275th Anniversary

Winchester, founded in 1744 (officially March 10, 1744), is the oldest Virginia city west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Located at the northern entrance of the Shenandoah Valley, the City encompasses 9.3 square miles and is the medical, industrial, commercial and agricultural center for the surrounding areas. In the last 275 years, the city has become a nationally-recognized place to raise a family, do business and retire. Winchester's vast history includes a long list of memorable events, celebrities and public figures that deserves to be celebrated. 2019 marks the 275th anniversary of the founding of the town of Winchester (established in 1752). Celebrate with us by attending the anniversary celebration events and activities. 

275th Anniversary logo

2019 Schedule of Events

See below for the list of anniversary activities. More information is being added each week. If you or your organization would like to get involved in the celebration, we'd love to hear your ideas. Please contact a planning committee member to discuss your idea or event further.

Activity Description Location Date Time
Charles B. Rouss Day Charles Broadway Rouss was born on this day. A celebration will be held when the Rouss City Hall renovation is complete. Rouss City Hall February 11  
George Washington's Birthday Free admission to the George Washington's Office Museum 32 W. Cork Street February 18 12-4 pm
History of Winchester Presentation Overview of Winchester's history by Tim Youmans Village of Orchard Ridge February 27 1 pm
Heritage Day Includes information tables hosted by historical societies and research organizations and free lectures. More info Museum of the Shenandoah Valley March 2 10 am-3:30 pm
St. Paddy's Celtic Fest Celebrate Winchester's Scottish and Irish heritage at this popular free event. Old Town Winchester March 9 12-9 pm
Content of James Wood's Ledger Book MSV Curator of Collections Nick Powers will discuss the ledger book of Winchester founder Colonel James Wood.  This fascinating piece of local history covering the 1740s and 1750s contains many secrets of early Winchester.  Registration required by March 7. Museum of the Shenandoah Valley March 10 2-3 pm
African-American Heritage in the Shenandoah Valley Program will highlight and celebrate the lives of African-Americans who lived in the Shenandoah Valley. Details Handley Library March 16 10:30 am
Readers Theater: Brown Family - "The Science of Our Success" Hear the story of the Brown family of Winchester. The Browns were a prominent and wealthy African-American family in the late 1800s. This family was once called, “A Family Steeped in the History of America”. Six siblings born to this family became successful medical or pharmaceutical doctors. Handley Library March 23 2 pm
Historical Society Annual Meeting & History Presentation Hear an overview of Historical Figures of Winchester by Timothy Youmans, City Planning Director and local historian. Rouss City Hall March 28 7 pm
Winchester's Musical Heritage Event

Enjoy jazz music in honor of Winchester native John Kirby. The Shenandoah Conservatory (SC) Jazz Ensemble, in partnership with the NAACP of Winchester and Old Town Winchester, organized this John Kirby Day Celebration. A full day of concerts begin Friday, April 12 with a SC Jazz Ensemble performance and end with a SC John Kirby Sextet performance on Saturday, April 13. Tickets are required for the Jazz Ensemble performance but the five other events are free. 2019 Jazzathon schedule and more information: www.su.edu/performs/event/2019-04-jazzathon/

Old Town Winchester April 12-13 8 pm Fri-8 pm Sat
Old Town Winchester Guided History Tour Put on your walking shoes and enjoy an evening of storytelling by guides knowledgeable about Winchester's vast history. Held every 2nd Friday at 6 pm and 3rd Saturday at 10 am. For reservations, call 540-542-1326. $10/person. Note: No tour on October 11. Meet guide at 2 N. Cameron Street (Kurtz Building) May-October  
Kernstown Battlefield Walking Tour Enjoy a guided tour of Winchester's Kernstown Battlefield every Saturday, May-October. For more information call 540-869-2851. 610 Battle Park Drive May-October 11 am & 1 pm
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Enjoy the 92nd Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival! Some of Winchester's historical figures will be walking in the Grand Feature Parade (5/4) to celebrate Winchester's 275th anniversary. Various April 26-May 5  
Winchester's Musical Heritage Event-Progressive Dinner/Concert Enjoy a progressive dinner and dessert (including a Martha Washington cake with 50 eggs) and live music honoring Winchester's 275th anniversary. Concert schedule, dinner menu, and ticket information. $35/person (purchase tickets by 5/10). Presented by Winchester Chapter American Guild of Organists (benefits WAGO's Scholarship Fund).  Quaker Meeting House, Grace Lutheran, Christ Episcopal, First Baptist Churches May 17 5:30 pm
Old Town Winchester KidzFest Enjoy a variety of kids activities in Old Town Winchester (FREE). Stop by the 275th Anniversary booth for a free coloring book. Loudoun Street Mall May 18 11 am-5 pm
Mt. Hebron Cemetery  Historical Tour Meet the guide at the Gatehouse on East Lane. $5/person 305 E. Boscawen Street May 18 1 pm
Fort Loudoun Day Colonel George Washington's aid de camp, Captain George Mercer's Company of the Virginia Regiment will appear at Fort Loudoun. Learn more about George Washington's fort in Winchester. 419 N. Loudoun Street May 18 11 am-5 pm
Dunmore's War Presentation Hear more about the last conflict of America's colonial war where many Winchester residents fought. Presented by Dr. Glenn Williams. Provided by the French & Indian War Foundation. Free. Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Audiorium, SU May 23 7-8 pm
History Trolley Tour - Sightseeing Express Explore Winchester's history by trolley and enjoy the sites and stories provided by a guide. $10/person. Reserve spot in advance by calling 540-542-1326.  Meet at the Visitors Center June 8 10 am
Military History Day Saturday: WWI & WWII Re-enactors, museum displays, WWII Veterans' Reunion (10:30 am). Sunday: Museum displays, miliary vehicles 811 Fairfax Pike, Stephens City June 8-9 9:30 am-5 pm
Hop Blossom Craft Beer Festival This 7th annual event focuses on craft beer education and exposing participants to the growing popularity and love for great craft beer. This year we’ll feature 40+ breweries, live entertainment, our 6th annual homebrew competition and more! The "homebrew" is a collaboration of all four Winchester breweries and is named 1744 in honor of hte 275th anniversary founding of Winchester. Find it at the Locals Tent at the festival. Loudoun Street Mall June 8 12-6 pm
Classic Movie Night Watch a classic movie under the stars in Old Town. Dine at a restaurant downtown or get take out and then enjoy a movie. Bring seating or a blanket. Taylor Pavilion June 8 Dusk
Spottswood Poles Historic Marker Dedication Join us in honoring Winchester native Spottswood Poles at a historic marker dedication in Jim Barnett Park. The location is near the ball parks and concession stand to the left of Bridgeforth Field. Some of Spottswood's family will be in attendance. Jim Barnett Park Ball Fields June 14 6 pm
Winchester Royals
Spottswood Poles Night 
Attend the Winchester Royals baseball game for Spottswood Poles Night. Spottswood was a Negro League baseball legend and WWI veteran who earned five battle stars and a Purple Heart while serving in France as a member of the Army 369th Infrantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters). Jim Barnett Park
Bridgeforth Field
June 14 7 pm
Daniel Morgan Presentation Albert Louis Zambone will speak about Daniel Morgan. Provided by: Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society and the Friends of the Handley Library. Click here for more information. Handley
Library
June 15 2 pm
Old Town Friday Night Live Old Town's summer block party series (event #1 of 3). The Taylor Pavilion will be the main venue for live band performances (ticket required), and the Loudoun Street Mall will be filled with family-friendly acoustic music, street performers, and activities (free). Loudoun Street Mall June 21 5-11 pm
40th Anniversary of the Handley Archives Reception Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Handley Archives Handley Library June 29 2-4 pm
Old Town Rockin' Independence Eve Celebrate America's birthday a day early at Old Town's annual Independence Day (Eve) event which includes live music, family-friendly activities, beer/wine gardens and an awesome fireworks display. FREE. Loudoun Street Mall July 3 5-11 pm
Museum Open Houses Stop by the open houses for all four City of Winchester-owned museums (free entry): George Washington's Office, Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters, Abram's Delight and the Hollingsworth Mill (next to Abram's Delight) which includes a WWI exhibit. Four Museums July 4 10 am-4 pm
"Hog Wild in Winchester"-A whimsical play Winchester Little Theater presents "Hog Wild in Winchester," a whimscial play about George Washington's pig law. Written by Sally Anderson. Relive the story of George Washington's first piece of legislation after being elected to the House of Burgesses. Free to attend (approx. 15-20 minutes) and free admission to the museum. George Washington Office Museum July 4 11 am & 
2 pm
Classic Movie Night Watch a classic movie under the stars in Old Town. Dine at a restaurant downtown or get take out and then enjoy a movie. Bring seating or a blanket. Taylor Pavilion July 13 Dusk
Lecture Series

Winchester history through 275 years:​
July 16 - 1700s in Winchester by Tom Maccubbin (early business life in Winchester through ledgers) and Gene Fisher (history of the Godfrey Miller Home)
July 18 - 1800s in Winchester by Rebecca Ebert (life before the War Between the States) and Keven Walker (during and after the war in Winchester)
July 23 - 1900s in Winchester by Trish Ridgeway (benefactors to the area) and Judy Humbert (integration in the second half of the century)
July 25 - 2000s in Winchester by Kris Tierney and Eden Freeman (present state of the area and future goals)

Fee: $10 (cash or check) at the door. Proceeds benefit the Godfrey Miller Historic Home and Fellowship Center

Godfrey Miller Fellowship Center, 28 S. Loudoun Street July 16, 18, 23, 25 7 pm
Old Town Friday Night Live Old Town's summer block party series (event #1 of 3). The Taylor Pavilion will be the main venue for live band performances (ticket required), and the Loudoun Street Mall will be filled with family-friendly acoustic music, street performers, and activities (free). Loudoun Street Mall July 19 5-11 pm
Moonlight Ball Learn traditional Victorian dances to live music. Period attire encouraged. Ticket required. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Provided by Winchester Parks & Recreation. George Washington Hotel July 20 7-10 pm
George Washington Election Re-enactment Re-enactment of George Washington's (age 26) election to his first public office while in Winchester (House of Burgesses). This mock election will be held on the same site where Colonel George Washington was elected. Vote for your two favorite candidates. Provided by the French & Indian War Foundation. 1840 Courthouse, Loudoun St. Mall July 27 1-3 pm
Classic Movie Night Watch a classic movie under the stars in Old Town. Dine at a restaurant downtown or get take out and then enjoy a movie. Bring seating or a blanket. Taylor Pavilion August 10 Dusk
Winchester's Musical Heritage Event Enjoy great bluegrass music by the band Springfield Exit West Oaks Farm Market August 15 6-10 pm
Old Town Friday Night Live Old Town's summer block party series (event #1 of 3). The Taylor Pavilion will be the main venue for live band performances (ticket required), and the Loudoun Street Mall will be filled with family-friendly acoustic music, street performers, and activities (free). Loudoun Street Mall August 16 5-11 pm
French & Indian War History Reading  Reading of the Declaration of War pronounced by Britain on France Loudoun Street Mall August 17 TBD
Winchester's Musical Heritage Event Relive the popular hits of country music legend Patsy Cline sung by Tracey Wygal. Handley Library Auditorium August 24 2 pm
Trolley Tour - Civil War History Explore Winchester's history by trolley and enjoy the sites and stories provided by a guide. $10/person. Reserve spot in advance by calling 540-542-1326.  Meet at the Visitors Center August 24 10 am
Patsy Cline Music Festival Enjoy the fun atmosphere of an old-fashioned block party with live entertainment, food concessions and souvenirs staged on Kent St. between Monmouth and Germain streets. Details Patsy Cline Historic House September 1 10 am-4 pm
"From Disaster to Redemption: George Washington and the Making of Winchester" By Carl Ekburg of the French and Indian War Foundation and the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. Free presentation. Come early for the social hour at 1:30 pm (fee for drinks and refreshments only).  George Washington Hotel September 15 2:30 pm
Winchester's Musical Heritage Event "Winchester at 275" - Shenandoah Conservatory's vocal and choral ensembles join the Wind Ensemble to celebrate Winchester's 275th anniversary. The concert features music from the northern Shenandoah Valley, as well as music written and performed around the world at the time of Winchester's founding. $15/person (Tickets)

SU, Armstrong Concert Hall

September 21 7:30 pm
Oktoberfest This popular two-day event celebrates the area's German heritage with live music, beer/wine gardens, activities, costume contests and more. Old Town Winchester October 11-12  
"A Prominent Place" Artifact Book Panel Discussion Launch of the Winchester artifact book, "A Prominent Place". Listen to the panel discussion about the book by contributing authors. Book signing and refreshments will follow. Henkel Hall/Hester Auditorium, SU October 17 6:30 pm
History Trolley Tour - Sightseeing Express Explore Winchester's history by trolley and enjoy the sites and stories provided by a guide. $10/person. Reserve spot in advance by calling 540-542-1326.  Meet at the Visitors Center October 26 10 am
History Trivia Challenge Participate in this 275th anniversary history trivia challenge and test your knowledge of Winchester's history. Teams of three people will be determined onsite. Prizes to top teams. Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 at the door. The Bright Box bar will be open. For more information: 540-662-6550 or cshull@winchesterhistory.org. Bright Box Theater November 14 7 pm
Bough & Dough Shop

Boutique-style holiday gift shop held as part of Preservation of Historic Winchester’s annual Holiday House Tour. The Shop operates as an artisan-driven boutique with fresh cut greenery. In 2018, 23 artisans and 3 non-profits participated.

PHW Office,
530 Amherst Street
November 22-December 15 TU-SA, 10 am-5 pm & SU, 12-5 pm
Old Town Holiday Parade Don't miss this Winchester tradition. Route: Piccadilly at Cameron to Braddock to Cork to Cameron. Annual tree lighting ceremony with Santa immediately follows parade on the Loudoun Street Mall. Old Town Winchester December 2 7 pm
Holiday House Tour Winchester homes through the centuries tour. Provided by Preservation of Historic Winchester. Various Locations December
8
12-4 pm
Abram's Delight Candlelight Tour Tour Winchester's oldest home: Abram's Delight Museum 1340 S. Pleasant Valley Rd December
6-7
6th: 6-8 pm
7th: 3-7 pm
Old Town Holly Jolly Celebration Celebrate the holidays in Old Town. Enjoy caroling and holiday activities including free horse-drawn wagon rides and Santa's Headquarters where children can make a craft and visit with Santa (free). Specials at shops and restaurants all day. Loudoun Street Mall December 14 10 am-5 pm
First Night Winchester Annual New Year's Eve celebration. Old Town Winchester December 31 10-12 am
"Winchester 1740s" Exhibit   Handley Regional Library Open hours  
Rouss City Hall Grand Reopening Historic Rouss City Hall (built in 1901) is currently being renovated. A celebration and tours will be offered when the work is complete. Rouss City Hall TBD  

275th Celebration Materials & Merchandise

Item Description Pick Up/Purchase Locations Cost
Kids Coloring Book - Highlight's of Winchester's 275 years Enjoy coloring and learning about Winchester's history Visitor Center, Historical Society, City Hall, Old Town KidzFest Free
Bicenterquasquigenary (275 years) T-Shirt YS-M, AS-2XL
Black or Maroon
Historical Society, Visitors Center $10
($15 for XXL)
Book: "A Prominent Place: 275 years of Winchester's History in 50 Artifacts" COMING OCTOBER Historical Society, Winchester Book Gallery, Handley Regional Library TBD
Photo books: "Images from the Past" or "More Images from the Past"  Collection of photos of local history with descriptions Historical Society $30 each
Book: "Limestone and Sycamore Revised Edition" COMING NOVEMBER Preservation of Historic Winchester office $25 each
275th Anniversary Lapel Pin Available Now Historical Society $2

Spottswood Poles Historic Marker Dedication


Membership discount during July

Jim Barnett Park Rec Center Membership Discount

EXTENDED THROUGH 8/16! Sign up or renew an annual membership at Winchester Parks & Recreation during the month of July and receive a 27.5% discount in honor of Winchester's 275th anniversary and National Parks and Recreation Month. Membership includes: Unlimited use of indoor and outdoor pools, fitness room, billiards table, racquetball court and gymnasium (during designated times). Memberships also include drop-in programs: pickleball, volleyball and basketball, and the following fitness classes: Yoga, Zumba, Water Aerobics, Water Yoga and Aqua Arthritis.


History Resources

Handley Regional Library Stewart Bell Jr. Archives

Winchester-Frederick Historic Society

Chronological Historical Highlights

Self-Guided Historical Tour Brochure (PDF)


275th Anniversary Celebration Committee

George Schember​, Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society
Cissy Shull, Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society
Jenny Powers
Kristen Goff
Susan Whitacre​​
Becky Ebert, Handley Regional Library Archives
Nick Powers, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Timothy Youmans, City of Winchester 
Amy Simmons, City of Winchester

Contact

Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society
Offices located in Hollingsworth Mill
1340 S. Pleasant Valley Road
Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: 540-662-6550
Website