Nominations Open for the 2019 Preservation Awards

Do you know of a person or place that deserves recognition for their preservation contributions in Winchester or Frederick County, Virginia? PHW is now accepting nominations in several categories. Click for a PDF of the nomination form. You may nominate yourself or any project for consideration, and you may make more than one nomination. Work should be complete or near complete at the time of nomination. Winners will be announced and given a few moments to talk about their project at PHW’s Annual Meeting, likely to be held June 23 or 30, 2019.

There are a variety of categories to choose from, so see if you can give a boost of recognition to a project that may have gone under the radar this past year. Remember to get your forms in by May 31 to the PHW office, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601!

54th Annual Meeting Wrap Up

Did you miss the Annual Meeting on Sunday? You can get a glimpse of it online at The initiative that was alluded to in the news report is our goal to become more involved in the North End of Winchester to preserve buildings and places that may not be seen as traditional “historic preservation” projects, but ones that focus on the broadening goals of historic preservation and cultural significance. (A CityLab article from last summer, How Do You Measure the Value of a Historic Site?, discusses these kinds of goals and topics for a 1930s neighborhood in Singapore.)

PHW's 54th Annual Meeting
We are also pleased to announce our slate of PHW preservation award winners for 2018:

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.
Scallan Properties
Coca-Cola Bottling Works, 1720 Valley Avenue

The Clowser Foundation
The Clowser House, 152 Tomahawk Trail

Christ Episcopal Church
The Old Rectory porch reconstruction, 134 West Boscawen Street

The Shendow Family
The Bell’s Building, 122 North Loudoun Street

Lucille Lozier Award
This award is named in honor of Lucille Lozier, a founding member of PHW and president of the organization in 1969. It is one of our highest honors, awarded for the renovation of a significant structure retaining 75% of the historic architectural fabric.
Richard and Melanie Lewis
21 South Washington Street

Ben Belchic Award
This award is named in honor of Ben Belchic, a founding member of PHW. 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.
Timothy Youmans
Winchester Street and Alley Name Origin Database

Past award winners and the nomination form for future award nominees, can be found on the PHW website. Find more images from the 54th Annual Meeting at Flickr.

PHW’s 54th Annual Meeting This Sunday

Another year has flown by at PHW! Please join us at the Hexagon House on Sunday, June 24, 3 PM to recap the last year, elect the board of directors, and see the presentation of the 2018 preservation awards. Stay afterwards for light refreshments and building tours. This event is free and open to PHW members.

As you may know from past years, we generally set up the seating for the business portion outside. As is the running theme this year for events, we are anticipating an alternate plan for holding the event indoors to beat the afternoon thunderstorms. Rain or shine, we will have the meeting, but dressing for the weather is recommended in case we need to make a quick run for the indoors.

We look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Friday Roundup: Awards, Walking Tours, and Rain Recovery

Friday RoundupWe are a little over halfway through National Preservation Month, but there’s still plenty of time to nominate some worthy projects for PHW’s annual preservation awards. See past winners and download a nomination form here. Nominations should be returned to PHW by June 11, no later than 5 PM, for consideration for a 2018 award.

Speaking of Preservation Month, we will regretfully postpone our planned walking tour of Potato Hill for Saturday, May 19. There are reports of afternoon thunderstorms in the forecast. Stay safe and as dry as you can, and we will let you know our make up day and time ASAP.

If you are facing flooding issues and water penetration, Nicholas Redding at Preservation Maryland compiled the following list of resources to help you dry out:
“After the Floodwaters Recede: A Checklist of Things to Do,” Maryland Historical Trust
“Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings,” National Trust for Historic Preservation
“Repairing Your Flooded Home,” American Red Cross
“Selecting a Contractor After a Natural Disaster Strikes,” Maryland Historical Trust
“Tips for Handling Insurance Claims for Historic Properties Following a Disaster,” Maryland Historical Trust
“Drying Wet Books and Records,” Northeast Document Conservation Center

When the weather breaks and you can enjoy the downtown again, PHW has updated the PDF of the “Explore the Old Town Mall” brochure to version 1.2. There are a few more text edits yet to come before a physical reprint, but if you spot any more pesky typos now, please let us know!

Friday Roundup: Indices, Trees, Photos and Fun!

Friday RoundupOne of the research resources we have at PHW that has been long neglected is a thick stack of photocopies of Mutual Assurance Society records. PHW volunteers obtained these copies in the 1970s as we were preparing for the 1976 Architectural Inventory. These insurance policies are very useful in seeing how early buildings grew and expanded, even giving details about the uses of certain wings, additions, or outbuildings. These are helpful for dating buildings that predate the Sanborn maps.

Thinking these records had already been sorted and it would be easy to find a policy for a quick fact check, it was quite a surprise to find that was not the case at all. After an afternoon of painstakingly deciphering names, it seemed more efficient to see if anyone had indexed these records already. Indeed, such a resource exists! The University of Mary Washington Department of Historic Preservation has a publicly searchable index of policies with a variety of search field options. In the case of these photocopies, the policy number is often the most legible identifying information. The document images are not available from this search, so this resource may not be of use to all researchers. However, you may want to experiment with the owner name search to see if a previous owner may have had a policy. For example, we know that George Norton had a Mutual Assurance Society policy on his home. By searching for his name, it brings up his Amherst St. home, as well as two other policies he took out at the same time. However, be careful! As with all old records, spelling can be haphazard and transcribers may not be able to make modernizations to help researchers. In Norton’s policies, we have creative street names like Piccadilla, Boscowan, and Loudon. If you find a record, don’t forget to consult the list of abbreviations to find out what was insured on the property and its construction materials.

Many of us have never seen, but heard the tales of the American chestnut tree. With the ongoing efforts to revive the species through blight-resistant hybridization, the question arose as to how large the trees really were. You can read and listen to a recent NPR interview of Roanoke College Biologist Rachel Collins, who warns us to temper our expectations of the mature chestnut hybrids reaching the massive proportions reported in historic documents due to some simple math confusion between diameter and circumference. If you are interested in learning more about the history and efforts to restore the American chestnut, visit the American Chestnut Foundation at

Of course, it would not be Friday without some photos. This week’s upload has pushed us over 10,000 photos milestone in our Flickr collection! (“Only” 9,500 are publicly viewable, with the remaining 500 mostly historic photos or artwork we do not have rights to share.) About 50 older photos were identified, added to albums, and made public for searchers. We also added 36 photos of 518 and 401-403 South Kent Street, both Revolving Fund properties, again at the beginning of the rehabilitation. Catch them at the top of the Flickr photostream.

Clean Up Day, Blues House

Lastly, mark these dates on your calendars for upcoming PHW events! (Times may be subject to change.)

May 19, 2 PM: National Preservation Month walking tour, highlighting Winchester historic plaque and Jennings Revolving Fund properties in the Potato Hill neighborhood. Volunteers are still needed as tour guides! Contact PHW at or 540-667-3577 to add your name to the guide list.

June 24, 3 PM: PHW’s Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards, planned for the Hexagon House rear yard.

Friday Photos: Pittsburgh Bridge Co. Bridge, Fairmont Ave.

Private bridge with working rail line beneath
Happy Friday! Although we could not show any photos at our Annual Meeting, we thought you would like to see the progress pictures for one of our Award of Merit winners, Charles and Kelly Hyre, for the work done to retain their unique private driveway bridge at 445 Fairmont Ave. The bridge images submitted in the award nomination packet have been added to the 2017 Annual Meeting album on Flickr. The house, known as Dunheath or more commonly Glen Lee, was built in 1869 for Judge William Clark, Jr. At the time, it was one of the first houses built so far north on Fairmont, and as such it was set much farther back from the street than any other home. All was well until a rail line was slated to run along Fairmont Avenue, cross the Amherst and Boscawen Y-intersection, and terminate at the Cumberland Valley Railroad depot at the corner of Boscawen and Stewart Streets. While the rail line passed in the rear of all other homes on Fairmont, for Glen Lee it would cut directly across the main driveway. In exchange for the right-of-way for the tracks, the railroad company elevated the driveway, constructed the bridge, and lined it with a wrought iron fence.

The bridge was constructed by the Pittsburgh Bridge Company, with the firm Nelson and Buchanan as agents, in 1889. At the time, it was common for Pittsburgh Bridge Company to prefabricate the steel trusses and Nelson and Buchanan would act as the agents and contractors for the installation. To help sell their prefabricated bridges, railroad companies and local government officials were the primary targets for aggressive and sometimes ethically suspect marketing pitches.

While an untold number of bridges were constructed in our region by Pittsburgh Bridge Company from the 1880s until their consolidation with American Bridge Company in 1901, many of the large highway bridges have now been lost to age, accident, or new construction projects. The bridges that seem to still be in service are smaller back road bridges or the driveway examples, like the one at Glen Lee. Almost all are facing structural or maintenance issues after more than one hundred years of faithful service. See some other Pittsburgh Bridge Company examples from around the country at and through the search function at For more in-depth information on steel truss bridges, check out Bradford County’s Truss Bridges, which includes construction history, engineering information, and historic bridge manufacturer history. And you can see the Glen Lee driveway bridge at the end of the 2017 Annual Meeting and the Fairmont Avenue Flickr albums.

Friday Photos: Annual Meeting 2017

Happy Friday! If you could not join us last weekend at PHW’s 53rd Annual Meeting, you can experience the event through some photos taken during the business portion of the meeting. Bruce Downing, President of PHW, presented the following six preservation awards on June 11.

Bruce Downing, President of PHW, leading the meeting

Awards of Merit recognize renovations that contribute to improving the character of their neighborhoods and maintaining the overall historic fabric of the city. PHW presented two Awards of Merit this year:

  • Ann Brady and Gary Farrington, restoration of 317 South Braddock St. following the fire last year.
  • Charles and Kelly Hyre, restoration of the private steel and wood bridge (c. 1889) leading to their home at 445 Fairmont Ave.

The Katherine G. Rockwood Revolving Fund Award is named in honor of Katherine G. Rockwood. Mrs. Rockwood was the driving force behind the original 1976 architectural inventory of Winchester, PHW’s Jennings Revolving Fund, and innumerable other programs and activities of PHW. This award recognizes the outstanding renovation of a Jennings Revolving Fund property. PHW presented one Rockwood award this year:

  • E.G. and Joanne Hamill for the exterior restoration and porch reconstruction at 513 S. Loudoun St.

The Ben Belchic Award is named in honor of Ben Belchic, a founding member of PHW. He 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. This year, PHW recognized one scholar:

  • Wil Johnston for On the Town! Celebrating James Wood and the Founding of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Carroll H. Henkel Award is named in honor of Carroll H. Henkel, PHW’s first president in 1963-1964. This award recognizes outstanding leadership for historic preservation in the Winchester-Frederick County area. This year, we recognized one outstanding coalition:

  • The family members, residents of Shawneeland, and elected officials who came together to formulate the plan to save the Clowser House, recognized under their official organizational name the Clowser Foundation, and accepted by its president, Larry Webb.

PHW presented a special President’s Award to recognize the over fifty years of service put in by the entire Orndoff family, stretching all the way back to before PHW was even an organization itself. Betty Orndoff is one of the last people left who stood in protest in 1962 before the bulldozers came to raze the Conrad House. Edwin, Betty, and their daughter Eydie have since volunteered at almost every Holiday House Tour and attended nearly every major event of the organization since that time. It is truly a remarkable record of service!

PHW also elected the 2017-2018 Board of Directors, quickly recapped our last year, and we heard some brief remarks from Terry Heder, our host at the Bell House, about the plans for the building’s future uses and roles in telling the story of the Civil War in Winchester. After the meeting, guests could see the inside of the house for guided tours, or stay outside for some light refreshments. All in all, it was a beautiful and joyous afternoon!

See all the photos in our album at Flickr. Happy viewing!

Annual Meeting and Clowser Memorial Service Photos

The Bell HouseReminder: PHW’s Annual Meeting is this Sunday, June 11, at the Bell House, 106 North Cameron Street in Winchester. We will begin the business portion of the meeting, including election of the PHW board members, at 2 PM, followed by six preservation award presentations, and finish up the meeting with some remarks by our host, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Afterwards, please stay for light refreshments, socializing, and building tours. If you have stories to share of the Bell House and its history, our hosts would also love to hear them.

Last weekend, we attended the Clowser Foundation’s memorial service and lease signing celebration at the Clowser House in Shawneeland. If you weren’t able to attend, you can catch a few images of the event in our Flickr album. Happy viewing!

Clowser House Memorial Service

Friday Roundup: Upcoming Events and a Free Webinar

Friday RoundupHappy Friday! There are two events coming in June. First, on Saturday, June 3 at 10:30 a.m., the Clowser Foundation will have a memorial service at the Clowser cemetery (152 Tomahawk Trail, Winchester, VA 22602) for the massacre in which members of the Clowser family and other settlers were killed or taken prisoner by Delaware Indians in 1764, followed by a lease signing celebration. Please join them for this free event and help them start off their efforts to save the Clowser House.

Second, on Sunday, June 11 at 2 p.m., PHW will hold its 53rd Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards at the Bell House, 106 North Cameron Street, Winchester, VA 22601. Please join us at this free for members event to celebrate local preservation projects and people and start PHW’s year on the right foot. If you were unable to attend the Holiday House Tour, this will also give you another opportunity to see the Bell House and learn about the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields and their plans for the building.

The Preservation Leadership Forum and NeighborWorks America hosted the webinar “Preserving and Supporting Businesses in Historic Neighborhoods” on April 27. The webinar examined how small businesses contribute to the vitality of older neighborhoods through offering essential services and serving as community anchors. This builds upon previous studies that have identified historic buildings as incubators for small businesses. Check out the webinar and the addition related materials here.

Friday Photos: An Assortment after the Annual Meeting

This week, PHW has added about 40 photos to the following albums on Flickr. As always, see all the new additions at the beginning of the photostream, or at the end of their respective albums:
Morgan Street (1976 Architectural Survey)
Kurtz Cultural Center (“Before Freedom Came” and other exhibits)
Kidzfest 2016
Annual Meeting 2016

PHW's 52nd Annual Meeting

We would also like to take a moment to congratulate the award recipients pictured in the Annual Meeting 2016 album, as well as two winners who could not join us last Sunday.

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.

Lawton Saunders & Larry Omps
317 South Cameron Street, the Old Jail
(not pictured)

Lindsey Richardson and Brandon Wakeman
414 North Loudoun Street
(not pictured)

Winchester Little Theatre
Phase 1 of the Restoration Campaign
315 West Boscawen Street
Accepted by Marjorie Lewis and Vonderene Swigart

Ben Belchic Awards
This award is named in honor of Ben Belchic, a founding member of PHW. 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.

Mount Hebron Cemetery
Mount Hebron Cemetery History App
Accepted by John Lewis and George Schember

Bob Hampton and George Schember
Walking in the Footsteps of General Daniel Morgan
Accepted by Bob Hampton and George Schember

Patron’s Award
This award recognizes a person or business which has been an outstanding supporter of the goals and programs of PHW. This award usually recognizes a financial component (donations, fundraising efforts, etc.)

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
For ten years of in-kind support of PHW
Accepted by Julie Armel

Lifetime Achievement Awards
This award recognizes a person who has worked for the goals and programs of PHW over many years. Whereas a Henkel Award may recognize a short term, high-impact project, Lifetime Achievements are a recognition of “slow and steady” work for preservation efforts over the long-term.

Katie Rockwood and Patricia Zontine
Presented by Bruce Downing, accepted by Patricia Zontine and Tom Rockwood

The following PHW board members completed their terms this year. Please take a moment to thank them for their service the next time you see them!

Sharon Collette
Kathy Cresegiona
Nancy Murphy
Richie Pifer, Jr.
Sarah Smith
Doug Watson

Also, be sure to congratulate Tim Machado for joining the board this year, and Bruce Downing for stepping up to be President of the PHW board.