Friday Roundup: Blight and Bough & Dough Shop Updates

411 S. Loudoun‘s demolition request to the BAR was concluded yesterday, after the brief hiatus in August for a status report with the court. While a potential buyer was interested in purchasing and rehabbing the property, the owners were unwilling to entertain the idea of a sale. Given the very unusual nature of this request, the BAR members voted to abstain from ruling on this demolition, as no alternate path could be found. Both the 514-520 S. Loudoun townhouses and 411 S. Loudoun will likely be demolished before the end of this year.

Discussion after the meeting included the situation at 137 S. Loudoun, which is also a blighted structure. BAR members are concerned about a potential loss of another salvageable building. In this case, the current owner is willing to sell, the property is listed for sale, and much site plan work has already been completed and a facade restoration plan was previously approved at BAR (which will transfer to a new owner). We will encourage our readership who may be interested in rehabbing a building to investigate this structure.

We would also like to extend our thanks to the artists who have applied to the Bough & Dough Shop. We plan to send out the acceptance letters with individualized recommendations for products starting Tuesday, Sept. 12 – if you applied but don’t hear from us by email on Friday, Sept. 15, please reach out to us at

For our usual shoppers, it looks like we will have a good mix of new and returning artists. We’re looking forward to sharing our artist lineup in next Friday’s dispatch!

Friday Roundup: Preservation News and Holiday Shop Updates

Please note PHW cannot retrieve voicemail at the moment due to some technical glitches outside our control. Please utilize for questions. Thank you!

Preservation News: An application for the total demolition (instead of just demolition of the rear) of 411 S. Loudoun St. was held at Thursday’s BAR meeting. Many of the BAR members expressed concern about approving the demolition of the building’s front portion when rehabilitation of that portion is feasible. As such, the board tabled the decision until the second meeting in August to see if a buyer can be found. As you may know, 411 S. Loudoun was initially hoped to be purchased by family members of the original owner/builder of the property for rehabilitation, but the sale fell through. The abatement time frame is relatively short – work would have to be complete in July 2024. If you have interest in this property, drop us a note at and we can get you in touch with the correct people to inquire about this property.

A revision of the brick piers and gate at 119 S. Washington St. was also heard and approved at Thursday’s BAR meeting. The approved piers for this application are stated to be square and of a height and width in keeping with similar gate piers in the area. We know this still may not appease everyone, but we hope this change will be less visually jarring to the streetscape than the large round piers.

Calling Local Artists! Do you make items suitable for holiday gift-giving? PHW is now accepting applications for the Bough & Dough Shop 2023. We are once again planning to set up at the Hexagon House, Nov. 17-Dec. 10, Wed.-Sun. This year we are capping the number of vendors at 30 maximum and we are asking for a bit more back end help for your inventory sheets if you have various price points, but otherwise most information will be the same – PHW handles the manning the shop, setting up and stocking displays, sales – all you have to do as an artist is drop off your items before the event. If you are interested, download the informational packet now!

We are also hosting an open house event again for new artists to see the space and get an idea of what to expect. The Hexagon House will be open Saturday, August 19, 10 AM-Noon for anyone interested. We will have artist applications on hand, and if you are a new artist you may bring physical items as part of your application.

Doors of Winchester Poster: To finish off our week at PHW, we are pleased to announce we are nearing completion of a “Doors of Winchester” poster, which we should have available for purchase at the Bough & Dough Shop in 2023. Earlier this year, when discussing possible items for publication the idea of a reprint of this popular poster was floated by the PHW Board. We tracked down the original artists and received their blessing to proceed with a spiritual successor, using new photographs but following their same guiding principles.

The sequel will be a standard poster size of 18″x24″, containing 36 doors on a black background. Some doors are the same from the original, but some are new for this edition. We plan to keep them reasonably priced, probably about $15 plus tax. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, drop us a note at

More Doors of Historic Winchester, coming this holiday season to PHW!

Friday Roundup: Preservation News and a History Mystery

The appeal for the fence location approval at 119 S. Washington St. was heard and voted on Tuesday evening at City council. The decision of the BAR for the April 20 approval was upheld, and it was stated Winchester’s Zoning Department has viewed the fence and views it as “substantially compliant” with the April 2023 application in execution. The issue of the design of the entrance gate and piers will likely be heard again at the BAR meeting on July 20 to attempt to address the brick piers design denial.

For those readers and observers who seem very concerned that the appeal process of a BAR decision is endless, we understand – it is frustrating and exhausting for everyone. We will note to PHW’s knowledge and recollection in about the last twenty years of observing BAR meetings, only two petitions for appeals not filed by the original applicant (i.e. neighbors filing an appeal) have successfully made it to the threshold of 25+ signatures with proper documentation. Both times the appeals were successful because of an error in process that was pointed out by the appellants.

City Council also voted Tuesday on amending the language for Substantially Rehabilitated Historic Property to bring the City’s ordinance in line with Virginia Code, as well as add a possibility of 15 year tax exemption. Following discussion, the “step down” approach to the tax exemption was struck from the ordinance, which was the preferred outcome for those working in the redevelopment of historic properties. We hope that this approach can benefit some of the projects in the pipeline, like the ZeroPak Building, bringing it from an underutilized and dilapidated state to vibrant, contributing structures reflecting Winchester’s history.

As you may know if you attended our 59th Annual Meeting, PHW was working on a micro grant program specific to homeowners or nonprofits in Winchester’s National Register Historic District. We have completed the basic application and criteria documents and added a dedicated grants page to our website. We have earmarked $10,000 maximum for our first grant cycle, with an application due date of January 31, 2024.

PHW used the principles outlined at the Community Tool Box website when establishing this program. We hope to stretch the $10,000 across a number of building repairs and quality of life upgrades through the Winchester Historic District and help subsidize needed work on our historic buildings to keep them contributing resources. We see this as a more sustainable and attainable way for PHW to continue improving the quality of the Historic District now that purchases through the Jennings Revolving Fund are rarely achievable.

Since this is the first grant cycle for us and this program, we anticipate lots of questions from applicants. We encourage you to reach out to the PHW office at or through our social media channels for more information – we are likely to compile an FAQ section over the coming months as we learn what our frequently asked questions are.

History Mystery – Solved? In a bit of research off our usual beaten path at the PHW office, it was pointed out that there is Morse code on the Henkel box we keep in our Board Room. It was short enough characters to spell out “Henkel,” so we did a little deciphering to see what the code stood for.

—.. -.-. -.– .-. …-.-

The code translates to 8CYR$. This became another head-scratcher – what did this new code stand for? It was not the right format for a phone number and did not seem related to the furniture business. Some tapping into online databases led to the idea of amateur radio. Amazingly enough, this guess was substantiated with a hit in Amateur Radio Stations of the U.S. in 1924 for Carroll H. Henkel under the call sign 8CYR, based in Martinsburg, WV. This portion of the mystery seems solved, but if you’d like to read more about the history of call signs, we would like to recommend An Overview of Amateur Call Signs Past and Present to see how these numbers were generated almost 100 years ago.

Friday Roundup: Two Quick Items

For those following along with 119 S. Washington St., the application that was on the BAR meeting for July 6 has been tabled again to allow the appeal process to resolve at the City Council level, as part of the appeal going through City Council addresses the installation location of the fence. We feel this was the correct course of action to take. As was stated by several BAR members, if the two bodies make conflicting rulings it could cause more trouble in finding a resolution down the line.

We also noticed some uncertainty may be on the horizon for Twitter for free users or those not logged in to an account from the time of our last post. We have been cloning our Twitter feed on Mastodon for some time, and this process will continue. Feel free to follow us there if you want, or know that this backup will be available in the future.

Friday Roundup: Annual Meeting and Public Hearing

First, this Sunday, June 25, is PHW’s Annual Meeting. We will be meeting in the rear yard of the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St., starting at 3 PM. Parking is available at the top of the hill; you may also park in the driveway in front of the house. We are watching the weather for the outdoor portion; so far it appears we’ll be partly cloudy with low chance of precipitation. We have limited outdoor seating, so you may wish to bring your own folding chairs. We hope to see many of you there!

Second, the public hearing for the neighbors’ appeal at 119 S. Washington St. is scheduled for City Council on Tuesday, June 27, beginning at 6 PM. Public comments at City Council are limited to 3 minutes per speaker; alternatively you can write your thoughts on this matter and submit them through the City’s online form prior to noon on Monday, June 26. We will remind our readers that the piers have been removed from this appeal item, as the procedural error that spurred that portion of the appeal has been resolved at the Board of Architectural Review. The appeal as will be considered only concerns the modification of the fence (set back from the adjoining fence and addition of a concrete base as the primary visual changes from the street). The agenda documents for this public hearing item can be found on the City’s website if you would like more clarity on the sequence of events and facts of the case.

Friday Roundup: Preservation News

It was a busy week for preservation related items. At City Council on Tuesday, 137 S. Loudoun was declared blighted. This does not mean the structure is going to be torn down; it just means the City has the opportunity to take ownership down the line if the proposed sale of the property falls through and the abatement plan milestones are not being met. A rehabilitation plan has been close to complete at BAR level (the remaining items to be approved are relegated to the rear elevation on Indian Alley; the Loudoun St. facade plans are fully approved.) The approvals for these plans will transfer to the new owner of the property; we certainly hope the new owner decides to proceed with the rehabilitation plan instead of starting from scratch and endangering this historic building with demolition by the City.

At the City Council work session on Tuesday, the neighbors’ appeal for two items pertaining to 119 S. Washington were discussed. The first item was the reconsideration of the brick piers. This item was duly noted by the City’s legal counsel to have been acted on improperly at the April 20th Board of Architectural Review meeting. BAR did not have the authority to revisit a denied item without a substantially amended application. We are pleased to report BAR members proceeded to correct this error at the Thursday BAR meeting by rescinding the April 20th approval. This means, as currently stands, the round piers that were built without BAR approval are denied. This means this portion of the neighbors’ appeal has been resolved prior to the public hearing.

The fence issue at 119 S. Washington is a different matter. The neighbors contend the approval of the fence on April 20, 2023 utilized the incorrect BAR guidelines (new fence construction over rehabilitation/maintenance of an existing fence.) As this was a historic fence and is utilizing the historic fence panels, there was no reason to apply new fence construction guidelines to a rehabilitation of an existing fence.

Upon reviewing the April 21, 2022 video of the meeting which discussed the fence, the architect presenting for Mr. Megale repeatedly used the word “restore” in regards to the fence (video timestamp at approximately the 15 minute mark). Restore, when used by a preservationist, has a particular meaning, and has much stricter standards of review to meet that threshold of being a restoration. The full definition per the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards is:

Restoration is defined as the act or process of accurately depicting the form, features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by means of the removal of features from other periods in its history and reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period. The limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and other code-required work to make properties functional is appropriate within a restoration project. (1)

We note in the further explanation of restoration as a treatment, “Only those designs that can be documented as having been built should be recreated in a restoration project.”

Even if the term “restore” was used more loosely as by a non-preservationist, the presentation before BAR on April 21, 2022 implied this was strictly a maintenance and repair issue for the fence, meaning that a reasonable conclusion is that the fence would be returned to its historic location on Washington Street.

The fence issue in the appeal may be more technical than even the issue of the piers. From a preservationist’s standpoint, however, having an applicant state that the Washington St. side was the oldest surviving portion of the fence with other panels constructed later to match, state the historic fence would be restored, and then not deliver on an accurate restoration on the claimed oldest portion of the project is certainly disappointing.

Friday Roundup: Quick Updates

Found! Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Chet, we are 99% sure the unidentified Indian Alley building posted last week is 218 S. Indian Alley. The building is much more obscured now that the Indian Alley extension behind the Discovery Museum is blocked off and a new privacy fence installed, but we feel relatively confident it is the same building.

Mark your calendars! The PHW Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, June 25, 3 PM at the Hexagon House. Join us in celebrating preservation projects around the city, as well as the first recipient of PHW’s Sherry Bosley Scholarship and the dedication of the James and Barbara Laidlaw Amphitheater. This event is free to members and invited guests – and if you need to renew your membership, you can do it that day on site, too.

119 S. Washington St.: The Board of Architectural Review tabled an application at yesterday’s meeting for a modification of the piers. However, because there is a pending appeal filed on the April 20th approval the application was tabled to allow the appeal time to play out before the application is reconsidered to be fair to both the applicant and the board members. The appeal is set to be on the City Council agendas for late June and early July. We do not expect further action will be taken at the BAR level until after the appeal works through the City Council process. Part of this will include a public hearing, likely on June 27. This was an unusual situation procedurally, but we are hopeful that this means the BAR will be course correcting from this point forward.

Do you recognize this street? We believe the image dates to the late 1970s to early 1980s. We have been unable to pinpoint its location in the Winchester Historic District, so it may be in a surrounding area that experienced growth in the early 20th century. It also appears to be near a school based on the shape of the street sign visible. As this image was digitized from a slide, we can also not rule out the image is mirrored. If you have any suggestions on areas to check, drop us a note!

Friday Roundup: 119 S. Washington Updates and Book Signing Next Week

Unfortunately the Thursday BAR meeting was unable to be held as a quorum was not available. The meeting had the potential to reconsider the reconsideration of the fence and pillar issue at 119 S. Washington St. It is possible a special BAR meeting will be called next Thursday, May 25, to consider the items on yesterday’s agenda.

We would also like to thank everyone who signed the petition to appeal the decision on the fence/pillars. It was an unfortunate turn of events that the deadline to file was not what was expected based on the date of the “final” consideration of the items, but the required signatures were reached and the petition has been filed. While PHW did not spearhead the appeal, we assisted in connecting interested parties to the document and acting as a public space to collect signatures.

Given that much of this application is in limbo, we are not sure what the future will hold. PHW felt it was important to participate in this petition because it was clear several rules of order were overlooked or applied incorrectly in the reconsideration of the fence/pillars. Many of the procedural errors this appeal rests upon would not have been spotted without the sharp-eyed neighbors following this process.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next Friday, May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM, for a book signing event with Maral Kalbian at the Hexagon House, 530 Amherst St. Stop by to chat and get signed copies of her newest book, “Clarke County, Virginia: History Though Architecture.” This event is also open to the public.

Kalbian’s book introduces the reader to the first people known to live in the area, guides readers through the development of roads and communities, and explains the architectural styles of its grand estates and humble houses. She addresses all types of buildings and provides an overview of how the surviving architecture reflects Clarkes’ history. Kalbian also separated fact from fiction by tracking down widely held beliefs and finding documented evidence to either support or debunk them. Aware of discrepancies in past historical writings, she double- and tripled-checked some stories in order to give future researchers a better place to start. The book is heavily illustrated and footnoted.

If you could not make the open house event earlier in May, the first floor of the Hexagon House will be open for visitors that evening. Light refreshment will be offered.

Friday Roundup: House Update and Open House This Saturday

First: PHW is aware of a number of developments concerning 119 S. Washington St. We would like to reiterate that while we are an advocacy group and we appreciate questions and concerns about changes to property in the Historic District without approval, we are not an enforcement agency. Reports of this nature made to PHW will be passed to the Board of Architectural Review via their staff liaison for investigation.

At this point in the project, it is not entirely clear to the PHW members who have been following these meetings and series of approvals what is or is not approved work, what is/was/will be subject to stop work orders, and what has been approved. We certainly anticipated the painting of the brick was likely to cause backlash, and that has indeed been the case.

Unlike some other work that has been conducted on the property recently, the painting of the brick did go through the Board of Architectural Review. While PHW members do not endorse the painting, the proposal was done with historic images and traces of paint presented as proof that the building had been painted in the past. At the time of that approval, PHW was under the impression this was an actual restoration, attempting to recreate the exterior appearance of the home as presented in a circa 1905 image.

The paint approved for this application is said to be similar to a lime wash. We are not familiar with this particular brand, but it was stated to be a “breathable” paint in keeping with recommended practices for historic masonry buildings. If the building had to be painted, this was the least objectionable path to take.

We expect to see 119 S. Washington St. return to the Board of Architectural Review again on Thursday, May 18, 2023, 4 PM in Rouss City Hall. If you cannot attend the meeting in person but would like to submit comments about this or any other issue pertaining to the BAR, you suggest you direct written comments to the Planning Department in advance of the meeting.

Second: It is a busy weekend downtown and around the Historic District. We hope that if you are out and about for Kidzfest or Fort Loudoun Day on May 13 (this Saturday!), you will also pop by the Hexagon House between noon and 4 PM for our joint open house with ShenArts. If you came last year, we’ll have a few new displays set up in the first floor of artifacts pertaining to PHW’s history with the Kurtz Building, as well as a half hour video playing on loop during the event. We’ll also be able to sell some of our books and other goodies, have a few mystery photos that we hope you’ll be able to help us ID, and free coloring sheets for kids of all ages. We are planning to be a chill event, and since we’re indoors, we go rain or shine!

Friday Roundup: Updates and BAR Notes

Oops! If you tried to download the newsletter last week, the file only partially uploaded. The full spring newsletter is now available. Thanks to Dave for spotting the issue!

This week the roof at the Hexagon House got some TLC. We learned during the evaluation process we still have a real tin roof. Although we don’t recommend hanging on to paint cans for this long (keeping your paint swatches and color mixing instructions are sufficient and less hazardous), we were also able to color match the paint from the 1997 work. Our roof looks as good as new. Many thanks to the MSV and Winchester Roofing for helping to keep a roof over our heads (literally)!

As you may have heard, on April 6 there was a Board of Architectural Review application for 119 S. Washington asking for retroactive approval of work done to the exterior of the home, including door replacement and alteration to the fence and walkways. Not all the items were addressed at that meeting, which was continued in the April 20th meeting. As is usual in cases like this where work is done and then it seeks retroactive approval, it is PHW’s position that the work should be evaluated as if it is a fresh application and the design guidelines applied as usual. This was not a case where an owner or tenant could claim ignorance of the BAR process, as he had applied numerous times before for other exterior changes.

This was certainly an unfortunate situation, as certain items (such as the fence and gate “piers”) were approved in a completely different manner that was in line with the historic documentation of the building. PHW was under the impression the owner was aiming to restore the appearance of the home as documented in some ca. 1905 images; the original approvals would have been in line with this work. We understand the most historically-inaccurate of the changes to the sidelights around the front door will be brought back to the BAR at a future meeting with a revision; at this point there is not information on exactly what the sidelights may look like.

The changes to the fence are certainly not our preference from a historic perspective, and while we understand the decision made at BAR it does not make what happened in any way right or excusable. As we often say in cases of demolition, once an item is removed from a home, it is very difficult to restore it; matters become even more complicated when the work encroaches on city sidewalks and rights of way. Removing these items can impact your ability to restore them at a later point.

We also would urge residents in the historic district to embrace some of the quirks of their homes and properties. It is unlikely you will find a perfectly square lot and a perfectly centered house; the quirkiness is part of what attracts many people to older homes. To try to perfect something that has already aged gracefully tends to lead to a feeling of artificiality – certainly the opposite of what we want to encourage in a historic district.

As you think over this situation, we encourage those who have only heard this described second or third hand to review the meetings in question. You may watch the meetings for April 6 and April 20 online through the City’s website and draw your own conclusions. Much of the BAR process relies on good faith cooperation between applicants, staff, and the volunteer board. This was definitely one of the more stressful BAR meetings of recent times, and we thank the City staff and BAR members for working through a very complicated situation to the best of their abilities.

119 S. Washington St. as seen during the 2007 Holiday House Tour.