About Town / News

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 28, 1946, just days after issuing a pardon to a turkey at the White House, President and Mrs. Harry S. Truman attended Thanksgiving Day church services at Alexandria’s Christ Church.  Presidential visits to Christ Church have been a longstanding tradition for over two centuries, begun on July 4, 1793 when George Washington first attended services there as President of the United States.
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.
Mercy StreetRecently, a premiere of the new PBS television series, Mercy Streettook place on consecutive nights in both Washington, D.C. and Alexandria. The new show, which will air on Sunday, January 17, 2016, in the timeslot just after the last season episodes of Downton Abbey, is a fictionalized version of a Civil War-era hospital that once stood on North Fairfax Street in  Alexandria. Known as the Mansion House Hospital, the structure was first built in 1848, across the front yard of the former home of town founder John Carlyle, as an elegant hotel built by Alexandria furniture maker James Green.  Due to its massive size and large dumb-waiter that could serve as a patient elevator, the hotel was appropriated by Union authorities early in the war to treat wounded and sick soldiers from Virginia battlefields.

Although the series is not a documentary, great care was taken to replicate the appearance of Alexandria in the early 1860’s and to include actual facts and people important to telling the story of the longest Southern city to be occupied by the Union Army during the war.  Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) and Carlyle House staff assisted the producers with developing and evaluating the historical record, and OHA’s Alexandria Black History Museum Director Audrey Davis served as a historical consultant on the project.  After the first evening’s premier showing in Washington, Davis participated in a panel discussion with the cast and producers of the show, moderated by the legendary Ken Burns, producer of PBS’s award-winning documentary The Civil War.

Monday, November 23 – 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.Turkey TrotThursday, November 26 – 40th Annual Alexandria Turkey Trot  
George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mount Vernon Avenue

A Thanksgiving morning tradition, the 40th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot is the city’s premiere Turkey Trot. With over 6,000 runners, as well as stroller and dog divisions the Turkey Trot is a great way to start your Thanksgiving morning. There are fees associated with this event. 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For fees and more information, please click here or call 703.258.4516.

Tree Lighting CeremonyFriday, November 27 – Tree Lighting Ceremony 
Market Square, 301 King Street
An official City event to open the holiday season during which the City tree is lit and featuring a visit by Santa. Program includes welcome by the Town Crier, the Mayor and other City Officials and a performance by Encore Stage & Studio Children’s Theatre. Children may visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus following the tree lighting and everyone is invited to a performance at the tree by the Alexandria Singers. Free! 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, please visit click here or call 703.746.5592.

Children's Book ReadingSaturday, November 28 – Children’s Book Reading 
Market Square, 301 King Street
KeeKee’s Big Adventures is coming back to the market on Saturday, November 28! We will be celebrating this wonderful children’s book (written by a local Alexandrian!) with a coloring activity, fun photo-op and a book reading on the market stage. Free! 9 to 11:30 a.m. For more information please call 703.746.3200.

Saturday, November 28 – Small Business Saturday
Market Square, 301 King Street
Join us Saturday, November 28th as we celebrate Small Business Saturday at the Old Town Farmers’ Market! We will have t-shirt and tote bag giveaways, as well as wonderful local vendors where you can pick up anything you might need on your holiday shopping list. Free! 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.3200.

Saturday, November 28 – Art Uniting People – Fourth Exhibition Opening
Dr. Oswald Durant Memorial Center, 1605 Cameron Street
Join us for the fourth and final exhibit of this year’s art exhibition, Art Uniting People: Celebrating Recovery, Creativity and Mental Health. The exhibition is presented each year to reduce stigma and foster understanding by engaging the Alexandria community in a conversation about each person’s uniqueness and the commonality we all share. The exhibit presents the work of those whose lives have been affected by mental illness, addiction and developmental disabilities. This exhibition, which runs through March 11, 2016, is the last of four. Free! 6 to 10 p.m.  For more information on this event, please click here.

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 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.

War of 1812Now 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 www.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

%d bloggers like this: