Out of the Past

Posted: July 1, 2013

Archie Skiles found these photos in his mother’s belongings. She was Kitty Rudolph Skiles of Stephenson. Skiles said the gentleman in the photo is wearing a militia uniform that is indicative of photos taken before the Civil War. He believes that the couple are his ancestors who lived in Stephens City. He is searching for their identity. If you know, call him at 540-545-8779.

100 years ago

Workman today began excavating on the lot formerly occupied by the Market Street skating rink, near the corner of Rouss Avenue, for the erection of Winchester’s new theatre, which it is expected will be opened to the public about the middle of September next. The playhouse is to be known as the New Empire, and will stand on the site of the old skating rink and Empire Theater, which was destroyed by fire on the night of July 7, 1912.

That there is to be a new theater in this city will cause a great deal of interest among that part of the population that is fond of amusement. The building permit was issued to Mr. J. Henkel Henry, and Mr. William H. Baker, the well-known business man, is associated with Mr. Henry in the enterprise. Exclusive of the lot on which it is to stand, the new theater is valued at $20,000.

It will be a thoroughly modern opera house in every particular, and strictly fireproof throughout. The building is to be erected from plans drawn by Mr. A. Lowther Forrest, a well-known theatrical architect of Baltimore, Md.

Moving pictures, vaudeville entertainment and road companies are to furnish the amusement at the new playhouse, and it is the expectation of the management to open the theater with the first show about the middle of September.

June 25, 1913

FORT WAYNE, IND. — Mr. and Mrs. Lew Ross and Mr. and Mrs. Russell Klein, of this city, will start on a walking trip to Winchester, Va., early next week.

Both couples were recently married here, and they will spend their honeymoon in this manner. They will visit relatives in Winchester. Their route will be over the trail over which General Wayne led his soldiers from Cincinnati to Fort Wayne more than a hundred years ago.

June 30, 1913

Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Stiles of Chicago, are visiting the latter’s parents at Grimes. Mrs. Stiles gained some little fame in the “Windy City” by winning first prize it the Chicago Tribune’s “Ideal Man” contest.

The happy couple are accompanied by their “ideal boy,” Cassius G. Stiles, eight months of age, who hopes to later renounce allegiance to the Sucker State of Illinois and spend his early years at Deer Lodge farm, near Kernstown, which has been purchased by the Stiles family.

June 30, 1913

75 years ago

Kenilworth, the estate of Harry K. Thaw, north of Winchester about 5 miles on U.S. Route 11, is for sale.

Several days ago, a large sign was erected at the entrance to the estate announcing that the price had been “cut 50 percent” and that a $25,000 plantation, evidently the value placed upon the property by Thaw, could be purchased for $15,000.

The sign states that the property has a complete heating plant, the advantages of electricity, a new garage, 12 hydrants, three pumps and a spring and cistern water.

In some respects, the sign is unusually frank. It states, for example, that the estate has a “wretched entrance.” But the house, the southeast portion of which, the sign states, was built in 1747, contains excellent colonial woodwork, and “antique stairway,” and a Windsor closet.

On the farm is a new chicken house and the offer of sale declares that the cows, which produce the best butter fat, will be “thrown in,” as will a 1938 model refrigerator.

June 17, 1938

A contour map of the site of the new school at Gore has been completed by Walker Bond and preparations are going forward for construction of the new building which was recently authorized by the Frederick County School Board, it was learned today.

It has been definitely determined that the new building costing approximately $25,000, will include an auditorium and that the building will probably be quite similar in appearance and plans to the consolidated school at Gainesboro, which was completed a few years ago.

Commenting upon the recent purchase of the site at Gore for $2,000, Mr. Kline said it was the only desirable site in the vicinity of Gore. The ground in that neighborhood is filled with many wet weather springs which would have made it necessary to tile drain any other lot, he said.

Had the site been chosen a mile or more east or west of Gore, the board would have been confronted with the necessity of transporting pupils by bus from Gore. There are 62 pupils, more or less next year, in the village.

June 18, 1938

50 years ago

The number of apple trees in Virginia declined 20 percent during the past seven years, according to the Virginia Crop Reporting Service.

The 1963 survey by the Virginia Department of Agriculture established that 39 percent of the new planting in Virginia are in the two counties of Frederick and Clarke.

The counties with the largest number of apple trees are as follows: Frederick, 452,000; Clarke, 174,000; Rappahannock, 121,000; Nelson, 92,000; Shenandoah, 88,000; Rockingham, 84,000; Augusta, 73,000; and Albemarle, 71,000.

June 24, 1963

25 years ago

Winchester should gain up to $3.2 million in taxes and about 3,000 residents when Meadow Branch is completed, a consulting firm says.

The planned community of more than 1,000 homes will be built on 290 acres between Valley Avenue and Merrimans Lane by the end of the century.

Winchester, however, will not need to spend as much money in services to residents of Meadow Branch as it does for the rest of the city. Much of the project is geared at housing for the elderly and for retired people, thus helping to eliminate the need for schools.

June 23, 1988

— Compiled by Priscilla Lehman (plehman@winchesterstar.com)