Historic Winchester District


1. Overview


Winchester, founded in 1744, is the oldest Virginia city west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As such, this 9.3 square mile municipality has an expansive inventory of historic buildings and landmarks. In order to preserve the character of Winchester, the City of Winchester, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places have established an assortment of laws that penalize work on historic properties without approval and incentivize appropriate preservation of historic properties. Please use the table of contents or page sections of this webpage to learn more.


2. Historic Winchester District

The Historic Winchester (HW) District is a locally designated historic district intended to focus attention on the architectural excellence and historic importance of certain buildings, structures, places and areas of the city; to promote their preservation, protection and maintenance; and to ensure the development and maintenance of appropriate settings and environment for such buildings, structures, places and areas. Properties within the Historic Winchester District must seek approval from the City when making any changes on the exterior of the property visible from a public street, public way, or other public spaces as determined by the Zoning Administrator.

Interactive Map    Static Map


3. Historic Winchester District Design Guidelines

These guidelines have been developed to provide detailed recommendations to further aid you, the property owner, and the Board of Architectural Review in the ongoing goal of historic preservation in Winchester. The intent of these guidelines is to guide design decisions within the Historic Winchester District, not dictate them. These are a set of principles, not a set of strictly followed laws. The Board of Architectural Review and property owners should follow the intent of the guidelines as they continue to work together to preserve the unique and irreplaceable resources of the Historic Winchester District.

4. National Historic District

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources. State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO) play a critical role carrying out many responsibilities in historic preservation. Surveying, evaluating and nominating significant historic buildings, sites, structures, districts and objects to the National Register is one such key activity. To help find out if a historic place meets the National Register criteria and how the nomination process works in your state, please contact the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.


Property owners in the National Historic District are not subject to seeking a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Board of Architecture Review for exterior changes (as properties in the local Historic Winchester District are required to do). Additionally, property owners within the national district can apply for State and Federal Tax Credits for qualifying improvements.

Virginia Cultural Resource Information System Data Viewer


5. Procedures and Approvals

All properties located within the Historic Winchester District must receive a Certificate of Appropriateness before any alterations are made to the exterior features of a property. A Certificate of Appropriateness is approved either by the Zoning Administrator or the Board of Architectural Review.