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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 Historic Alexandria
Surrender at Yorktown

On October 19, 1781, after eight years of conflict, British General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia and the American colonies finally secured their freedom from Great Britain. Failing to achieve a final victory in the northeast or the middle colonies, the British concentrated more of their efforts in the South. In early 1781, a British army led by the turncoat Benedict Arnold took Richmond and Portsmouth and routed the Virginia militia under the Baron von Steuben. Lord Cornwallis arrived with another army in May and insisted that Virginia should be the main theater of war. Major General Sir Henry Clinton refused to send reinforcements to Cornwallis but ordered him to remain to establish a base. As Cornwallis’s men dug in atYorktown, the Americans and French decided to capitalize on their temporary numerical advantage and attack. As the Americans traveled southward before their Yorktown victory, thousands of soldiers camped in a large area just north of Oronoco Street in Alexandria along what is now called theWashington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.
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Port City Brewery - "Long Black Veil"

Join us on Friday, October 30, for Poe in Alexandria, a great Alexandria Hallowe’en tradition at The Lyceum! Actor David Keltz will portray one of Edgar Allan Poe’s 19th century speaking engagements, including literary criticism, short stories, poetry, and musings.Tickets are priced at $30 per person and are available now.  Please call 703.746.4994 for further information.
WHAT’S NEW IN HISTORIC ALEXANDRIA
Parker Gray markerAlexandria’s newest historical marker was dedicated this past Saturday, October 17, in the 1200 block of Madison Street.  Dozens of former graduates from the two Parker-Gray High School buildings turned out for a ceremony marking the site of the second school, once located at 1207 Madison Street, but also paid tribute to the first school, built in 1920 for African American pupils in grades 1 through 8.  In 1932, that school on Wythe Street (now the location of the Charles Houston Recreation Center) added upper grades allowing students to attend high school in Alexandria rather than traveling to the District of Columbia. Despite the segregated status of the two Parker-Gray High School buildings, the love, camaraderie and positive memories shared between those who attended the dedication on Saturday was nothing short of remarkable. Former students, dressed to the nines, talked about their amazing teachers and staff at the schools who provided not just an education, but valued life lessons in how to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams with faith and dignity. Although no longer standing, the two school buildings remain in their hearts as an amazing legacy in the history of Alexandria and it is hope that the new marker will help inspire generations of students yet to come.  2015 is the 50th anniversary of the last graduating class of Parker Gray, named for educators John Parker and Sarah Gray.
EVENTS
Monday, October 19 – Alexandria Sister Cities 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.

Monday, October 19 – Pubic Records Advisory Commission
City Hall, 301 King St., Sister Cities Conference Room 1102
Regular monthly meeting, Free! 7:30 p.m. Please call 703-746-4753 for more information.

Tuesday, October 20 – Historic Alexandria Resources Commission
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
Regular monthly meeting, Free! 7:30 p.m. Please call 703-746-4554 for more information.

Wednesday, October 21 – Alexandria Archaeological Commission
Torpedo Factory Arts Center, 105 North Union Street, Suite 327
Regular monthly meeting, Free! 7 p.m. Please call 703-746-4399 for more information.

Friday, October 23 – 2nd Annual Hallowe’en Pumpkin Hunt!
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
Sorry, the October 23 Pumpkin Hunt is SOLD OUT! Please see Saturday, October 24 entry below for additional Pumpkin Hunt times.

Carlyle HouseSaturday, October 24 – 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? Join a special guided public tour to view a personalized, behind the scenes tour of the Carlyle House mansion with the Curator Helen Wirka.  Ms. 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 priced at $20 per person. Service fees apply if tickets are purchased online. There is a maximum capacity of 10 people per tour, and tickets may sell out. 10 a.m. For more information, please contactcarlyle@nvrpa.org or call 703-549-2997. 

Saturday, October 24 – Firefighting in Civil War Alexandria Walking Tour
Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 South Alfred Street
When Virginia joined the Confederacy, Union troops occupied Alexandria and most municipal functions were assumed by the U.S. Army. The We’ve Been Burned: Alexandria Firefighters During the Civil War walking tour will explore firefighting during the Union occupation. Were firefighters allowed out after curfew? What happened to the firehouses and equipment? These burning questions and more will be answered as tour participants visit the sites of four of the five fire houses, and learn what happened if there was a fire. The tour is limited to those age 10 and older, and tickets are priced $6 for adults, $4 for ages 10-17.  Reservations are required, as space is limited. 1 p.m. For more information see www.friendshipfirehouse.net or contact the museum by calling 703.746.3891 or 703.746.4994 on weekdays.

Pumpkin HuntSaturday, October 24 – 2nd Annual Hallowe’en Pumpkin Hunt!
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
The Lee-Fendall House will observe its 2nd Annual Halloween Pumpkin Hunt on the evenings of October 23-24! Alexandria’s ghosts and goblins will fill our garden with hundreds of colorful toy-filled pumpkins for local children to discover! Costumes encouraged! Other activities include crafts to take home; a sticker station; temporary tattoos; refreshments; spooky stories; costume parade with prizes; and EVERY participating child will receive a pumpkin! Also, ONE pumpkin in each of our pumpkin hunt sessions will have a certificate for a special prize hidden inside! All children of elementary school age or younger are eligible to participate in the Pumpkin Hunt. Older children and adults are welcome to enjoy all our other activities. Tickets are priced $12 for children age 1-12 ($10.00 Friends of Lee-Fendall House); $5 for ages 13+ (FREE Friends of Lee-Fendall House).  Click here to purchase tickets online and for detailed reservation policies and information. 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. (Please note: October 23 Pumpkin Hunt is SOLD OUT!) For more information, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

Saturday, October 24 – 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? Join a special guided public tour to view a personalized, behind the scenes tour of the Carlyle House mansion with the Curator Helen Wirka.  Ms. 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 priced at $20 per person. Service fees apply if tickets are purchased online. There is a maximum capacity of 10 people per tour, and tickets may sell out. 10 a.m. For more information, please contact carlyle@nvrpa.org or call 703-549-2997.

Saturday, October 24 – 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.

Battle of AgincourtSunday, October 25 – 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
October 25th, St. Crispin’s Day, is the 600th Anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. Oxford University Society, DC Chapter hosts a screening of Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 film Henry V. Historian Ed Furgol will discuss Henry V, and the importance and historical significance on Agincourt. Free! 1 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Sunday, October 25 – Mad Science!
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
What do super heroes, crazy animals, and explosions have in common? A mad scientist probably made them! Come to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum to explore where real science and mad science collide. 45 minute tours start every 30 minutes and feature historic medicines with surprising side effects. Upstairs, meet the Museum’s very own mad scientist bringing to life some crazy concoctions and the science behind them. Girl Scout and Boy Scout groups welcome (program almost completes the Brownie Home Scientist badge). Troops must have 2 adults; max. of 16 people per group. Tickets are priced at $6 per person ages 5 and up. 1 p.m. For more information, please contactwww.apothecarymuseum.org or call 703-746-3852.

Ballroom DancingMonday, October 26 – 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 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 www.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 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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