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 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

Friday Roundup: Preservation News

It’s been a busy week for preservation items at Winchester City Council, but in a positive way. First, an amendment to Winchester’s Community Development Block Grant Action Plan to allow for historic preservation and rehabilitation was approved. The target area of this grant is likely to be North Kent Street. As the potential activity sites are privately owned, no details were available on Tuesday evening, but North End residents should expect more input sessions in the future.

Similarly, the derelict and blighted property designation for 137 South Loudoun has been continued until May 9 to allow the owners time to present their plans to BAR and show action on remedying the site issues. You may remember plans had been submitted and approved by BAR several years ago, but the owners faced financing complications due to the pandemic. It appears they have rebounded financially and we should see them at a BAR meeting in early April. (This group is also behind the pending rehab at the old Winchester News Stand building on East Piccadilly, and previously rehabbed the Guitar Shop building on South Loudoun.)

PHW was very encouraged to hear on Tuesday that many councilors were mindful of the historic significance of both the South Loudoun Street building and the North Kent Street neighborhood. Older buildings, particularly those that have a long history of community cultural and artistic uses, are deserving of more leeway when repurposing or recovering from disasters and often become points of pride when the projects are completed. We’re definitely encouraged by this fresh perspective on City Council for our historic resources and hope to see it continue.

Researchers, are you looking for a collection of primary sources and classroom activities relating to Emancipation in our area? Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute has launched the Emancipation Celebrations website. There is both a search function if you know what you’re looking for, or a browse collection option if you want to be surprised.

This week is also Flood Awareness Week in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website has information before and after flooding occurs to help you prepare and minimize problems and recover from the aftermath. If you’re curious about other long-range flood or climate change related possibilities, You may also want to visit Lifehacker’s similar article with three additional interactive mapping tools, which also have options for heat, drought, wind, and wildfires.

Image remix of Town Run decked in green for St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate responsibly!

Friday Roundup: A History-Filled Weekend

Recent history researchers, rejoice! Archives of the Northern Virginia Daily published between 1936 to 1963 have been added to the Virginia Chronicle website. We have found the lists of building permits issued to be most helpful in our work as we start to flesh out our files on the 2015 additions to the Winchester Historic District. If you have one of the mid-century buildings constructed in Winchester (or know your home had significant improvements around that time) and were looking for more concrete details, try entering your house number and street name into the search bar in quotations to see what might turn up.

Tim Youmans is wrapping up his work on documenting the history of all the street names in Winchester, and he needs your help for the last fourteen before going to press. If you have information on any of the street names listed below, contact him at or call 540-667-1815, ext. 1415.

  • Brooke Road
  • Bruce Street
  • Douglas Street
  • Grove Street
  • Harrison Street
  • Ivy Street
  • Jones Street
  • Kathy Court
  • Lewis Street
  • Melvor Lane
  • Robyn Terrace
  • Sumpter Court
  • Tower Avenue
  • Wyck Street

Along similar lines, PHW was contacted about the possible existence of John Marvin papers or diaries. Marvin ran a school on Sharp Street (the school building at 219 Sharp Street still stands) and also acted as a weather observer. A researcher is hoping that Marvin may have further observations on weather during the Civil War that are as yet unknown. If you know of any leads on Marvin, or on other privately-owned diaries with weather observations around 1860-1865, get in touch with PHW at and we’ll connect you to the researcher.

Handley 100th – Anniversary Book Photo Sharing Day is taking place Saturday, March 11, 10 AM-1 PM at 1360 S. Pleasant Valley Rd. If you have any interesting memorabilia including candid pictures, a uniform from athletics, a special sweater, class ring, club award or other items pertaining to the history of Handley High School, bring your items to Hollingsworth Mill, behind the Visitor’s Center. There, they will photograph or scan your items and receive information, including owner’s name and year used. If you can’t make the event, photos may also be submitted at the linked website.

If you need to take a break after all the history-mysteries, Celtic Fest returns to downtown Winchester this weekend, noon-9 PM. Kick off St. Patrick’s Day early by visiting Old Town Winchester to explore various venues for food, drink, live music, cultural displays, dancing, retail sales, artisan vendors, and more. Visit the Old Town Winchester site to find all the participating vendors and activities.

Downtown Winchester image remix

Friday Roundup: Upcoming Events

We had hoped to produce our first Vanished Winchester location post today, but on further review we’d like a bit more time to fact check and polish our work. Look for our first Vanished Winchester entry next week to start March off right!

The National Trust for Historic Places is accepting nominations for the Backing Historic Small Restaurant Grant Program. In addition to applications by restaurant owners, the public can also nominate a place you love that contributes to your neighborhood’s unique identity for a $40,000 grant. Applications are due March 12; visit their website for more details.

The City of Winchester invites you to register for this Saturday’s stormwater workshop. If you’d like to learn more about the City’s stormwater system and new utility fees, related infrastructure projects, and potential credits you can earn to offset your property’s fees, register for this new in-person workshop Saturday, February 25th, 10 am-12 pm at Rouss City Hall (main floor), 15 N. Cameron Street. Advanced registration is required. The workshop will not be recorded.

Handley Library has two events tomorrow that may be of interest to our readers. On the Lower Level of the Handley Library is a pop-up book sale, 10 am-2 pm. Browse a selection of gently used books and DVDs and bring a bag or box to carry your treasures. All proceeds benefit the three branches of HRLS and staff.

Also taking place at the Handley Library at the Archives, 10:30am – 12:00pm, is 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. If you can’t make this month’s event, Katherine will be available every fourth Saturday of the month in the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives reading room from now through October (no meetings in November or December). Registration not required.

If your afternoon or evening needs an activity, you may be interested in watching one of the debut performances of Ruth’s Tea Room. Old Town Winchester in partnership with Selah Theatre Project and Bright Box presents the premiere of this new original play by local playwright and director LaTasha Do’zia. With performances at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM, there are two chances to see this exciting FREE debut of what is sure to become an enduring Winchester classic.

SYNOPSIS: A prodigal daughter, Azi Wells, of a small town returns home to say goodbye to the only place that allowed her to be free. As she walks into Ruth’s Tea Room, she meets other townsfolk that have come to say farewell and share their stories of their days spent in this welcoming space. Each story shares the ups and downs of Ruth’s and the effects it had on a community and its people.

Based on a real historic location in Winchester, this dramatization brings life to one truth…There was room for everyone and anyone at Ruth’s.

Ruth’s Tea Room image remix

It may seem to early to think about Christmas, but we’re reviewing Bough & Dough Shop needs now. If you’re interested in getting on our advance email list for artists and vendors, drop us a note at so we can keep you in the loop.

Friday Roundup: Weekend Events and More!

This Saturday is the 10th annual Chocolate Escape in Old Town Winchester! Visit over twenty different locations February 4 from 2-5 PM for specials, discounts, sales, and restaurant specials for only $5. Follow the red heart-shaped balloons or visit the Old Town website for more details and a map to participating locations.

The MSV will host a free panel discussion “Contemporary Contributions” 3–4 PM this Sunday, February 5, highlighting several Black-owned businesses in Winchester. Panelists include Terry Carter, T-Bone’s Bar & Grill; LaTasha Do’zia, Selah Theatre Project, Inc.; James Frisby, FASST Sports Performance Training; historian Judy Humbert and moderator Carl Rush, chief equity officer for Loudoun County. Participants will discuss their challenges, inspirations, and successes. Preregistration is encouraged at

Belle Grove Plantation and the Winchester Chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America are beginning a new community stitching project to honor the 270 people who were enslaved at Belle Grove—a quilt with each person’s name and birth date stitched onto it. Their first free public workshop will be Saturday, February 11, 1-3 PM at Bowman Library in Stephens City. Participants are asked to preregister with Irina Galunina at by February 5. Other stitching activities will be taking place at Bowman Library for Stitch in Public Day starting at 11 AM.

The Old Town Community Session on February 16th, Understanding and Enforcing New Walking Mall Codes, is open to residents and downtown businesses. Hear directly from City staff across multiple departments to better understand the newly adopted changes to City Code, how and when to report infractions, and what to expect from police. Event begins at 9 AM in the Zuckerman Board Room of Rouss City Hall in Winchester.

The William G. Pomeroy Foundation has opened its first Hungry for History Marker Grant Program. This program is designed to commemorate significant food dishes created prior to 1970 and the role they played in defining American culture and forging community identity. The grant is available to 501(c)(3) organizations, nonprofit academic institutions, and local, state and federal government entities within the United States. Letters of Intent are due March 13. Visit their website for full details.

Nominations are now open for the 2023 List of Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places through Preservation Virginia. Each May as part of National Historic Preservation Month, Preservation Virginia works with community advocates to release a list of threatened historic sites in an effort to raise awareness and boost public support for their preservation, and encourage individuals, organizations, and governmental entities to advocate for and find collaborative solutions for preserving these places important to Virginia’s communities. Nominations can be made on their website. If you need assistance or have questions, contact Sonja Ingram, Assistant Director for Preservation Field Services, at

Friday Roundup: Updates and Events

Thanks to a generous donor, the Flickr Pro account has been extended for one year. This should allow us time to add the images to our local hosting and make sure we have the captions matched up; however, it is likely we will not add our event photos back at least for the foreseeable future. We still highly recommend you save local copies of any images on Flickr you may be using for upcoming architectural research, as we are decreasing the image size for our online copies to reduce storage space. Full resolution copies are still available and can be emailed upon request.

This means the image captions are continuing on our social media accounts. To make sure we get the images correctly captioned, we’ll be doing the uploads and captions in small batches. We’re in this process for the long haul – hopefully the third time of moving our images and captions around online will be the last!

The work in the back yard at the Hexagon House is mostly complete, or at least the very intense portion of it. This work is part of the collaboration PHW and the MSV undertook in memory of Dr. Jim Laidlaw. He was a supporter of both our organizations, and now we have a permanent improvement to enjoy our back yard at the Hexagon House. We’re looking forward to seeing how things shape up this spring. Who knows, we might even be doing a lot of our office work in this space during the warm months….

Speaking of events that take place in the rear yard at the Hexagon House, we wanted to put the feelers out now for greenery donations for the Bough & Dough Shop early. If you are unaware of how we obtain fresh greens for holiday decorating, they are almost all provided by volunteers. If you have evergreens that are commonly used for holiday decorating, consider waiting on giving them a trim until the week of Thanksgiving and donating your cuttings to PHW. Alternatively, you may pass your contact information on to the PHW office if you are comfortable with volunteers cutting the greens on your property.

Looking for something to do this weekend? The Handley Library is hosting two events tomorrow that may pique your interest. First, “Heraldry and Coats of Arms: Finding your Armorial Ancestor” by Katherine Collins, MLISc, from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM in the Benham Gallery Room will explain what armorial and gateway ancestors are, standards of evidence, best practices, and where to register historical arms. She will demonstrate how to use traditional books in our local libraries and archives, online databases, and the records of lineage societies to prove the connection to a documented armorial ancestor or “gateway ancestor.” Register now!

The presentation “The Impact of the Civil War on Medicine” by Dr. Dianne Murphy from 1-2 PM in the Robinson Auditorium will focus on the medical environment at the beginning of the Civil War and three dramatic changes that occur during this period that were to change the care of war wounded. Presented in partnership with Winchester/Frederick County Historical Society. No registration is required for this event.

Feeling more like staying in this weekend? You may want to check out these two resources online. The National Trust has compiled a webpage for State Historic Tax Credits – Virginia gets a top billing mention as one of the leaders in this arena for providing incentives to reuse our historic buildings. Check out the full report at

If you’re looking for a bit more of an interactive experience while reading, you may enjoy perusing the article This App Turns the World Into a Wikipedia Scavenger Hunt. The app looks like an interesting combination of Wikipedia data mixed with open source mapping. If you want to contribute, there’s even suggestions on how you can expand the image selections, or even add Wikipedia articles about an interesting place.

Friday Roundup: Handley Library Tour and Upcoming Grants

First, please pardon our mess! The back yard at the Hexagon House is receiving some TLC at the moment. The work is currently taking place adjacent to our entrance. We encourage questioners to contact us via email at and not to visit in person while the machinery is in the parking lot.

The Handley Library branch tour will take you behind the scenes to all floors tomorrow, January 14, 11 AM. Come learn about the architecture and history of this iconic building. Walk on the famous glass floors and peer down the well built into the stage. Meet in the Lower Level. The tour is free and open to the public.

Can’t make the tour this weekend or want a specialized tour? You can visit their website for more information and to book a private tour for your group.

The National Fund for Sacred Places is starting the 2023 grant process. Letters of Intent through the Foundant grant system will be accepted from any eligible congregation. Submit your letter of intent by February 24 for projects such as:

  • Urgent repair needs that are integral to life safety.
  • Projects that improve the usability or ADA accessibility of the property.
  • Renovation projects that support important community outreach.

Learn more at to see if your congregation’s project qualifies.

Applications due February 1 for National Trust Preservation Fund grants. These grants encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for planning and education projects. Virginia is one of the states earmarked for this round of applications. Grants range up to $5,000. Learn more at the National Trust’s website.

Friday Roundup: Black Friday Edition

If you’re looking for more things to do this holiday weekend and into early December besides the Bough & Dough Shop (open now through December 11 at the Hexagon House) and the Holiday House Tour (December 4, noon-4 PM), here are a few ideas:

This weekend is Windependent Weekend, which combines Plaid Friday and Small Business Saturday into a weekend event. Shop locally and support small businesses! Find more info at Old Town Winchester.

Winchester’s Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place November 28 at 7 PM. Hosted by Winchester Parks and Recreation (WPRD), the parade begins at 7 pm and typically features floats, bands, and vehicles representing local organizations. Santa himself will most certainly make an appearance, too! The annual tree lighting will take place immediately following the parade on the Loudoun Street Mall by the Old Frederick County Court House.

The Peter Bullough Foundation invites you to a special research lecture with Anna Abhau Elliot on December 1, 6-7 PM at the Handley Library in Winchester. She will share the fruits of her research from her time at the Peter Bullough Foundation artist residency in downtown Winchester. Anna’s work blends theatre, history, performance art, and comedy to explore how Americans tell each other stories. This event is free and is generously sponsored in part by First Bank and the Marion Park Lewis Foundation for the Arts

Abram’s Delight will be open for their annual candlelight tours on Dec 2 from 6-8 PM and Dec. 3 from 3-7 PM. Guests are invited to view the exhibit “Quaker Families of Winchester and Frederick County in the nearby Hollingsworth Mill, and a demonstration of hearth cooking will take place in the log cabin. Admission is free! For more information, call 540-662-6550.

Last, we want to extend our special thanks to the Godfrey Miller Center for helping us host our caroling team for the Holiday House Tour this year. While you are enjoying the Holiday House Tour on December 4, you can also stop in to their building at 28 S. Loudoun St. for an art show – see the details below!