This Week in Historic Alexandria | News Release | City of Alexandria

This Week in Historic Alexandria
City Museums and
Historic Sites
Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in Historic Alexandria
Grace Episcopal Church

On October 5, 1860 Grace Episcopal Church consecrated its first building on South Patrick Street.  Founded five years earlier by about thirty families, the new congregation met for several years at The Lyceum while funds were raised for the new facility.  But within eight months, the American Civil War began and Alexandria was occupied by Union troops who used the new building for a hospital facility attending to sick soldiers and injured men wounded in Virginia battles.  After the war ended it took decades for Alexandria to recover economically and this affected religious institutions as well. It was not until 1893 that a weekly celebration of the Eucharist, and Choral Eucharist each Sunday, began at Grace Episcopal.  In 1948 a new, larger church building was dedicated at 3601 Russell Road which still serves the Alexandria community today.
On Sale Now
Port City Brewery - "Long Black Veil"

Join with Port City Brewery as we celebrate the release of the “Long Black Veil,” a special craft beer inspired by the famous Female Stranger, who died at Gadsby’s Tavern on October 14, 1816. Be one of the first to taste this beer on the Female Stranger’s death day and visit the room where she died! Doors open at 6 p.m. with special remarks at 7 p.m. and tours throughout the evening. Ticketsare priced at $35 in advance, $45 at the door, and includes one beer, light refreshments, tour, and special Port City glass. Additional beer will be available for purchase through a cash bar.
Josh DewallStop by the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum to see the museum’s new show globes!  These globes were created by a talented glass artist associated with the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Joshua DeWall, shown here with his artisan work.  They are based on two globes that in the museum collection, which are now too fragile to exhibit in the museum windows.  Show globes, the oversized glass bottles that decorated the shop windows of apothecaries in the 18th and 19th centuries, were a common symbol of medicine shops, just like the mortars and pestles that appeared on their shop signs. Pharmacists would fill the show globes with brightly colored liquid to attract the attention of passers-by, often illuminating the bottles from behind. The pear-shape of early show globes originates from the shape of large glass carboys used to ship medicinal liquids. The practice of displaying show globes in pharmacy windows began to wane in the mid-20th century. A symbol whose meaning was once obvious to all, is now all but forgotten.  The creation of the two show globes was generously funded by the Historic Alexandria Foundation.
Monday, October  5 – Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee 
City Hall, 301 King St., Sister Cities Conference Room 1101
Regular monthly meeting, Free! 7 p.m. Please call 703-746-4554 for more information.#ZarbarkThursday, October 8 – Exquisite Corpse: 2nd Thursday Art Night 
Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 North Union Street, Suite 327 
Celebrate Virginia Archaeology Month with a creative evening of ghoulish fun. Take a selfie with our dog skeleton #zarkbark and discover the bare bones behind Zark’s canine burial during Zark Bark: Dog Burial presentation from 7 to 7:15 p.m. Top off your visit with a flourish by participating in the Exquisite Corpse group drawing activity and be amused by the outcome! An Exquisite Corpse illustration evolves as each participant adds to a drawing, while only seeing the end of what the previous person contributed. Free! 6 to 8  p.m.  For more information, please call 703.746.4399.Thursday, October 8 – Second Thursday Live: Ghosts and Folklore of Alexandria
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Alexandria is one of the most haunted cities in the country. Join author/historian Michael Lee Pope for tales of Alexandria’s haunted history. A dessert reception, generously donated by Trader Joes, follows the stories. Tickets are priced at $15 per person. 7 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.548.0035.

Saturday, October 10 –  Civil War Artillery Day 
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
Learn about the life and duties of an artilleryman from re-enactors in the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, a unit that was stationed at Fort Ward during the Civil War. Cannon firing demonstrations, equipment display, and camp life. Program is weather dependent.  Free! 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4848.

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary MuseumSaturday, October 10 – Apothecary Museum Open House
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
In recognition of October’s designation as National Pharmacy Month, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum will host a free open house. Visitors are welcome to enjoy free tours of the museum between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.746.3852.

Saturday, October 10 – 20th Annual Art Safari: Potters’ Art Drawing
Torpedo Factory Arts Center, 105 North Union Street
An Alexandria tradition for 20 years, Art Safari is a free day of hands-on craft activities for kids and families throughout all three floors of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty. Activities are appropriate for school-age children with parental supervision through middle school. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum, located in Studio 327, will host its Potters’ Art hands-on activity, inviting you to create your own drawing, using paint and markers, inspired by 19th-century designs found on Alexandria stoneware pottery. Free! 12 to 4 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4399.

Saturday, October 10 – Firefighting History Walking Tour
Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 South Alfred Street
Mark Fire Prevention Week and explore Alexandria’s firefighting history on the “Blazing a Trail: Alexandria’s Firefighting History” tour. Participants learn about volunteer firefighting in early Alexandria, three devastating fires, and the five volunteer fire companies. The tour begins at the historic Friendship Firehouse, goes east on Prince Street, and returns to Friendship via King Street. The Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774, was the first fire company in Alexandria. Friendship members were volunteers motivated by their concern for the property and well-being of the community. The tour is appropriate for  ages 10 and older. $6 for adults, $4 ages 10-17. Reservations are required, as space is limited. 1 to 2:30 p.m. For more information see  or contact the museum by calling 703.746.3891 on weekends or 703.746.4994 during the week.

Family Dig DaysSaturday, October 10 – Family Dig Days
101 Callahan Drive, on the Grounds of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial
This activity is presented in three parts, beginning with an introduction to the history and archaeology of the Shuter’s Hill Site, followed by a site tour, and finally gathering around the screens to sift through excavated soil collecting artifacts. The bags of artifacts will be sent to the laboratory in the Museum for processing. All the necessary equipment will be furnished, but please wear comfortable clothes, boots or sturdy shoes (no sandals), and bring a water bottle. Individuals and families are welcome. Children under sixteen years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult. $5 fee per person is non-refundable, space is limited and reservations are required. 1:30 to 3 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4399.

Now on Exhibit through October 25 – The Athenaeum Invitational 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
This is a theme-based show with both open call and invited submissions. The theme is Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In”. Jack Rasmussen, Director of the Kazan Art Center at American University will determine the works to win the $1,500 and $1,000 prizes. This exhibit is generously sponsored by TTR | Sotheby’s International Realty. Free! Open Thursday through Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit 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.

Lees of AlexandriaNow 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 visit 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


Leave a Reply