WINCHESTER, Va. — Winchester, Virginia, is paying respects to a country music legend who put the town on the map.
Born in Winchester as Virginia Patterson Hensley in 1932, Patsy Cline became one of the first country music artists to successfully cross over into pop music and had several smash hits, most famously "I Fall to Pieces" and "Crazy," during her eight-year recording career.
Now, President Joe Biden has signed into law a bill renaming the post office along Winchester’s walking mall after the country music icon.
“Patsy Cline was a trailblazing woman in the music industry, a legendary vocalist whose music and influence touch us still today, and — most importantly — a beloved daughter of Winchester, Virginia,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton in a statement. “I’m proud to have carried the legislation which will forever commemorate the legacy of Patsy Cline by renaming the Walking Mall post office in her honor. As we approach what would have been her 90th birthday later this year, I’m excited that we’ll have one more way to celebrate Patsy’s remarkable life here in her hometown.”
Cline died in a plane crash at the age of 30 on her way home from a concert in Kansas City, Missouri. In spite of her tragic death, her career stands out as one of the most impressive in country music history. Cline was the first female solo artist to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1960 and the first female solo artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973. CMT has ranked her #1 in their Countdown of the Greatest Women in Country Music, and generations of future artists from Reba McEntire to Cyndi Lauper have cited her as an influence on their careers.
“On behalf of the family, I would like to say how honored we are at the naming of the US Post Office in old town Winchester after my mother, Patsy Cline. Mom was always so proud to say she was from Winchester. I know she would be so proud and thrilled to be remembered in such a wonderful and thoughtful manner. I'm sure she would want to thank you for all the work that went into this honor. We sincerely thank you,” said Julie Fudge, Cline's daughter.
The Patsy Cline Historic House in Winchester, where she lived from 1948 to 1953, is in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register and remains a popular tourist attraction. Patsy Cline's final resting place is just a few miles south of the house, in Shenandoah Memorial Park, where a bell tower was built in her memory in the 1980s.
“Tapping the U.S. Postal Service facility on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Winchester in honor of Patsy Cline is an ideal way to acknowledge the importance of her presence in her hometown. In January 1957, CBS’s Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts introduced our local celebrity as ‘Patsy Cline from Winchester Virginia’ on live television just before her winning performance of ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’, and launched her as a national celebrity. This U.S. Postal Service facility is near the Patsy Cline Historic House, a National Historic Landmark, where Patsy lived the longest of anywhere in her life. Even when dreams took her to Nashville, she always called Winchester her home,” said Karen Helm, President of Celebrating Patsy Cline, Inc., a Virginia-based 501c3 whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of Patsy Cline and her music and which owns and operates the Patsy Cline Historic House as a museum.