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This Week in Historic Alexandria 9.21.16 | Newsletter | City of Alexandria


Tuesday, September 20 – Historic Alexandria Resources Commission 
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
Regular monthly meeting. Free. 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.Wednesday, September 21 – Alexandria Archaeological Commission 
Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 North Union Street, Suite 327
Regular monthly meeting. Free. 7 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4399.

Friendship FirehouseSaturday, September 24 – 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. Best for ages 10 and up. Tickets are priced at $6 for Adults, $4 for ages 10-17; and reservations are required. 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, please visitwww.alexandriava.gov/FriendshipFirehouse or call 703.746.4994 on weekdays; or 703.746.3891 on weekends.

Sunday, September 25 – Athenaeum Invitational: Oh! The Joy! Reception
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street 
The Athenaeum Invitational celebrates the arts. It is an annual theme-based event featuring works of both specially invited artists and works selected through a call for submission. The 2016 theme asks artists to select on a moment of pure joy–inspired by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Opening Reception and exhibit is sponsored by TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Free! 4 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Monday, September 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! Class fee is $15 per session, Basic or Advanced Techniques, attend both sessions for best results. To register for either or both sessions, click here. Basic Techniques class is 7 to 7:45 p.m.  Advanced Techniques is 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. Free practice session from 8:30 to 9 p.m. To register, click here. For more information, please visit garystephans@me.com or call 703.505.5998.

Now on Exhibit – Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier  
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
See “What’s New” segment above. Free! Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.   For more information, please call 703.746.4848 or visitwww.fortward.org.

Now on Exhibit – Hotel vs. Hospital
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street 
Learn the story of the fine hotel industry in Alexandria and how it quickly changed after the Civil War began. The City Hotel (today part of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum at 134 North Royal Street) was the only major hotel in Alexandria to remain open during the entirety of the war.  The two other fine hotels in town, Mansion House (transformed into a massive Civil War hospital) and Marshall House (site of the first Northern and Southern deaths due to violence in the Civil War), had closed. Guests will discover how tavern keeper Samuel Heflebower was able to remain in business as he catered to the new customers arriving in Alexandria.
For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Mansion HouseNow on Exhibit – Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street
Come see the site that inspired Mercy Street, the new PBS’ series inspired by real events that took place at Carlyle House. The six-episode program revolves around the doctors, nurses, and patients of Mansion House Hospital, a former luxury hotel owned by James Green, a prominent Alexandria businessman who resided in Carlyle House.

James Green purchased Carlyle House and the adjacent Bank of Alexandria in 1848. While living in Carlyle House with his family, he converted the Bank Building into the successful Mansion House Hotel. The hotel thrived, and Green expanded it in the 1850s. In November of 1861, the Union Army took over both the hotel and the mansion, turning the hotel into a hospital and the house into doctor and officer housing. The new exhibit recreates the days of Union occupation and tells the true stories of those who lived and worked here during the war. This is where Mercy Street really happened.  Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. For further information please visit www.carlylehouse.org or call 703.549.2997.

Now on Exhibit – The Lyceum:  175 Years of Local History
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
This new exhibition highlights the history of The Lyceum, as well as its role today as a place for exploring Alexandria’s past.  On view in the museum’s Coldsmith Gallery, the historical objects and images featured represent The Lyceum, the community at work, and commemorations and celebrations.  Throughout the exhibition, visitors are invited to “be the curator” and think about why the various artifacts are in museum’s collection, and about how these tangible representatives of the past help tell the story of Alexandria’s history.

Museum visitors can also explore artifacts relating to commemorating or celebrating something important in someone’s life, or that serve as a memento representing an organization, business, or event.  For example, five World War II service medals from a local soldier are on view, as well as a china pitcher promoting William Henry Harrison’s campaign for the presidency, and a colorful hand-worked quilt commemorating the Bicentennial of the American Revolution in 1976.  The Lyceum: 175 Years of Local History includes a variety of items providing a glimpse into different types of work in Alexandria since the community was founded in the 18th century.  Objects range from circa 1796 wares marked by Alexandria silversmith Adam Lynn, a circa 1880 dresser manufactured by James F. Muir and Brothers, to a collage of original photographs – circa 1970 — documenting the Alexandria, Barcroft & Washington Rapid Transit Company.

Open Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.   For more information call 703.746.4994, or see www.alexandriahistory.org.

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 am to 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Gen. Robert E. LeeNow 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.


City Museums and
Historic Sites
Other Historic Sites and Resources
This Week in Historic Alexandria

Jones Point Lighthouse

On September 19, 1953, Federal authorities approved of Alexandria’s acquisition of Jones Point. Once a long peninsula of land occupied by a rope walk, in the early 20th century a large area adjacent to the lighthouse was filled with dredge spoil to make way for the Virginia Shipbuilding Company during World War I.  Later in the early 1930’s, author Vivian McMahon acquired the industrial parcel where she hoped to create what would have been the first American theme park named, “The Children’s Capital of the Nation” focused on her book series, The Baseball Twins. However, just after starting construction, the Federal government condemned the site for a secret communications facility which closed in 1952.
On Sale Now

Civil War Nurse

Margaret Irwin had long heard family stories about an ancestor who had learned nursing from Florence Nightingale. In 1955, her mother showed her Anne Reading’s handwritten journal for the first time and, fifty years later, she had it published. “The Journal of Anne Reading” documents this amazing woman’s early training and work in the Crimea with Nightingale, her later service in the Mansion House Hospital here in Alexandria during the Civil War, and some of her life after the war. On Wednesday, October 5, at 7:30 p.m., Margaret Irwin will discuss Anne’s life dressed as a Civil War nurse, and will sign copies of her book following the program. Tickets are priced at $5 per person and reservations are required.  For more information, please call 703.746.4994.

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