Friday Roundup: National Preservation Month

Happy May! This year marks the 49th celebration of National Preservation Month, which was created to bring awareness to the work historic preservation does to preserve buildings and community character. There are always lots of activities this time of year to help you celebrate, but we have collected a number of the history-themed ones in our Preservation Month edition of the PHW newsletter.

We’d also like to share a little more detail on our National Preservation Month Open House set for May 14 at the Hexagon House:

For this special occasion, we will use the front door, facing Amherst Street, as our main entrance. Please note this entrance has a run of ten stairs to enter, but does have a handrail. If steps are an issue, the back door, which we use for our day to day business, has only two steps up (but no handrail).

Likewise, the upstairs will be opened by ShenArts. The upstairs is accessed by stairs only (20 steps, with handrail). If you cannot manage the steps, we will have a table for ShenArts info downstairs for guests.

Admission is free, but we encourage a donation to one or more of the following options (all are tax deductible as PHW and ShenArts are both 501(c)3 organizations):

  • General donation to PHW or ShenArts
  • Donation to the Godfrey Miller House Exterior Preservation Fund
  • Donation in memory of Dr. James Laidlaw, which will be used for exterior improvements at the Hexagon House in partnership with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
  • Donation to the Sherry Bosley Scholarship fund, to create an endowment for local students pursuing a historic preservation education

In addition, we will be able to process membership renewals for PHW, and we’ll have a “book nook” where you can pick up a copy of Winchester: Limestone, Sycamores & Architecture and other titles. We encourage the use of cash or checks, but we will try to have a credit/debit option available as well.

And of course, we have finally completed the brochure on the history of the Hexagon House, which has been requested numerous times through the years. It will be available for the first time during this event. We are delighted with the final product and can’t wait to share it with the community. This first (in what we hope may be a series of) building-specific pamphlet was made possible by the generous donation of cover artwork by Linda Spollen Haile, and a donation by Karen E. Brill and William J. Meyer which covered the printing expenses for the brochure. Even if you can’t stay for a full walk through the house, we hope you’ll drop in for a few minutes and grab a copy of the brochure. Be sure to thank our project donors as well, because it was their support that made this brochure and event possible for the community!

Last, just for fun, PHW has made a quick personality quiz to suggest some architectural styles to fit your personality. If the embedded quiz is not working, find the direct link here. Let us know how we did on picking styles!

Friday Roundup: Office Updates and Elms Motel

Better late than never! The Winter 2022 edition of the newsletter is online now. We have had a couple mailers come back to the office as undelivered, so if you haven’t received snail mail from us and you still want to, please reach out at phwinc.org@gmail.com.

We are also getting ready for a large batch of membership renewals for our spring/end of fiscal year push. If you’d like to get in your renewal early, we have an online form you can download and mail in with your check. Otherwise, keep an eye out in early April for the next renewal letter.


We are getting closer to seeing the MSV partnership on some landscaping/exterior improvements happen at the Hexagon House. Our end goal is to have some quality of life improvements for outdoor events here. Many of you are familiar with our usual outdoor setup for the Annual Meeting and the greenery sales at the Bough & Dough Shop and have probably noticed the yard is looking a bit rough. We hope to be able to share more details soon, but any donations made to PHW in memory of Jim Laidlaw are currently being considered for this project. As you may know, Jim and Barbara have been integral parts of PHW’s leadership since the 1970s, and were similarly involved with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Barbara is being consulted and is on-board for the proposed idea.


With the news of a “raze and replace” development proposal at the site of the Elms Motel on Valley Avenue, we were alerted by a concerned reader that the four Art Deco units have been cited as one of the rare examples of this ephemeral style of architecture still in existence. The project is on the March 15th Planning Commission meeting agenda, and the documents for the proposal can be found online at the City of Winchester portal.

We have reached out to our local Department of Historic Resources office and confirmed of the 200 motels/hotels surveyed in Virginia, only three are from Winchester/Frederick County. Similar styles have been considered National Register eligible recently. We would recommend viewing the Multiple Property Document for Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort Motels and Hotels for more in-depth architectural history on hospitality-focused buildings. You can also view more collected images and information on the Elms Motor Court at Dead Motels USA. The existing motor court is worth documenting properly at the very least, or perhaps even incorporated into the other adaptive reuse of existing structures planned for the site.

The public hearing for rezoning will take place March 15, 3 PM in Rouss City Hall. You may wish to make statements in writing and submit them before the meeting to the Planning Commission by email via plngdept@winchesterva.gov.

Elms Motor Court & Dining Room Winchester VA
The Elms in the William L. Bird collection of Flickr, from a postcard postmarked 1957. The four Art Deco units are in the larger image, while the now demolished main building is in the inset.

PHW Summer Newsletter Online

The summer edition of the newsletter is now available on our website! Printed versions are in the mail, but you can grab a peek now.

As part of the summer newsletter, we have included two forms pertaining to our Holiday House Tour. First, we are once again planning to produce a program booklet to accompany the tour this year, and so we begin our request for sponsors. Sizes and rates are the same this year as in the past, and the PHW Office can provide more particulars if you are new to the booklet advertising opportunities. Click here for the sponsorship form.

Second, since we took a break from heavy volunteer usage in 2020, we have included a volunteer form as well. We are always in need of volunteers during the Holiday House Tour, and this time we’ve broken down the volunteer options a bit more so you can be paired up with a job you are comfortable with. Click here for the volunteer form.

Sponsorship and volunteer forms can be returned by email to phwinc.org@gmail.com or by snail mail to PHW, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601.

Friday Roundup: Newsletter and Preservation Month Activities

Hexagon House Backyard
Dogwood and redbud blossom in the back yard of the Hexagon House.

Our spring newsletter is here! Printed copies should be arriving in your mailbox soon (just in time for National Preservation Month), but you can read it on our website now (PDF).

You can get a head start on celebrating National Preservation Month, coming in May, with some of these ideas:

PHW Preservation Award nominations: As you know, last year PHW did not present preservation awards at our truncated Annual Meeting. We are tentatively hoping to host awards this year in June, and as such, the award nomination form has been updated. Projects completed between June 2019 to May 2021 are eligible for this combined round of recognition. Awards are open to BOTH Winchester City and Frederick County. People or projects may be nominated by anyone (including the potential award recipient or family member) AND you may nominate an unlimited number of projects. Applications DO NOT need to be complete, but should at least have enough identifying information that the project can be further discussed by the award committee. Return applications or suggestions to PHW, 530 Amherst St., Winchester, VA 22601 or by email at phwinc.org@gmail.com. Applications should be sent by May 28, 2021 for consideration for a 2020 or 2021 award.

Renew your PHW membership dues, or join the organization: PHW is a membership-based organization, so financial support through your membership dues is critical to help us keep the lights on, especially since we have not been able to hold many events during the pandemic. Individual membership is $30, but if you can’t afford that amount, we would still appreciate any amount you may wish to donate. The link above has more information, membership forms, and a link to our PayPal donation button.

Shop for preservation and architecture goodies: You can find a pre-order form in the latest newsletter for several books and art prints. Items are also for sale on our Ecrater store, and can either be mailed or picked up at the office Monday-Friday.

Take a self-guided tour: Last year we compiled all the tours we were able to find and placed the collection on our Holiday House Tour page. See if there’s one you haven’t explored yet to enjoy our local history!

Share your stories or documents: Do you have research materials you have gathered about a historic place in Winchester or Frederick County? Did you find a stash of PHW materials and don’t know what to do with them? We are always working on our research collections. Contact the PHW office to arrange for a donation or copying of materials that will go into our files.

PHW Newsletter and Order Forms Online Now

While we finish up preparing the hard copy version for mailing, you can get an advance peek at the fall newsletter. The issue contains information to help keep you and us safe while you shop at the Bough and Dough Shop this year. Get a copy now!

We are also working on order forms for perishable goods. While more will be added as information is finalized, you can check out the wreaths from Blackthorn Estate Nursery and loose greens form and the bakery order form for T L Cards and Crafts and Karen’s Kollection.

Friday Roundup: Open House, Newsletter, and Events

We know: the holidays are pushed earlier and earlier every year. (There is not a month of the year we do not have something “Christmas” in the works at PHW, so we fully sympathize with all the eye-rolling and cries of “Not again!”) But we also know it takes artists time to handcraft their delightful goods for the Bough & Dough Shop. In that spirit, we are once again hosting an informal open house at the Hexagon House on Saturday, August 24, 1-4 PM. The downstairs will be partially laid out for a test run of tables and confirmed artist spots.

While the event is geared mostly to returning and new artists, anyone is welcome to attend. And if you’ve been procrastinating on filling out an application, we strongly urge you to do so—most of our spots are filled, but with some advance planning, we may be able to squeeze in a few more artists or keep you on hand if a last minute cancellation opens a spot. You can find a copy of the info packet for artists at www.phwi.org/events/Shopinfo.pdf. We anticipate this session to be very useful for artists looking to discover what display materials they need to bring or how their items might fit into the eccentric Hexagon House layout.

Our summer newsletter is complete and online. Check out the digital version online here. A hard copy should be mailed to our members next week. We did not want to keep the time sensitive events waiting. Inside is a copy of our Holiday House Tour booklet advertising sponsorship levels. We hope you will secure a spot to showcase your business!

Mark your calendars for September 15 for the next 275th event: “From Disaster to Redemption: George Washington and the Making of Winchester” at the George Washington Hotel Ballroom, 103 E. Piccadilly St. The French and Indian War Foundation together with the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society is heading up this event with a dynamic speaker, Dr. Carl Ekberg. Dr. Carl J. Ekberg is a retired history professor from Illinois State University. Rutgers Un.; Ph.D.  Author of several books, many awards, two outstanding; 2014 Medaille de Valeurs from the French Ambassador and 2015 Best Book Award from State Historical Society of Missouri. Carl resides in Winchester and serves on the board of the F&I War Foundation.

This is a free event to attend; however, you may wish to purchase food or drinks during the mingle. Menu:  Fried chicken plate with greens and mashed potatoes and a biscuit for $15.00. Apple cobbler and coffee for $5.00. There will be a bar. The Hotel has asked that you pay with cash.

If you are out in the Gainesboro area, stop by the Gainesboro Tourist Park. A new sign has been erected commemorating the Stonewall Brigade’s encampment in the area during Jackson’s Bath-Romney Campaign. A small dedication is likely to take place the first weekend of September. PHW was delighted to help write and design the sign for the Gainesboro Ruritan Club to bring their idea to fruition. If you have not heard the story of the soldiers who took part of the expedition, you can learn more at the Bath-Romney Campaign Historical and Preservation Association. While this marker is not affiliated with the six Civil War Trails markers installed in Morgan County, it was written to mesh with them and mark one of the first camps the Confederate soldiers experienced after leaving Winchester.

Holiday House Tour Newsletter Online Now

We have finished the print edition of the PHW newsletter for Holiday House Tour. As we know the event will be here before you know it, we are making the PDF with all the house images and descriptions available now at Volume 40.4, Holiday House Tour 2017. The final page of the newsletter has a mail-in order form for checks, and we anticipate having the PayPal ticket order forms online and functioning by November 9!