A bold plan for downtown

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Posted: May 20, 2013

The Winchester Star

To build the Loudoun Street Mall in 1974, general contractor Howard Shockey & Sons had to make some changes underground. Ralph D. Shockey (left) said recently that while the existing water, sewer and stormwater lines weren’t touched, some water inlets and manholes had to be moved and some service lines to buildings had to be replaced. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
Jack F. Davis
The downtown shopping district had a new look and feel once the pedestrian mall was completed.
A dedication ceremony is held for the new Loudoun Street Mall in 1974. When it was built, it was the first pedestrian mall in Virginia. The project, which cost $587,000 and took about seven months to complete, transformed 1,600 feet of Loudoun Street into a walkway.
A child listens to a speaker that was installed on the Loudoun Street Mall in 1974. The downtown sound system no longer exists.
A worker constructs the mall fountain, which was moved as part of the 2013 renovation. Its new home will be at the Our Health campus on North Cameron Street.
The switch from street to mall eliminated traffic, allowing people to sit on a bench or take a stroll.
A sign welcomes people to the Loudoun Street Mall in 1974.
How did this happen? A water fountain on the mall is toppled.
Shoppers look for a store on a map of the downtown mall.
Former Winchester Mayor Charles Zuckerman (from left) and downtown businessmen James R. “Jimmy” Wilkins Jr. and Wilbur Feltner pose on the newly renovated Loudoun Street Mall. Wilkins said city leaders in the late 1960s and early 1970s saw the importance in drastically changing the region’s main shopping district to keep it vibrant. But Feltner admitted the new pedestrian mall took a little getting used to. Ultimately, they say, the experiment succeeded. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
“The mall was good some 40 years ago and is now, as evidenced by the restoration project. Yes, the project did prevent downtown decay.”— Former City Manager Wendell Seldon
Winchester Mayor Elizabeth Minor talks about construction on the Loudoun Street Mall during the First Friday Dig ceremonies on Jan. 4.


Like many great things, it all started with a four-hour lunch. The discussion at that midday gathering in the fall of 1963 was downtown Win chester, specifically how to prevent the…

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