Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Constitution Week (September 17-23) is an annual celebration of Americans’ liberties, freedoms, and rights as outlined by the Constitution of the United States.
The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. This document established our government and laws in such a way as to build a philosophy of human rights and dignity into the structure of the government itself.
The Daughters of the American Revolution partnered with Handley Regional Library to create a display on Constitution Week and the right to vot...Read Full Post
September 2 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. On that day in 1945, known as V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day), the Japanese boarded the USS Missouri and signed formal surrender documents, finally bringing peace to a world that had seen far too much suffering. The American General MacArthur, serving as Master of Ceremonies, spoke these powerful words before the signing:
Nor is it for us here to meet, representing as we do a majority of the peoples of the earth, in a spirit of distrust, malice, or hatred. But rather it is for us, both victors...Read Full Post
The Handley Library first opened its doors in a formal ceremony 107 years ago on August 21, 1913. The invitation sent out for the event states that “the exercises will be held in the lecture hall of the Library at eight o’clock p.m. and immediately thereafter the reading rooms and books will be open to inspection.”
Winchester had been eagerly awaiting this day for a number of years. Judge John Handley died in Scranton, PA in February 1895, leaving $250,000 to the City of Winchester to be invested until it reached $500,000, at which time it would be used to build a libr...Read Full Post
In August, we remember the Suffragette movement. Our display this month shows elements of the local fight for women’s right to vote. In particular, the display highlights Fannie Baker Dunlap, who registered for the vote on October 2, 1920 at 56 years of age, and Mary Elizabeth Pidgeon, a member of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.
It is just one hundred years since Virginia women won the fight for the right to vote. In fact, Winchester’s first two women, Isabel E. Baker and Frances W. Beverly, registered to vote on August 27, 1920 – exactly 100 years a...Read Full Post
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the dedication of Winchester’s Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. Winchester’s original Catholic Church, known as “the old stone church,” was destroyed during the Civil War, leaving Winchester without a Catholic Church building from 1864 until 1870. During this time, the priests ministering to Winchester celebrated Mass in local homes, and even at the Red Lion Tavern. The congregation was growing with many new converts, and a new parish became a necessity. Construction on Sacred Heart Parish began in 1868, and the first Mass wa...Read Full Post
John Bruce (1793-1855) was a man who spent over twenty years of his life finding ways to make an impact on his community. He was born in Scotland, but emigrated to the United States and settled in Winchester. Some people make impacts through teaching and preaching, some through caring for people’s well-being, but others find that they are best suited to improving the community through other means, as John Bruce did by overseeing various constructions.
Bruce must have had an eye for beauty as well as good construction, because he was the architect for the original Christ Episcopal ...Read Full Post
Memorial Day, a day to honor and mourn those who died serving in the Armed Forces, originated in the years following the Civil War, through it did not become a federal holiday until 1971. The Civil War caused more bloodshed than any other conflict in U.S. history, claiming the lives of about 500,000 soldiers. After the war, Americans began holding tributes to fallen soldiers every Spring. Memorial Day later expanded to honor those who lost their lives in other conflicts and wars.
By coincidence, Memorial Day this year falls on May 25, the 158th anniversary of the First Battle of W...Read Full Post
Winchester has certainly been home to many remarkable people, including many women over the decades who owned and operated their own businesses. Several in particular stand out for the unique ways they showed strength in their careers as businesswomen.
Upon the death of her father in 1926, Lucy Fitzhugh Kurtz (1874-1968) inherited not one, but two businesses: the Kurtz Furniture Store and the Kurtz Funeral Home. The two businesses were incorporated in 1947 under the name of George W. Kurtz, Inc. Lucy remained the company president until 1968, the year she died at the impressive ag...Read Full Post
Did you know that a famous classic American writer was originally from Frederick County? When people think about Willa Cather (1873-1946), they often associate her with the Midwest (she spent her teenage and college years there, and many of her novels are set in the Midwest), but actually Cather spent much of her childhood in our neighborhood.
Willa was born at the Boak House in Gore, and the next year moved with her family to the house known as Willow Shade, about a mile to the east. She lived in that house until the age of nine, when her family moved to N...Read Full Post
Many of us are stuck at home right but we can still let our imaginations soar with stories from the past. Winchester native Admiral Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957) had an unquenchable thirst for adventure his entire life. At the age of twelve, he made an unsupervised journey around the entire world. When the United States entered into World War I, Byrd received flight training and by 1918 had earned his wings.
Though Admiral Byrd accomplished many things during his career, he is probably best known for his Polar expeditions. In 1926, Byrd, along with pilot Floyd Benn...Read Full Post