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 the last of our 3 part series highlighting a few spots you should check out:
157 N. Loudoun St: Huntsberry Building
Built in the 1960’s and redone in 1887, this building was originally covered by an aluminum sheathing. The Huntsberry Building is an excellent example of adaptive reuse, providing commercial space on the first floor and apartments on upper floors.
125 N. Loudoun St: Taylor Hotel
The Taylor Hotel, owned by Bushrod Taylor, was once one of the most elegant hotels in Winchester, with a handsome three tiered porch on the front facade. It was popular lodging for Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War, with guests as varied as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Stonewall Jackson.
107 N. Loudoun St: Miller’s Drug Store
Godfrey Miller II built this Federal-style building in the early 1800’s. The building as known as “the oldest continuing family run drug store in America.” The front addition was added to an 18th century Flounder-style home. Nephew George Miller, the second owner, expanded the business to apothecary and dry goods store. Original ledger books, medical books, and supplies, dating back to 1806, are currently housed at Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy for research and display purposes. Many events of great historical importance have passed and many figures of national importance have crossed the threshold of Miller’s since 1764. Washington, Morgan, Jackson, Sheridan, Early, Stuart and many others who contributed to the glorious history of the Valley were all well known at Miller’s. The building is well known for being haunted.
106 N. Loudoun St: Farmers & Merchants Bank
This Italian Renaissance Revival structure was built in 1902 for use as the Farmers & Merchants Bank. Renovated in the 1990’s, it is owned and operated by the BB&T bank today. Note the beautifully detailed facade including brick quoins and arched windows. Learn more here.
101 N. Loudoun St: Union Bank Building
Centrally located on Winchester’s Historic Walking Mall, the Union Bank was chartered in 1870 at this location and built in 1878. It is Winchester’s only example of a Victorian Italianate building with a cast-iron facade. Note the ornate architectural details including high arched windows and Roman Corinthian capitals. However- this building no longer houses a bank. It’s home to the Union Jack Pub and Restaurant. The menu offers a host of authentic British dishes, including steak and kidney pie and a traditional Ploughman’s lunch. Learn more here.
30-38 Rouss Ave: Lawyers Row
Known as “Lawyers Row,” this 1872 building was constructed by Frederick W.M. Holiday. Its location near the Courthouse made it a popular location for lawyers’ offices. Italianate in style, the details are restrained and only the porch brackets, bracketed cornice, and carved frieze could be termed “fancy.”
15 N. Cameron St: Rouss City Hall
In the 19th century, Cameron Street was the bustling commercial center of town. The marketplace was located on the corner where City Hall is today. This impressive Romanesque Revival minimized historical detail and instead emphasized large and simple forms.
2 N. Cameron St: Kurtz Building
Investors built this building in 1836 to purchase and ship grain to Harper’s Ferry via the railroad which ran down the center of Cameron Street. In 1888 Captain George W. Kurtz added the north addition with the mansard-roofed tower and Victorian embellishments. He used the building for a furniture and funerary business. In 1989, Preservation of Historic Winchester, Inc. rescued the building from demolition and restored both the exterior and interior. Today the building has an active commercial use as the Kurtz Business Centre, known for housing the Old Town Welcome Center and offering tourist information, a Patsy Cline display, periodic art, and a small gift shop.
103 E. Piccadilly St: George Washington Hotel
This recently restored Georgian-Revival-style hotel displays a creative use of contrasting materials to lend interest to its large facade. Molded concrete is used in the bracketed cornice, arches and keystones are about every window, and decorative molded garland panels and a large decorative cartouche above the center bay highlight the facade. Originally constructed in 1924 and restored after a $30 million renovation, this 2011 Wyndham Hotel of The Year award-winning hotel boasts elegant marble flooring, soaring ceilings and the original front desk. The hotel is also home to the largest remaining mural of early American artist, Malcolm Parcell. Previous guests include Al Capone, Harry S. Truman, Henry Ford, John F. Kennedy, Lou Gehrig, Marilyn Monroe, and the Beatles. Learn more here.
Learn more about Winchester architecture and history and download a map for a self-guided walking tour here.