Railroad Stations: Piccadilly and Kent Sts. for Baltimore & Ohio R.R. and Winchester and Wardensville R.R.; Boscawen St. near Amherst St. for Pennsylvania R.R.
Bus Station: Braddock St. between Amherst and Boscawen Sts. for Greyhound, Brenner Motor, Blue Ridge Lines, Potomac Motor Lines, and Virginia Stage Lines.
Taxis: Fare $2.50 for 2 passengers, within city.
Accommodations: 4 hotels; tourist homes and inns.
Information Service: Chamber of Commerce, Cameron St. and Rouss Ave.
Motion Picture Houses: 2.
Golf: Winchester Golf Club, 1.5 m. E. on Cork St. extended, 9 holes, greens fee $1.50 per day, caddie 5oo for 18 holes.
Swimming: Rouss Spring Park, SE. edge of city on Millwood Rd., children only, free; Winchester Golf Club, 1. 5 m. E. on Cork St. extended, adm. by arrangement.
Tennis: Rouss Spring Park, SE. edge of city on Millwood Rd., free in morning, 150 per hour in afternoon; Winchester Golf Club, 1.5 m. E. on Cork St. extended, adm. by arrangement.
Annual Events: Apple Blossom Festival, spring, when blossoms appear in near-by orchards; Blue Ridge Hunt Club Horse and Colt Show, Carter Hall, June.
WINCHESTER (725 alt., 10,855 pop.), near the northern entrance to the Shenandoah Valley, is the seat of Frederick County and the oldest Virginia city west of the Blue Ridge. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries stagecoaches and wagons lumbered through its muddy streets, carrying adventurers westward and southward. Here crossed two old trails, which are today arterial highways serving the uses of commerce and vacationists.
In spring, when the rolling countryside is beautiful and fragrant, Winchester's Apple blossom Festival attracts thousands of people, who come to behold the beauty of the 700,000 apple trees that bloom each year in Frederick County. Then the little city abandons itself to two days of festivity. Queen Shenandoah is crowned on the steps of Handley School. Surrounded by ladies-in-waiting, Her Majesty views a pageant enacted by 1,000 children. In the late afternoon there is an aerial show at Admiral Byrd Airport, southeast of town. The first evening is crowded with a reception for the queen and her court; a parade of Virginia fire companies, cadet corps from military schools, and World War veterans, marching to the music of many bands; street dances in roped-off areas; and a ball at the apple palace. On the second day school children re-enact their pageant;
the queen is entertained; a parade with elaborate floats again enlists bands and soldiers; and at a late hour the queen's ball begins, bringing the festival to a close.
Town Run and the tracks of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad traverse Winchester. The comparatively level older portion of the city rises toward flat-topped hills: on the north Fort Hill, on the east church hill, on the south potato hill, on the west academy hill, Powell's Ridge, and Apple Pie Ridge an undulating checkerboard of apple orchards.
Though many first settlers in Winchester were English, its neat compactness is contributable to Germans from the northern colonies. Houses built flush with the street, have tiny gardens tucked behind them and stoops that steal space from sidewalks. On the outskirts of the city, however, newer homes have indulged themselves in the luxury of surrounding lawns. In 1732 Joist Hite crossed the Potomac at Pack Horse Ford near Present Shepherdstown, West Virginia, bringing 16 families from Pennsylvania at Opequon, five miles south of Winchester. From Isaac and John Van Meter, Hite purchased lands that were part of the Northern Neck proprietary of Thomas, Lord Fairfax.
Though Frederick County was sliced in 1738 from Orange County, the story of Winchester, first Fredericktown, did not begin until 1744, when James Wood laid out a courthouse square and 26 lots. Frederick County held its first court in a log house Wood built at the present Glen Burnie. If Lord Fairfax had had his way, Stephens City would have been made the county seat. James Wood, however, outwitted him by serving one of the justices enough toddy, and the deciding vote was cast for Frederick. In 1752, the town was laid out and named for Winchester, England.
Already settlers knew the lad, George Washington, who had been serving Lord Fairfax's vast holdings since 1748. Washington was 16 years old -- red-headed, freckle-face, and very eager -- when he set out in March, 1748 for Winchester and his first job, and his eyes were busy as he 'went through most beautiful groves of Sugar Trees and spent ye best part of ye Day in admiring ye Trees and richness of ye Land.'
After General Braddocks defeat in 1755, Lieutenant Colonel Washington, placed in command of frontier forces, 'rid post to this place...and found everything in the greatest hurry and Confusion, by the back Inhabitants flocking in, and those of the town removing out...No Orders are obey'd, but what a party of soldiers or my own drawn sword, enforces.' He set about to quiet a frightened people and to build Ft. Loudoun for their protection.
Men of Winchester played a conspicuous part in the Revolutionary War. Their leader was Daniel Morgan who moved there from New Jersey in 1753. After the battle of Bunker Hill he organized a company of Northern Virginia riflemen. Commissioned captain of militia under General Benedict Arnold, he pressed with his company into Canada, was held prisoner in Quebec, fought in both battles of Saratoga, and as hero of battle of Cowpens was given credit for the defeat of General Tarleton. Morgan spent the last 10 years of his life in Winchester.
Between the Revolution and the 1860s, Winchester grew and prospered. In 1779, the General Assembly authorized its incorporation as a town. Early in the 19th Century stage lines operated between Winchester and Harper's Ferry, continuing even after the Winchester and Potomac Railroad was completed in 1836.
From the beginning until the end of the War between the states, Winchester was a center of military activities. Crops and cattle, mills and factories, made the valley an important requisitioning area for the Confederacy, and Winchester was a vantage point coveted by both armies. General Thomas J. Jackson was given command of the department of Shenendoah in October of 1861, he cleared Winchester of invading federal troops; in March 1862 Union forces under General Banks forced him to evacuate the town; but on May 25 he moved in again. Until the summer of 1864 Winchester changed hands many times and more than 100 military engagements took place in the surrounding area.
Fighting at an end, Frederick County looked again to fields and orchards, and its principal town to marketing. Winchester was chartered as a city in 1874 and adopted the city manager form of government in 1918. It owes its recent prosperity to nearby orchards. Though the Virginia apple was not important commercially until after the War between the states, its fame had spread long before. After the establishment of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College -- now the Virginia Polytechnic Institute -- serious attention was given to apple culture. The Institute's department of horticulture was founded in 1888. Today almost 400 fruit farms in Frederick County produce more than 650,000 barrels of apples annually. Winesaps, Pippins, Staynans, The Delicious, Black Twigs, and all their manifold kin enter the packing houses; but York Imperials -- crisp, pungent and juicy -- make up 60 percent of the apples that pass in and out of Winchester. In enormous warehouses, situated at the approaches to the city and capable of handling nearly one million barrels, apples are sorted, packed and shipped. One of the storehouses, with a 500,000 barrel capacity, is the largest in the world. In other plants apple byproducts are manufactured. Winchester also has a brick plant and factories productin woolen and knitted ware, gloves, flour, and other commodities. The annual pay roll is $3,000,000.
Even in winter, when the trees are bare and only the cidery pungence from the packing houses and the big apple in front of the Elk's Club bear testimony to its principal industry, Winchester, on main-traveled highways, is still a goal for travelers.
Points of Interest
The tree-shaded PUBLIC SQUARE, bounded by Loudoun, Boscawen, Cameron Sts., and Rouss Ave., was donated in 1744 by James Wood. Eleven buildings, as well as stocks, a whipping post, and a pillory were once in the square. The FREDERICK COUNTY COURTHOUSE (open 9-5 Mon.-Fri., 9-1 Sat.), Loudoun St. between Boscawen St. and Rouss Ave., a large white-painted brick building with a tall Doric portico, was completed in 1840 and succeeded two earlier log structures. A stone jail, build about 1764, occupied the east side of the square until a brick market house took its place in 1821. The City Hall, Cameron St. between Boscawen St. and Rouss Ave., was erected in 1900, partly with funds contributed by Charles Broadway Rouss. Born in Maryland, Rouss was sent to school in Winchester at the age of 10. At 15, he started his career in local general store and at 18 he opened his own store with a capital of $500. Later he made a fortune as a merchant on Broadway, New York City. His gifts to Winchester amounted to more than $200,000.
OLD TAYLOR HOTEL, 225 N. Loudoun (Main) St., a large brick building, its ground floor occupied by a chain store, retains many-columned verandas on its second and third stories. As the Coffee House, McGuire's Tavern, the General Washington, and as Taylor's Hotel, it was a center of business and social life for 150 years. During the War between the States, the building was occupied by Confederate and Union officers. 'Stonewall' Jackson had temporary headquarters here, and General Banks used it at one time as a hospital. Burned in 1845 and rebuilt three years later, it was maintained by various owners until closed in 1905. Among its guests were Washington, John Marshall, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
MOUNT HEBRON CEMETERY, E. end of Boscawen St., was established in 1844 as a cemetery and adjoined the original Lutheran burial ground. At the left of the entrance stand the RUINS OF THE OLD LUTHERAN CHURCH -- one thick stone wall, jagged and ivy-grown, with two arched window openings. German Lutherans, organized before 1753 and given this site by Lord Fairfax in that year, began their church in 1764. It was used as a barracks during the Revolutionary War, and was burned in 1864. The grave of Daniel Morgan is southeast of the ruins. Near by lie five of the six men constituting Morgan's 'Dutch Mess', his bodyguard during the Revolution.
In STONEWALL CEMETERY, bounded by Greenwalt Ave., Cork St., East and Woodstock Lanes, is the CONFEDERATE MONUMENT TO UNKNOWN DEAD, a tall shaft commemoration 829 unknown soldiers killed in or near Winchester. More than 3,000 identified soldiers are also buried in this cemetery.
In THE NATIONAL CEMETERY, opposite Stonewall Cemetery across Woodstock Lane, five acres purchased by the Federal Government in 1866, lie 2,110 known and 2,381 unknown Union soldiers killed in the Winchester area.
The FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 304 E. Piccadilly St., a barnlike gray structure of rubble fieldstone, built about 1790, was the first church of the Winchester Presbytery. The building was sold in 1834 to a white Baptist congregation and later to a Negro Baptist congregation. Union troops used it as a stable during the War between the States. In 1925 it was converted into a Negro school but is now used as an armory.
The SITE OF FORT LOUDOUN, Loudoun St. between Clark and Peyton Sts., is a half acre over which Winchester's main street now passes. Part of the SOUTHWEST BASTION, NW. corner Peyton and Loudoun Sts., still stands above the surrounding level -- all that is left of the redoubt built by Colonel George Washington in 1756-57. The fort, named for the Earl of Loudoun, commander in chief of Colonial forces, was garrisoned with 450 men and defended by 24 guns. It was never attacked and its guns were never fired, but it served its purpose: the French at Fort Duquesne reported it impregnable.
STONEWALL JACKSON'S HEADQUARTERS, 415 N. Braddock St., obscured by surrounding trees and houses, is a brick house designed in Gothic Revival style. General Jackson had headquarters here in 1861.
The HANDLEY LIBRARY (open 10-9 daily in winter, 10-7 in summer) NW. corner Braddock and Piccadilly Sts., a richly ornamented Italian Renaissance villa, was opened in 1913. It contains about 30,000 volumes and has a lecture hall seating 300. The library and Winchester's magnificent public school were gifts from Judge John Handley.
SHERIDAN'S HEADQUARTERS, SW. corner Braddock and Piccadilly streets, owned by the Elks Lodge, is a large brick house painted white, with a two-story Corinthian portico. The building served as headquarters for General N.P. Banks in 1862, for General R.H. Milroy during the next year, and for General Philip Sheridan in the autumn and winter of 1864-65. In the front yard stands a painted red APPLE about five feet high, made of concrete and plaster and set here in 1932 after its use in a pageant.
DANIEL MORGAN'S HOUSE (private), 226 W. Amherst St., a many-windowed stuccoed dwelling almost hidden by trees, was built by Goerge Flowerdew Norton and later enlarged. General Daniel Morgan lived here two years before his death in 1802.
CHRIST CHURCH, NE. corner Washington and Boscawen Sts., a rectangular brick buildin in simple Neo-Gothic style, was built in 1828-29 to replace the log church on the 'Public Lotts.'The tomb of Thomas , sixth Lord Fairfax of Cameron, is in the basement of the church. The body of Lord Fairfax was first buried in the old church and later moved here, but its exact location was forgotten. In 1926 Robert T. Barton, Jr., a Winchester lawyer, employed the Negro sexton to search for the bones. After unprofitable days of digging he ordered the work discontinued. The Negro, however, returned the following morning, declaring that the spot had been revealed to him in a dream. 'If I find dem bones, Boss,' he argued, 'you payme. If I don't find 'em, you don't.' Digging continued, the bones were discovered, and Lord Fairfax (1693-1781), proprietor of the Northern Neck, was reburied beneath the floor of the church.
SHENENDOAH VALLEY MILITARY ACADEMY, Amherst St., occupying several buildings on 22 acres of tree-shaded grounds, is one of the oldest in America. It was founded in 1764 as the Winchester Academy, and sessions have been held continuously, except during the War between the States, at least since 1785. The average enrollment is 100.
WASHINGTON'S OFFICE (NOW OPEN), NE. corner Cork and Braddock Sts., a one-story gabled-roof building, is in two sections. The newer part is built of rough stone, the older of hewn logs covered with clapboards. The small windows have solid outside blinds. In the log section two doors with old facings swing on large H- and L-hinges. Goerge Washington used the older part as an office while surveying for Lord Fairfax. Behind the building is a small cannon from Alexandria and a stone monument commemorating Braddock's line of march.
The SITE OF WASHINGTON'S QUARTERS, 204 S. Loudoun St., is occupied by a stone house built in 1792. In a log building here Washington had his quarters in 1755 while he built Fort Loudon.
RED LION TAVERN (ADM. BY ARRANGEMENT), SE. corner Cork and Loudoun Streets, is a pleasantly proportioned two-story house built of limestone. Now a residence, it was a thriving tavern about the time of the Revolution. George Washington stopped here several times. Peter Lauck of Daniel Morgan's 'Dutch Mess' was proprietor in 1783.