Love Always, Patsy Singing Girl From The Shenandoah Valley
Patsy's Home 608 Kent Street Winchester, Virginia
The house country music star Patsy Cline lived in while forging her musical destiny has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The home in Winchester, where Cline lived with her mother and two siblings, was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register by the Historic Resources Board of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources at the Sept. 14 meeting. Word has just been received that the house has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cline lived in the home from ages 16 to 21, the years 1948 until 1953, when she married her first husband, Gerald Cline. Thereafter, she resided at the house intermittently until 1957, the year her career soared after she won a competition on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts national television show singing “Walkin' After Midnight.”
“The family home was a foundation and a springboard for Patsy’s ambitious dreams of becoming a country music star,” according to a document prepared by the Department of Historic Resources for nomination to the VLR. “These were the formative, seminal years in Patsy Cline’s musical career and personal life,” the document states.
Many other sites in Winchester associated with Cline — the music store where she recorded her first demo, the drug store where she worked the soda fountain, and the clubs and the drive-in where she performed — have been either razed or significantly remodeled.
“Only 608 S. Kent St. retains much of its character as the girlhood home of Patsy Cline, and remains as the place where she lived the longest,” according Dr. Douglas Gomery, a professor of media history at the University of Maryland, who assisted state officials in preparing the register nomination.
The dining room where Cline’s mother, Hilda Hensley, sewed the young singer’s signature cowgirl dresses and nightclub outfits remains relatively unchanged from its appearance in the 1950s.
The back yard — its landscaping, limestone steps, and a side yard fence — appears much as it did in photographs of Cline decorating a convertible for Winchester’s annual Apple Blossom Festival parade, an event she participated in as a rising star.
Even the working-class neighborhood where the mid-19th century-era house is located retains elements of its historic fabric.
Cline was the first solo female singer to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. Although her career was cut short when she died in a plane crash in 1963, her recordings continue to sell and inspire new generations of vocalists such as k. d. lang and Reba McEntire.
Her life story has inspired numerous plays, biographies, and a popular Hollywood film, and for the past 10 years she has been on Billboard Magazine’s Top Country Album List.
“Crazy,” one of Cline’s best-known songs, penned by Willie Nelson, continues to be the number one jukebox hit of all time.
Among her many honors, Cline was the first woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the first solo female country star commemorated on a stamp by the U.S. Post Office.
Born Virginia Paterson Hensley in 1932 in Winchester, Cline is buried at Shenandoah Memorial Park, a few miles south of Winchester.
In early September, an historical highway marker highlighting Cline’s career and the home at 608 S. Kent St. was dedicated during a ceremony at the house. Courtesy of the Winchester Star Winchester, Virginia Saturday, November 19, 2005