Restore Historic Powell Gibson Home, Winchester,VA

Located in the Old Town area of Winchester, VA, this house has a very rich past, specially linked to the African American heritage of the town.

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It was built in the 1830’s, before the Civil War. It has stood the times of war, the harshness of weather, socio- political changes in town, etc. It’s a beautiful example of the humble side of Federal Style; first fully American artistic and architectural style.

My name is Richard and I've just moved to this historic home, so full of charm and beauty but so in need of serious repairs; the front entrance door is deteriorating and is losing part of its architectural details, the side wall was damaged by years of ivy growing up the wall damaging the mortar and allowing water to seep inside the house, some of the original wood is rotting, to name a few.

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Jorge Martin and his partner purchased this house over two years ago and they started doing some restoration while researching the history of the house. Unfortunately, Jorge's partner passed away from leukemia a few months ago and Jorge can not afford continuing the goal of bringing this house to its deserved old glory.

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Having been an educator for more than 30 years I see it as a calling to help save this beautiful home and let its history be known. That's why I'm teaming up with Jorge and making my duty to do whatever I can to continue working to save this house from deteriorating. We are hoping to open a bed and breakfast and welcome everybody to enjoy the history of this home one day.

The House: 

It’s registered by the Historical Society of Winchester as the Powell W. Gibson house. Powell W. Gibson, who lived in this house from 1916 until his death in 1959, was one of Winchester's leading educators and the author of plays and poems. He is best remembered as the principal of Douglas School (a historic school for African-American students), educating generations of children for more than a quarter of a century. One of his students, John Kirby, went on to become a jazz double-bassist who also played trombone and tuba (prominently with Benny Goodman).

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Powell Gibson’s son, Willard, opened a print shop behind this old brick residence, where in the late 1930's and 1940's he published "The Virginia Informer", Winchester's only black newspaper. This area is currently the kitchen, and the heart of the house. Another later addiction was done in the 1960's, which is now the living - room, dinning - room area.

Location:

The house sits on East Lane, one of the oldest streets in Winchester. In addition to marking the eastern boundary of the town in 1759, was probably named for East Lane in London. Before the B&O Railroad was extended to Strasburg in 1870, the street was free of the obstructions which the railroad right-of-way imposes, and was an important thoroughfare. Both the Lutheran and the Dutch Reformed Churches faced on this street.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story and we welcome you to visit anytime.

As a token of our gratitude we would like to send all donors a little print of the house with a personalized thank you note.

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Donations

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Organizer

Richard Keith Erskine 
Organizer
Winchester, VA
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