I hope everyone is having a great Christmas season. I’m here in Winchester, Virginia awaiting many adventures with many of you all over the world. Winchester seems like a quiet yet busy little town that is a great mix of modern chain stores and amazing family owned local businesses, and a rich history.
It is where legendary country music star Patsy Cline lived for many years. She moved no less than 10 times in the first 16 years of her life around the state of Virginia before settling down in her mother’s hometown of Winchester. She lived here until age 21 when she married her first husband. Back then this house was considered on “the wrong side of the tracks” and it was many years after her death before the city of Winchester to begin to recognize her as a local star because of this. Here I am in front of the house she always came back to:
This is the historical post that stands in front of the home:
We did tour the home, however photos were not allowed. We learned that Virginia Patterson Hensley (Patsy Cline) was born in Winchester in 1932 to her mother Hilda who was only 16 years old. They moved back to Winchester when Hilda separated from Sam Hensley, Patsy’s father.
There is also an exhibit currently at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley that is beautifully done. Pictures were not allowed in most of the exhibit, however you can see parts of it on the museum’s website. The exhibit runs through July 6th. Here are some photos we were able to take from around the exhibit:
My host’s daughter wrote a “Postcard to Patsy”
You could pretend to be her as well in this “Becoming Patsy Cline” booth:
You know I couldn’t resist taking a turn as well:
As a teenager she attended John Handley High School. We took a quick visit to the beautiful campus, here you see the football field which is open to the public for walking:
Here is the front of the school; there are a lot of stairs around the entire campus!
Check out the name of the theatre:
Patsy, who was known as “Ginny” at the time, quit school to help her mother care for her younger siblings. She worked at Gaunt’s Drug Store which still stands today. It was closed but we took a few pictures outside.
We also visited a venue that she would play at called Granny’s. My host remembers this from previous talks about Patsy with locals, but has yet to find the evidence that it is truly a place she played. Here I am in front of the venue’s sign as they were repairing the building when we stopped by:
We learned through our tour of Patsy Cline’s Winchester that she could not read music which made things very difficult for bands who wanted to know what key to play in. She learned to keep a notebook with the keys for each song for when she was asked. She played the piano and sang by ear.
Sadly, Patsy died at age 31 (March 5, 1963) in a private plane crash when returning to Nashville from a benefit concert in Kansas City, Missouri. We stopped by this cemetery to pay our respects:
Here is her grave stone:
You will notice it bares her legal name and that her husband at the time is still living in Nashville as well as her stage name, Patsy Cline. You can learn more about Patsy from this website:
I enjoyed learning about this musical legend, I hope you take the time to learn more by following the attached links.
Until next time,