This Week in Historic Alexandria | Newsletter | City of Alexandria

This Week in Historic Alexandria
City Museums and
Historic Sites
Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in
Alexandria History
Victorian Costume

Shortly after 11 p.m. on the night of August 17, 1956, a crudely built, three-foot high cross wrapped in a towel that had been saturated with kerosene was set aflame on the Mansion Drive front lawn of Alexandria Mayor Leroy S. Bendheim. The burning cross was discovered by Mrs. Bendheim who was able to douse the flames with a bucket of water. At the time, the Mayor was attending the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Neither the police, nor the Bendheims were able to offer any motive for the incident, and a survey of the neighborhood failed to establish any witnesses or suspects.
On Sale Now

Need to send a poison pen letter, an implied message, or are you just in a mischievous mood?  What better way to give your dark side a boost than with an item from the Historic Alexandria Shop’s exclusive “Poison” collection, featuring merchandise based on a historic label at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. The toxic warning and crimson color of this bold line of pencils, mugs, refrigerator magnets, patches and cocktail napkins are sure to shock and awe friends and foe alike!  Purchases can be made onlineor at most OHA museum shops and at the new store in the lobby of the Old Town Hilton, just across from the King Street Metro station.
A Message from the
Campagna Center
Scottish Bagpiper

This year marks the 45th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend hosted by and benefiting the educational programs of The Campagna Center.  What better way to support your community than by opening up your beautiful home for the Holiday Designer Tour of Homes! The Home Tours will take place on December 5th, 11a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, and we hope that you will consider participating in this fun and beneficial event.  Last year, we were able to raise a little over $12,500 for The Campagna Center, and we would love to top that this year!For 70 years, The Campagna Center has helped Alexandria children, teens, and adults reach their potential by supplementing public services with vital pre-K education, afterschool programs, tutoring and mentoring, family support services, and English classes for immigrants.  Proceeds from the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend benefit the Center’s programs which serve 1,700 Alexandrians a day!We are trying to find homes within easy walking distance of the 700 block of Prince Street.  They can be big or small, historic or not so historic—whatever will make the visitor say, “Wow!”  We can tailor the tour to your needs, including pairing you up with a local florist and designer, if desired.  The florist typically donates a centerpiece or two while the designer assists with the holiday decor, including featuring some goods from our Heather and Greens fundraiser sale.  The Junior Friends of The Campagna Center provide the docents for each room, giving the guests a brief history about the home and any interesting facts it might hold.  It’s a great way to learn a little more about Old Town Alexandria and its residents, past and present!

If you or someone you know are interested in participating, please feel free to contact Alissa Kachinski (alissakachinski@gmail.com) or Amanda Smith (amanda.smith@2scientists.net / 703.634.3182) for more details.

Living LegendThe Board of Directors of Living Legends of Alexandria is proud to announce that their gift of the Living Legend portraits has been accepted by the Office of Historic Alexandria and will be part of its permanent collection.  Approximately 100 framed prints of Alexandria’s Legends from 2007 when the project began through the present are being donated to The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, and additional prints will be added annually.Gifts to the Office of Historic Alexandria’s historic collections and libraries become the property of the City of Alexandria, Virginia. They are held by the museums in public trust, to be preserved and used as a resource and legacy for future generations of residents, visitors and researchers.

The Lyceum’s collection includes the original 1839 Lyceum building as well as over 5,000 objects related to the history of Alexandria, Virginia. In 1992, The Lyceum achieved accreditation by the American Association of Museums, a distinction awarded to the nation’s leading museums.  Although Alexandria is fortunate to have several specialized museums, The Lyceum is the only one that collects and interprets artifacts and history from all periods of the City’s past, from the periods before its founding in 1749 through the present day.

In a letter to then-chair of the Alexandria Commission of the Arts, Sydney-Chanele Dawkins, Lance Mallamo, director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, wrote “Living Legends is doing the research and recording the history of today’s Alexandria. But as important as that is, Living Legends is also an art project. The individual photographs are of extremely high quality. Different from standard head-and-should portraits, these images are akin to master portrait paintings that tell a story. The settings artfully incorporate something about the subject’s passion concerning Alexandria.”

With advance notice, the Office of Historic Alexandria will consider loan requests for the print collection in whole or part for exhibition in public and private spaces. For information about Living Legends of Alexandria, visit www AlexandriaLegends.org.  For information about The Lyceum and the Office of Historic Alexandria, visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Special Note: Now through September 7 all Alexandria City Public School students, staff, and their families receive FREE Admission to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.  This includes all regular tours and summer family programs except for Harry Potter’s Birthday tours.


Monday, August 10 – Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee
City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101, 301 King Street.

Regular monthly meeting. Free! 7 p.m. For further information, please call 703-746-4554.Tuesday, August 11 – Alexandria Assembly Dance Rehearsal
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum’s performance dance group, the Alexandria Assembly, meets most Tuesday nights for practice and instruction. Monthly donations accepted. Prerequisite: dancers must have participated in one of the Museum’s Thursday night dance class series. Free! 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Please visit www.gadsbystavern.org or call 703.746.4242 for more information.

Wednesday, August 12 – Alexandria Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission 
Lloyd House 220 North Washington Street.

Regular monthly meeting. Free! 8 a.m. For further information, please call 703-746-4554.
Wednesday, August 12 – Alexandria Archaeological Commission- Threatened and Endangered Sites Committee
Virginia Theological Seminary, Addison Academic Center, Café 1823, Seminary Road

Regular monthly meeting. Free! 6:30 p.m. For further information, please call 703-746-4399.

Elloiuse SchoettlerThursday, August 13 – Second Thursday Live: LOVE NOTES with Ellouise Schoettler 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Happily Ever After is a matter of perspective. LOVE NOTES, a one-widow show performed by Ellouise Schoettler, is a funny and touching journey traversing through the peaks and valleys of marriage. Death? It’s not a clean break. Tickets are priced at $15 per person. 7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Saturday, August 15 – Behind the Scenes: Curator’s Tour at Carlyle House!
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street 
Do you love history? Decorative Arts? Architecture? Want to learn more about African-Americans in Alexandria in the 18th and 19th centuries? Carlyle House will start a new series of special guided tours to the public throughout the year. Guests will have a personalized, behind the scenes tour of the mansion with either the Curator, Director or Educator, depending on the topic. These tours will be offered on selected weekend days starting this Saturday when Curator Helen Wirka will take visitors on a private tour of the museum focusing on selected objects in the collection and their history, use and how they tell the story of John Carlyle, his family and friends like George Washington. The tour will last about an hour and will take place rain or shine. Please do not bring large purses or backpacks. Tickets are $20 per person and service fees apply if tickets are purchased on the website. There is a maximum capacity of 10 people per tour, and tickets may sell out quickly, so please purchase your ticket in advance, either online or by phone. For further information, please email questions to carlyle@nvrpa.org or call 703-549-2997.

Saturday, August 15 – Special Family Tours of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 South Royal Street
This flexible tour format will allow families to start a tour as soon as they arrive and move through the museum at their own pace. Young guests will be able to connect with the museum through their peer tour guides, plus have fun with hands-on activities at the end of the tour.
Activities in the ballroom explore the science behind the historic ice well as part of National Ice Cream Month and include making (and tasting) ice cream!

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Gadsby’s Tavern was the center of social and political life in Alexandria and the new Federal City of Washington. The tavern served as the premier gathering place for residents – including George Washington – and visitors to eat, drink, learn, and influence history. $5 adults ($4 with AAA), $3 children ages 5 to 12, and 4 and under are free. Alexandria City Public School families and Blue Star Families are free and coupons, including the Key to the City, accepted. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, please visit www.gadsbystavern.org or call 703.746.4242.

Sunday, August 16 – Civil War Sunday
Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 North Union Street, #327
Explore the Civil War in Alexandria with Civil War Sundays.  See an original May 26, 1861, edition ofThe New-York Tribune detailing Colonel Elmer Ellsworth’s death in Alexandria, a Peeps diorama illustrating Ellsworth’s death, a TimeTravelers Passport exhibit featuring the Civil War drummer boy, a diorama of a heating system constructed in Alexandria to warm Civil War hospital tents during the winter of 1861, a cocked and loaded Wickham musket discarded in a privy during the 1860s, and an exhibit on a Lee Street archaeological site during the Civil War. Free!  1 to 5 p.m.  For more information, please visit www.alexandriaarchaeology.org or call 703.746.4399.

Sunday, August 16 – New Family Art Lab at the Apothecary Museum
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
New this summer, guests can explore the Family Art Lab Sundays from 2-4pm June 28 through Labor Day weekend at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, located at 105-107 S. Fairfax Street. The Lab features a new activity every week that brings together history, science, and art in a way all ages will enjoy. Families can come back throughout the summer and experience something new every time. No tour necessary to create in the Lab!

The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum in Old Town Alexandria is noted for its outstanding collection of medicinal herbs, shop furnishings, apothecary bottles and equipment, many still in their original location. It also has a spectacular collection of archival materials, including journals, letters and diaries, prescription and formula books, ledgers, orders and invoices. The names of famous customers appear in the documents, including Martha Washington, Nelly Custis, and Robert E. Lee. Lab only admission is $5 per family. If taking a tour, cost is included in regular admission. Alexandria City Public School families and Blue Star Families are free and coupons, including the Key to the City, are accepted. 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit www.apothecarymuseum.org or call 703.767-3852.

Monday, August 17 – Alexandria Sister Cities Committee
City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101, 301 King Street.

Regular monthly meeting. Free! 7 p.m. For further information, please call 703-746-4554.

Ballroom DancingMonday, August 17 – Gary Stephans’ Art of Ballroom Dance
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Fun classes to learn to dance or improve your dancing skills: fox trot, waltz, tango, swing, salsa, merengue, rumba, cha-cha, and samba. All level of dancers are welcome, with or without a partner. Discover little techniques that most people never learn about and become a relaxed and proficient social dancer in these small, personalized dance lessons! Tickets are available for each session online as follows: Basic Techniques, $15 per person, 7 to 7:45 p.m.; Advanced Techniques, $15 per person, 7:45 to 8:30 p.m.; attend both sessions for best results! Free practice session from 8:30 to 9 pm. For more information, please visit garystephans@me.comor call 703-505-5998.

Now on Exhibit – Exhibit: FIELDS 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Join us for the opening reception of FIELDS, featuring the work of David Carlson and Pat Goslee, two abstract painters both deeply interested in spiritual exploration and energy fields. Free! Open Thursday through Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please visitwww.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Now on Exhibit – Journey to Be Free: Alexandria Freedmen’s Cemetery 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
A new exhibit tracing the 150-year history of the long-forgotten Freedmen’s Cemetery, its rediscovery and how the new Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial was created at the site.  Free, but donations are appreciated. Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Now on Exhibit – Their Fates Intertwined: The Lees of Alexandria in the War of 1812 
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street 
A new exhibit on the experiences of the Lee family in Alexandria during the War of 1812 examines the contributions of Alexandria’s citizens during the conflict that led to the writing of our national anthem through the lives of this iconic Virginia family. For further information, please visitwww.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

Now on Exhibit – Fifty Years of Collecting: An Anniversary Exhibit of Objects from the Fort Ward Collection 
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Fort Ward Museum & Historic Park, this new exhibition offers a glimpse into the growth and holdings of the Museum’s fine Civil War collection.The exhibit features some rare items related to the Defenses of Washington, such as an 1862 panoramic drawing of Fort Albany by the soldier-artist William Lydston, a folding camp chair that belonged to an officer in the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, and a Lambley’s portable copying machine used by an officer from the 57th Massachusetts Infantry. Objects that interpret the Union occupation of Alexandria, such as a proclamation declaring martial law in the city, are also featured.  Examples of newly acquired objects are a field desk with personal belongings owned by a captain in the 107th New York Infantry, and a John Rogers statuary group, “Uncle Ned’s School,” which aimed to portray the efforts of newly freed African Americans to better their lives through education in the postwar years.

Fort Ward is the best preserved of the extensive network of Union forts and batteries known as the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Free! Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.   For more information, please call 703.746.4848, or visit www.fortward.org.

Leave a Reply