work to be done, it will come as no surprise 215 South Loudoun was a tax credit project. It was granted a Winchester Historic Building plaque in 1982. Much like the Huntsberry Building, this property displayed a dramatic upswing in value post-rehabilitation. PHW sold the property for a little less than $23,000. In 1985, the Smiths’ asking price was $125,000. The building, just off the walking mall, was used by the Smiths for their business, but was returned to residential use by its current owners.

215 South Loudoun Street
Be sure to visit the Flickr album to see many more images of 215 South Loudoun during its rehabilitation.

The Huntsberry Building

The Huntsberry Building As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, PHW was becoming increasingly active in the future of the downtown. When the Huntsberry Building at 157 North Loudoun Street came on the radar as a Revolving Fund purchase, it was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate two proposed methods to keep downtowns vital against the encroachment of large shopping malls. One of these methods was to encourage more historic facade restorations, turning back some of the changes and restore a more authentic view of downtown. The Huntsberry Building would be a perfect and potentially dramatic example of this, as the facade had been covered in a cement and tile mixture in the 1940s or 1950s, obscuring the original Queen Anne details. It was also a perfect case to reintroduce upper story apartments to the downtown. The upper floors of the building had reportedly been vacant for twenty years in 1982. While in disrepair many Victorian-era architectural details were still intact on the upper stories, and the space could comfortably be divided into several apartments.(1)

PHW began with the technical work to tackle the exterior restoration portion of this project, locating archival photos of the building and doing some hands on investigation to determine how the facade had once looked. One of the best guides was a circa 1886 photo, showing where windows had once been located and a different street level configuration of the storefront. John G. Lewis lent his architectural historian expertise to the building as well, confirming through trace evidence left in the building’s interior some of the puzzling exterior questions.

The Huntsberry Building PHW secured a $30,000 loan from the National Trust, matched that amount with a local fund drive, and received a state grant of $14,000 to purchase the building and undertake the facade restoration project.(2) Work on the facade started in September of 1982, and almost immediately hit an unforeseen snag. During the tile removal, the brick wall was found to be very soft, possibly having been made from salmon bricks reused from another building previously on this site. The bricks and mortar were also theorized to have not been wetted sufficiently during construction, causing the mortar to fail much more rapidly than usual. The removal of the window frames, which were structural elements, further compromised the stability of the front facade. Even a careful approach to the cement and tile removal led to dangerous shifting of the wall and more damage to the bricks.

The Huntsberry Building Fearing a collapse should this work proceed, a structural engineer was brought in. The first floor and foundation were found to be in good condition. During this time PHW members made the decision to rebuild in cinder block. In an ideal world, brick could have been custom ordered to replace that which had been damaged, but the committee felt there was a lack of expertise in historic mason techniques, so that the craftsmanship of this approach could not have duplicated the original facade satisfactorily. The cinder block wall would also reduce the weight on the first floor, and when plastered would still provide the intended historic flavor without bankrupting the organization.

Although it was a potentially disastrous situation, the Huntsberry Building facade was rebuilt to much the way it appeared in the 1880s. The project was lauded as a successful experiment, with the apartments being rented soon after their completion in 1987.(3) The only downside was that the reconstruction of the failing front wall with cinder block precluded the project from realizing historic tax credit benefits. Although the owners who undertook the interior renovation put the building up for sale in 1992, the asking price was an indication of the project’s success and a turnaround in the downtown climate. PHW sold the building for $75,000. Ten years and one interior renovation later and the asking price became $300,000.(4)

Be sure to visit the Flickr album to see more images of the Huntsberry Building during the facade restoration, 1982-1983.