Architecture Laid Bare, or Reasons to Travel in the Winter

Recently I took a jaunt up to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Despite having lived in the greater Washington, D.C. area my entire life, and having enjoyed many lovely days up in Harpers Ferry, Boonsboro, and Berkeley Springs, I had never managed to visit before. Shepherdstown is the oldest town in West Virginia, having been founded in 1734 and chartered in 1762. There are lots of great reasons to visit, even in February. The historic town and surrounding rural landscape are vibrant even in the dead of Winter, and the views of well-preserved 18th and 19th-c. buildings are unimpeded by trees and vegetation. Historic resources here have strong local support in the form of Historic Shepherdstown and the Shepherdstown Historic Landmarks Commission. As the town’s comprehensive plan states, “historic preservation remains a key quality of life that the citizens of Shepherdstown hold in high regard.”

1906 Jefferson Security Bank

c. 1906 Jefferson Security Bank. This Beaux-Arts bank building housed the Yellow Brick Bank Restaurant from 1975 until 2015, and is now home to a Mexican restaurant. Photo by author, 2019.

Cornice detail of 1906 Jefferson Security Bank building

Cornice and cartouche, 1906 Jefferson Security Bank building. Photo by author, 2019.

19th c. Side-Passage House, East German Street, Shepherdstown, WV

19th-c. side-passage house with wrought-iron filigree porch piers and balustrade. Photo by author, 2019.


1960s Shepherdstown Water Works office with concrete folded-plate roof. Photo by author, 2019.

Federal entry with fanlight and sidelights

Federal six-panel entry door with fanlight and sidelights. Photo by author, 2019.

Shepherdstown Public Library / Old Market House

ca. 1800 Old Market House, with second story built c. 1845 for Odd Fellows Hall. Shepherdstown Public Library since 1922. Photo by author, 2019.

Odd Fellows iconography

Few would dare attempt a late book return under the Odd Fellows’ all-seeing eye! Photo by author, 2019.

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