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
Thanksgiving Celebration

On November, 16, 1853, Mayor John Muir designated that eight days thereafter, on Thursday, November 24, Alexandria would observe a day of Thanksgiving, celebrating the continued growth and unlimited bounty of America and the prosperity of Alexandria in the mid-19th century that rivaled the port with other trading cities in the Mid-Atlantic region.
On Sale Now
Candlelight Tour

Enjoy Alexandria’s heritage by participating in three centuries of holiday cheer! Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours, the city’s premier historic holiday event, blends history, food, and drink through special tastings, seasonal decorations, period music and tours highlighting festive traditions. Tour Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House, The Lloyd House and Lee-Fendall House. Special seasonal libations may be purchased along the tour! Tour any time from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, or 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 13. Please allow 1.5 – 2 hours to tour all four sites. The sites may be visited in any order and stationed guides will be present at each location. A free shuttle will be provided running in a continuous loop between the sites. Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (ages 65 and older) and active military members, and $5 for children (ages 6-17) and can be purchased online. Additional adult beverages will be available for purchase at select sites.
Fort Ward Management PlanOn January 24, 2015, the Alexandria City Council approved the “Fort Ward Management Plan” to provide strategic guidance for the management and preservation of significant resources and features within Fort Ward Park. One recommendation included in the plan is for the City’s Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) to formally invite key stakeholders from the greater Alexandria community to assist with the development of an interpretive plan for the park that identifies important themes and stories associated with the park and to recommend programs that explaining the meaning of the park’s unusual cultural, historic and natural resources.  This new committee will replace OHA’s Fort Ward History Work Group which previously assisted with historical research on the park that supported development of the Management Plan.

Specifically, the work of this new committee will be to identify the significant themes, stories and features associated with the cultural, historic and natural resources of the park;  to assist the City in  selecting  an appropriate consultant to prepare and develop an educational  philosophy and plan that will  enhance public understanding of the park’s broad range of resources; and to guide development of the plan in support of a broad-based program of creative and engaging educational techniques.

OHA is soliciting eleven members from the greater Alexandria community to serve on this this new committee, comprised of representatives in the following organizations or recognized experts in the following professional fields: an expert on the American Civil War;  an expert of the “Defenses of Washington” system of forts and batteries which protected the nation’s capital during the Civil War; a member of the Friends of Fort Ward non-profit organization; a  member of the Fort Ward and Seminary African American Descendants Society non-profit organization; a descendant  of an individual known to have lived and/or been interred within Fort Ward Park; an expert in African American history and culture (with a desired concentration on the Civil War, Reconstruction and Civil Rights ); a local secondary or post-secondary educator  associated with the fields of anthropology, history or the social sciences; a museum public programming educator, curator or interpretive planning professional; a Northern Virginia natural history expert; and two at large members with an interest and understanding of the unusual history of Fort Ward Park.

The Fort Ward Interpretive Plan Committee will be staffed by the Office of Historic Alexandria and Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, with other City departmental resources brought in as needed. It is expected that the Committee will meet monthly or bi-monthly as necessary, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month, over a period of approximately 12 months, beginning in January 2016.

The membership of the Fort Ward Interpretive Committee will be based on a call for nominations publicized to the community. OHA is now seeking nominations for the above-referenced representatives and/or experts for consideration.   Those interested in serving on the Fort Ward Interpretive Planning Committee should submit a cover letter of introduction and a current resume or biography which supports representation in one of the above listed groups or which demonstrates clear and specific expertise in one of the fields identified.  All nominations should be sent to Nicole Quinn at by December 18, 2015. Nominations may also be mailed to Office of Historic Alexandria, Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

For any questions regarding the nomination process or the new Fort Ward Interpretive Planning Committee, please contact J. Lance Mallamo, Director, Office of Historic Alexandria, at 703.746.4554 or at

Cider WeekFrom November 13 through 22, Celebrate Virginia Cider Week! For a full list of Virginia Cider Week events, including dozens of activities in Alexandria, please visit. or

Monday, November 16 – 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.

Tuesday, November 17 –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.

Cider WorksTuesday, November 17 – “Proper Cider and its Celtic Roots” Lecture
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Charlotte Shelton of Albemarle Ciderworks will be giving a talk at the Lyceum entitled “Proper Cider and its Celtic Roots: From Gaul, Galicia, and Great Britain to America.” This event is sponsored by the Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee and will be followed by cider from Albemarle Ciderworks and cheese. Free, but $5 per person donation is suggested. 7 p.m. For more information, please click here or call 703-746-4994.

Wednesday, November 18 – Alexandria Archaeological Commission
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 220 North Union Street, Suite 327
Regular monthly meeting. Free! 7 to 9 p.m. Please call 703.746.4399 for more information.

Paul Reisler & Three Good Reasons, featuring Marshall Keys and Lea MorrisThursday, November 19 – Paul Reisler & Three Good Reasons featuring Marshall Keys and Lea Morris 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Paul Reisler has written more songs than the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Stephen Foster combined—somewhere north of 3,500 compositions. He’ll be performing with Marshall Keys on sax and vocalist Lea Morris. Reisler was the leader of Trapezoid and is the founder of the Kid Pan Alley. Tickets are priced at $20 per person.7 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.548.0035.


Tom TeaslyFriday, November 20 – World Percussionist Tom Teasley: Drumming Through the Neighborhoods 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Inspired by the diverse population of Alexandria, Tom will present a new work combining the rhythmic languages of Africa, The Middle East, The Far East, India and South America with American jazz and funk. To bring our community together in rhythm, the audience will be encouraged to dance during this concert! A Special Opportunity Grant from the city of Alexandria in part sponsors this program. Tickets are priced at $10 per person. Reservations are recommended. 7 p.m. For more information, please visit  or call 703.548.0035.

Saturday, November 21 – “The General’s Tour”
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
Stroll through historic Old Town on “The General’s Tour,” a guided walking tour of Robert E. Lee sites in that will highlight locations and stories associated with the Confederate general’s life in Alexandria, his hometown from the age of five and residence of his “earliest and oldest friends.” The tour will last approximately 90 minutes. Tickets are available in advance for $10 through the museum’s Online Store, or for $15 at the door. 1 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.548.1789.

Cider TastingSaturday, November 21 – Cider Tasting at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant (main Dining Room), 134 North Royal Street
Celebrate Virginia Cider Week with a special tasting. This event is hosted by the Museum in partnership with the Alexandria-Caen Sister Cities Committee and includes cider tastings, music, and light refreshments. During the course of the evening, learn more about the growing Virginia cider industry and its connection to the historic tavern and the Caen region of France, all while enjoying ciders from Albemarle, Blue Bee Cider, Cobbler Mountain Cellars, Corcoran, and Foggy Ridge Cideries.

While Virginia wineries have made headlines the past few years, Virginia cider is beginning to move into the spotlight, with sales up 200% from 2014 to 2015. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called the cider industry the “new shining star” and sees it as one of the cornerstones in the private sector “to build a new Virginia economy.”

The Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee is a volunteer committee that promotes educational and cultural exchange between the city of Caen in Normandy, France and the City of Alexandria. The committee hosts a lecture series, coordinates an annual commemoration of D-Day, organizes and facilitates student and intern exchange programs, and offers French classes and storytimes at various locations around Alexandria. The Committee is partnering with the Office of Historic Alexandria, a City of Alexandria department whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for City residents and visitors by preserving and interpreting Alexandria’s historic properties, archaeological sites, cultural resources, artifact collections, objects, archives, records, and personal stories, and by encouraging audiences to appreciate Alexandria’s diverse historic heritage and its place within the broader context of American history. Tickets are priced at $45 per person. 7 to 9:30 p.m.  For more information, please visit or call 703.746.4242.Monday, November 22 – Public Records Advisory Commission
City Hall, 301 King St., Sister Cities Conference Room 1102
Regular monthly meeting, Free! 7 p.m. Please call 703.746.4753 for more information.

Now on Exhibit  – Mike McConnell 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Mike McConnell was a successful commercial illustrator who recently dedicated himself to fine art. His work is complex, fun, and often witty. 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.

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 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

%d bloggers like this: