Winchester Architecture and History Part 2

Winchester, VA has 250 years of history and architecture, all beginning in the 1730’s when German and Scots-Irish immigrants were moving south from Pennsylvania to settle in Winchester, originally known as Frederick Towne–the first city established west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As one of the state’s largest wheat producing counties, Winchester was a bustling trade and commerce center. Here is part 2 of our 3 part series highlighting a few spots you should check out:


The Gables Winchester

Image Courtesy of Panoramio

5 S. Washington St: The Gables

Built in 1899, “The Gables” is Winchester’s most exuberant Queen Anne-style house. The Gables, also known as the “Baker House” was one of the homes of the W.H. Baker family, made famous for chocolate manufacturing. The house displays a variety of materials, textures, colors, and shapes characteristic of the Queen Anne style. Using shades of purples, violets, lavenders and rose, a suitable favorite in Old Victorians and a good choice to blend in lovely with the old gray slate roof which is one of the dominant, most noticeable features of the Gables due to the bowl shaped designs. The roof is one of the most unique features of the house.George Franklin Barber, a prolific late Victorian era architect, designed this house and used The Gables as a template in a pattern book, with an estimated construction cost of $10-12,000. Learn more about The Gables and its apartments here.




Daniel Morgan House

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

226 Amherst St: Daniel Morgan House

The southeast timber frame portion of this house was built by George Flowerdew Norton in 1786. It is a 2 1/2-story, seven bay, 17 room, Late-Georgian style brick dwelling. In 1800, General Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War hero, purchased it and build a large brick addition. The house was covered with stucco by 1850 and following the war, Morgan served as a U.S. congressman and ran a mill in Clarke County with Nathaniel Burwell. He retired to Winchester in 1800 and died here in 1802, leaving the home to his daughter.




223 Amherst St: Ambler Hill

This late eighteenth century home was built b John Hatley Norton. He arrived in Winchester in 1783 and constructed the earliest portion of the house in 1786. “Ambler Hill” is named for the widow Catherine Norton’s second husband, John Ambler. Ambler Hill’s frame was nogged, or loosely filled with bricks and stones, when it was built, and the house remains one of the few known extant box frame structures in Winchester. Ambler Hill was the birthplace of famous Virginia novelist John Esten Cooke in 1830, and it has served as a boarding house
once and a school twice, before the Scully family bought and completely renovated it. The house has a brick wine cellar, walnut paneling in the library and a collection of fireplace mantels.



103 N. Braddock St: McGuire House

This substantial brick house, build c. 1790, was the boyhood home of Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, “Stonewall” Jackson’s personal physician during the Civil War and also medical director of the Army of Northern Virginia. The house remained in the McGuire family for many years with a Dr. McGuire (an optometrist) still residing here in 1977 when the building was acquired by the members of the law firm. There are rumors of ghosts and a sword hanging in the attic. Learn more here.



Logan House

Image courtesy of Lee Hohenstein, Omaha, NE

135 N. Braddock St: Logan House

Lloyd Logan, a wealthy tobacco merchant, built this Greek Revival house in 1850. Union General Milroy selected this house as his headquarters when he arrived in 1862, “rudely evicting” the Logan family. It was also used as headquarters by Union General Philip Sheridan in 1864. The large red apple in a 20th-century addition by the Elks Club, which used the building as its headquarters from 1913-1989.






 100 W. Piccadilly St: Handley Library

The Handley Library, completed in 1913, was designed by New York architects Stewart Barney and Henry Otis Chapman. it is an excellent example of the Beaux-Arts style, characterized by extravagant use of materials and classical details. Although never a Winchester resident, Judge John Handley of Scranton, PA, bequethed the city $2 million for construction and operation of a public library and school.



Old US Post Office Building, 40 W Piccadilly Street

Image courtesy of Alamy

40 W. Piccadilly St: Old Post Office

The Post Office, built in 1908, is a fine example of the Neo-classical style which, like the Beaux-Arts style, used classical motifs, but with a more refined and restrained application.





George Reed House

Image courtesy of John G. Lewis

35 W. Piccadilly St: George Reed House

This simple stone house was constructed in 1797 by George Reed, a coppersmith who had his shop immediately adjacent to the corner of Piccadilly and Braddock Streets (since demolished). The building is typical of early Winchester stone buildings–two stories with two rooms per floor. Over its 200-plus year history, the house has been a boarding house, an art gallery, a business office, and a bank. The McCoigs restored the home to a private residence in 2008, receiving a PHW Award of Merit for their efforts in 2009. Read more here.





25 W. Piccadilly St: Philip Williams House

This house was built by Philip Williams, a local attorney, in 1845. The elaborate ironwork porch, decorated with Greek motifs, is of excellent quality and quite unusual for this area. During the Civil War, the ironwork was reputedly removed and buried so it would not be melted down for ammunition.



173 N. Loudoun St: Lovett Building

Beautifully restored 3 stories, The Lovett Building, was originally built in the late 1881. The first floor is commercial space, the second & third floor is converted to 4 apartments. This building is one of Winchester’s best examples of high Victorian Italianate style. The striking massive wood cornice is one of the finest to be found in Winchester.


Learn more about Winchester architecture and history and download a map for a self-guided walking tour here.

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