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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
Proncess Street

On September 2, 1790, the Virginia General Assembly approved the creation of an Alexandria Lottery to raise funds for the paving of streets within the expanding town of Alexandria. Since its founding in 1749, the town had tried a number of low-cost ways to eliminate muddy conditions on local streets that were a constant nuisance to townspeople and at times even prevented passage along King Street in the swampy areas between North Pitt and St. Asaph Streets. Using slave and itinerant workers, and even Hessian soldiers over the years had only modest success installing the round cobblestones in the street grid, and raising taxes to the level needed for the work program would have been a huge burden on residents of the young town.
On Sale Now
Paving the Streets in Alexandria

Six beautiful homes, built from the late 1700s to the early 1990s, will be open to the public on Saturday, September 26 for the 74th annual Tour of Homes in Historic Old Town, Alexandria. The tour, sponsored by The Twig, the junior auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital, is expected to raise more than $30,000 for the hospital. While some of this year’s homes are of relatively new construction, others have been transformed from their original use, such as a warehouse or a market. Art collections, antiques, and eye catching interiors will be on display. Several homes also have breath-taking gardens that will also be open for the tour. Advance purchase tickets for the homes tour may now be purchased through September 23, 2015 for $35 per person online via the Twig’s website,www.thetwig.org or at the Ramsay House Visitor’s Center at 221 King Street.
WHAT’S NEW IN HISTORIC ALEXANDRIA
As we wind up the final weeks of summer, the Office of Historic Alexandria reminds residents and visitors to our great city of the following special programs for ACPS students and staff, and the Blue Star Museums collaboration for active-duty military personnel. These programs offer free admission to select museums through Labor Day 2015:

Alexandria City Public Schools!  Now through September 7 all ACPS 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.

Blue Star MuseumWelcome to Blue Star Museums 2015! Blue Star Museums is collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day, May 25, 2015 through Labor Day, September 7, 2015. The following Alexandria museums are participating in the program this summer:

For more information, please on Blue Star Museums visit: http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums#sthash.U2IFIJ5N.dpuf

EVENTS
Art of Ballroom DancingMonday, August 31 – 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 visitgarystephans@me.com or call 703-505-5998.Saturday, September 5 – 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.

Lee-Fendall HouseSaturday, September 5 – Labor at Lee-Fendall House Tours
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
Join a special tour highlighting the labor history of the historic Lee-Fendall House, the home and workplace to numerous free and enslaved laborers, as well as the home of John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, and one of the most powerful and controversial labor leaders in American history. Sections of the house that will be shown on the Labor at Lee-Fendall House tour include the slave quarters, and the downstairs and upstairs portions of the servants’ wing. Advance tickets are priced at $7 per person, and are available through the museum’s Online StoreFREE for LFH Members!Tours will be offered Saturday, September 5 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday, September 6 at 2 p.m. For more information, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

Sunday, September 6 – Labor at Lee-Fendall House Tours
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
Join a special tour highlighting the labor history of the historic Lee-Fendall House, the home and workplace to numerous free and enslaved laborers, as well as the home of John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, and one of the most powerful and controversial labor leaders in American history. Sections of the house that will be shown on the Labor at Lee-Fendall House tour include the slave quarters, and the downstairs and upstairs portions of the servants’ wing. Advance tickets are priced at $7 per person, and are available through the museum’s Online StoreFREE for LFH Members! 2 p.m. For more information, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

Sunday, September 6 – Walk With Washington Tour
Ramsay House Visitor Center, 221 King Street
Take a guided walking tour of locations associated with George Washington in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. Hear interesting vignettes about the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and the nation’s first President. Sponsored by the George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee. Tour is free, but donations to the Committee are accepted. 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.549.9128 or e-mail danny_smith_rpe@msn.com.

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary MuseumSunday, September 6 – 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.

On Exhibit through September 6– 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 visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Freedmen CemeteryNow 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 more 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.

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