Friday Photos: 1976 Winchester Architectural Survey

Time to revisit our old friend, the 1976 Winchester Architectural Survey. This inventory, which took a team of volunteers and students approximately three years to complete, formed the basis for the successful National Register Historic District nomination in 1980. Although the 1976 inventory has been superseded by the 2011 survey, the older survey has an important legacy in documenting how the district changed – mostly for the better – over thirty years.

Take some time over the weekend and click through the album for a dose of nostalgia – and don’t forget to check back later, as there are still hundreds more photos to be digitized and added to this collection!

1976 Architectural Survey

Public Hearing for 414 S. Braddock St. on July 9

The second reading and public hearing to declare the structure at 414 S. Braddock St. a public nuisance and authorize funds to abate the situation will be the first business item on the agenda for the City Council meeting this Tuesday, July 9 at 7 PM. This is the only planned opportunity for public comment on the proposed abatement plan, which is currently leaning toward demolition of the north part of the structure, but is authorized in scope to demolish the entire building if deemed necessary.

PHW would welcome your attendance at the meeting either as observers or to hear your own comments on the situation. Please take a few moments to read through the material submitted for the meeting at the Winchester City website (materials for this item start at page 3).

We fully realize how badly the structure has deteriorated and will continue to deteriorate if nothing is done. As PHW president John Barker was quoted in the Winchester Star on Saturday, there is no “magic wand” we can wave to fix this situation, and that is why your comments and support will be helpful to find a solution that satisfies both the real safety concerns as well as the desire to see this architectural treasure saved.

Friday Photos: Second Empire Style in Winchester

The Gavis House in 1976Friday Photos this week is inspired by the recent discussion of the Gavis residence at 414 South Braddock Street. You may have seen the building called “Second Empire style” in the news following the June 25th City Council work session and wondered what that meant and why that is important in a discussion about what to do about a crumbling old building.

The Second Empire style is usually dated to 1855-1885. These stylistic influences can be dated from the 1870s to the early 1900s in Winchester, which is a typical lag in fashionable architecture for the area. This architectural style is very similar in appearance to the Italianate style of the same period, one of the more common building types in Winchester’s historic district. Because the two styles seem so alike, it may not be immediately obvious why so much stress has been placed on that unique aspect of 414 South Braddock Street.

Cornice brackets and tall, usually arched windows often surrounded by molding make Second Empire visually similar to the Italianate style. The telltale distinguishing feature of Second Empire style is the roof. This feature, called a mansard roof, is a dual pitched hip roof that is “boxy” in appearance. Many times the roof was covered with slate cut into decorative patterns. Often the roof line was decorated with elaborate iron cresting. In fact, the roof is so intrinsic to Second Empire architecture that it is sometimes simply referred to as Mansard style.

The mansard roof is named for a 17th century French architect, Francois Mansart. The roof shape – the dual pitched, boxy hip roof – most associated with Mansart’s designs was considered especially functional, allowing for full use of the attic space when coupled with dormer windows. Because of his popularization of that form, that roof style came to bear his name. The mansard roof was revived extensively in French architecture constructed during the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870), known as the Second French Empire. Where the contemporaneous Italianate style was part of the Romantic, Picturesque movement in architecture utilizing architectural styles of the past and focusing on nature, the Second Empire style was considered a modern style for its imitation of the latest French construction and a push toward urban living. As the style migrated through England to America, it retained the link to its French roots through its identification with the reign of Napoleon III. (Another, peculiarly American name for the style is the “General Grant style”, as the building type was at the height of its popularity after the Civil War and during his presidency.)

What makes the Gavis House so architecturally endearing, even in its dangerously dilapidated state? It is the last example of textbook Second Empire construction left in Winchester that has not been significantly altered or demolished. It was always a rare style locally, though other, original Second Empire style buildings once existed here. The other “high end” or typical examples of Second Empire style buildings in Winchester have been lost to demolition, including the Barton home on South Washington Street, the Winchester Milling Company on North Cameron Street, and the birthplace of Admiral Richard Byrd on Amherst Street.

The extreme rarity of the style (about 1% of buildings in the Winchester Historic District have Second Empire details, and most in a very modest expression) is coupled with the building’s landmark architectural potential. The building is one of a handful that received an “outstanding” rating in the 1976 architectural survey, indicating it is of such quality that it could be placed on the National Register of Historic Places through its architecture alone. This places the building on the same architectural footing as the Hexagon House and the Handley Library.

Perhaps that comparison in architectural significance – could you envision the Handley Library removed from our downtown streetscape? – goes a long way to explain why architectural historians and enthusiasts have always held a soft spot in their hearts 414 South Braddock Street. If the Taylor Hotel was our most famous building that needed attention, it would be fair to say the Gavis residence is the most architecturally outstanding threatened building in Winchester.

Album of Second Empire Style Buildings in Winchester’s Historic District

  • 414 South Braddock Street, Aulick or Gavis Residence, Second Empire style, ca. 1881, only intact original example of the style left in Winchester
  • 41 West Boscawen Street, commercial building remodeled to Second Empire style ca. 1900
  • 2 North Cameron Street, the Kurtz Building, Second Empire style tower addition ca. 1870
  • 112 North Cameron Street, O. M. Brown Residence, remodeled to Second Empire style ca. 1870
  • 11 South Cameron Street, Second Empire influenced townhouse, ca. 1900
  • 36 South Cameron Street, remodeled to Second Empire style ca. 1870
  • 42-44 South Cameron Street, Second Empire influenced townhouse ca. 1896
  • 14-16 South Loudoun Street, commercial building remodeled to Second Empire style ca. 1898
  • 26-28 West Piccadilly Street, extensively altered Second Empire influenced residence, ca. 1905
  • 132 North Washington Street, Second Empire style residence ca. 1880, altered

List and photographs compiled from 2011 Historic District Survey and Google Maps street view.

Friday Photos: Student Survey of Winchester, Early 1980s

This week in Friday Photos, PHW brings you a look back at the beginnings of the revitalization efforts downtown. These images were pulled from a slideshow labelled “Three Part Student Survey of Winchester.” The goal of the study appeared to have been suggestions for improving the downtown and making it a more attractive place to shop and visit. The images appear to date, for the most part, to the very early days of the walking mall.

This is a timely reminder of how much our downtown has improved upon showcasing the intrinsic historic charm of Old Town Winchester. If you have never seen images of the downtown from these very early days of the pedestrian mall, it can be hard to visualize just how much the space has evolved through the City’s infrastructure improvements and building owners’ efforts to restore their historic buildings. Please take some time to click through the photos this weekend for a dose of nostalgia, and let PHW know if you recognize any of the locations in the uncaptioned slides.

Three Part Student Survey of Winchester, Early 1980s

View the album on Picasa

The Samuel Noakes House, Part 24

The Samuel Noakes HouseAlthough no house is ever truly complete, the Samuel Noakes House at 101 West Cork Street/201 South Braddock Street has reached the finish line. This last update completes the work in the barbershop area and some tweaks to the Cork Street side.

As you may recall during the March open house, the barbershop area was still fairly rough and unfinished. Since our last visit, the floors have been painted, walls and lighting installed, and the bathroom given a complete overhaul. The shelves in the bathroom are fashioned from more of the salvaged oak shelving found in the Cork St. basement. The walls are wired for internet and for televisions in the corners of the room. Display lights have been installed in the windows and around the room. The exposed beams on the ceiling were oiled and the fire separation between the commercial and residential spaces approved.

Also, one door was tweaked upstairs in the Cork Street apartment. A barn style door on a track was installed at the top of the Cork Street stairway. This solved the problem with the two closet doors hitting each other. The horizontal members in the barn door are fashioned from more the old pine from the original stairwell. The boards were lightly planed and sanded, leaving traces of the old paint and saw marks. The frame was welded together out of angle iron. The door handle was originally attached to one of the giant beams in the barbershop and happily it could be repurposed in the house.

Guapo admires the new barn style door in the Cork Street apartment.The completed barbershop

Barn door at Cork Street

Revisit the previous entries: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18, part 19, part 20, part 21, part 22, and part 23.

Friday Photos: The Grim-Moore House

Friday Photos returns this week with a look back at a massive renovation project at 510-512 South Loudoun Street. The building, known as the Grim-Moore House, is comprised of a log building circa 1760 and a brick building circa 1795-96. The house was purchased by Preservation of Historic Winchester through the Jennings Revolving Fund in 1975. At the time of the purchase, the once grand Federal-style home had been subdivided into multiple apartments, resulting in truly horrific living conditions. Bill and Virginia Miller purchased the property from PHW and worked diligently from 1976-1982 to restore the home to its original splendor.

Virginia Miller documented the process in over 500 photographs and captions. PHW was fortunate enough to be allowed to scan and transcribe the notes from this scrapbook, and now we can share them with you. This is a fascinating and telling example of how PHW’s Revolving Fund can save “junky” properties from neglect and almost certain demolition and restore them to contributing structures in the Historic District. We hope you take some time this Apple Blossom weekend to remind yourself that this is what PHW is all about.

From The Grim-Moore House

Fort Loudoun Day on May 18, 2013

Join the French and Indian War Foundation for a journey back in time at the location of Fort Loudoun in Winchester, 419 N. Loudoun St. on May 18 from 10 AM-1 PM. Tours begin at 10 AM, to be followed by guest speaker Larry Johnson at 11 AM, essay contest results at 11:30 AM, and the flag raising at noon. Don’t miss the interactive display presented by Dr. David Clark to learn how an archeological dig functions.

This event will be held rain or shine and is free and open to the public. To learn more, visit the French and Indian War Foundation’s website at

Handley Library and the American Renaissance in Architecture and Art

Dr. Richard Guy Wilson, Architectural Historian and Commonwealth Professor in Architecture History at University of Virginia, will speak at the Friends’ of the Handley Library Annual Meeting on Wed., May 15, 2013, 7:00 p.m., Handley Library Auditorium.

The Handley Library is an excellent example of a major transformation that took place in American art and architecture in the later 19th and 20th century. Spurred by the idea that the Italian Renaissance had sprung to life in the United States, architects and artists created a lasting legacy of classically inspired designs. Dr. Wilson will focus on the idea of an American Renaissance and how the Handley Library embodies its ideas.

The Friend’s Annual Meeting is in honor of the first 100 years of The Handley Library. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture. In addition, Martha Woodruff of WMRA will interview Dr. Wilson on her program The Spark. The program will be broadcast at noon on May 10 and at 3 p.m. on May 11.

To learn more about the Handley Library, visit them at

Friday Photos: The Old Frederick County Court House

Step back in time to the early to mid 2000s and remember the Frederick County Court House before it became the Old Court House Civil War Museum. Be sure to visit them on the web at, or even better, stop by the museum at 20 N. Loudoun St. in the heart of Old Town Winchester, Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

From Old Frederick County Court House, 2006

Edit: If the wording of this post has caused confusion, the 2000-2006 dates reference the dating of these photos of the renovation work at the Court House, not the age of the building itself, which is 1840.

The Samuel Noakes House, Part 23

The Samuel Noakes HouseWe continue our journey through the renovation process at the Samuel Noakes House at 101 West Cork Street/201 South Braddock Street. Updates are posted each Tuesday through the PHW blog, following the progress with virtual hardhat tours. The previous entries may be found at the PHW blog at part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14, part 15, part 16, part 17, part 18, part 19, part 20, part 21, and part 22.

For those who attended the reception on March 9, you know the Noakes house is almost complete now. The apartments are complete, and the barber shop area is nearly ready for a new tenant to direct the final build out. We will back up slightly before the party and show some of the last touches going into the house, namely built-ins and cabinets through the house. Don’t miss some photos from the party as well!

We’ve had a great time following the process at the Noakes house. We hope that you’ve been inspired by what was accomplished here to tackle an older building in need of some TLC, or just get some ideas to maintain the one you already own. Historic buildings and modern amenities are not always mutually exclusive concepts.

John Barker bringing the wine on March 9.Kitchen cabinets on Braddock Street
Kitchen cabinets on Cork Street
Carpentry on Cork Street
Carpentry on Braddock Street
Partying with PHW in the old barbershop on March 9