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This Week in Historic Alexandria (10.24.16) | Newsletter | City of Alexandria

 

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What’s New in Historic Alexandria

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-1-44-11-pmThe Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation has established the Bill Fendall Trust as an endowment for ongoing support of the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. William Gray (Bill) Fendall passed away on October 10, 2014, designating the Lee-Fendall as the sole beneficiary of his estate.

“Thanks to a generous gift, the Bill Fendall Trust provides a means to plan for capital expenditures through growth over time and build reserves to meet those future needs as they arise,” observed Dr. Patricia Sanders, President of the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation. “With long-term sustainability assured, the Lee-Fendall is at last, after 40 years of operations, in a position to mount a credible capital campaign to address deferred maintenance and make facility improvements.”

The Lee-Fendall is a showcase of American history. Since its construction in 1785, the house has served as home to thirty-seven members of the Lee family (1785-1903), hundreds of convalescing Union soldiers during the American Civil War (1863-1865), Alexandria’s locally prominent Downham family (1903-1937), and one of our nation’s most controversial and significant 20th century labor leaders, John L. Lewis (1937-1969). Today, the house interprets changes in American life from the 18th through the 20th centuries through the lives of the families that lived there. The museum receives no public funding to support its mission of preserving and interpreting the Lee-Fendall House.

Bill Fendall was a descendant of John Fendall, the older brother of Philip Richard Fendall who had the Lee-Fendall House built. Philip Fendall served with the American delegation to France during the Revolutionary War and was an early Alexandria civic leader. Bill Fendall grew up in Oregon. After his graduation from the University of Oregon, Bill joined the United States Air Force, served in the Pacific during World War II, and received a Purple Heart for his actions in the Korean War. Upon retirement from military service, Bill and his wife, Frances Elizabeth (Bette), returned to Oregon.  Bill and Bette are buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Bill was a long-time member of the Society of the Lees of Virginia and was a regular donor to the Lee-Fendall House. After the death of John L. Lewis, Bill and Bette considered purchasing the structure. That did not occur, but Bill continued to think affectionately of the Lee-Fendall House, as evidenced by his bequest.

“This endowment will not alleviate the necessity to continually raise funds for the operating expenses of the House and Garden,” explained Dr. Sanders. “What it does is significantly help to ensure that Lee-Fendall’s historic and educational mission can endure.”

To meet long-term needs, the principal of the Bill Fendall Trust will be invested conservatively for growth with the guidance of a professional money manager.

About Lee-Fendall
The Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden is a family home in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. The historic home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for state significance and the Virginia Landmarks Register, and is a documented contributing feature to the National Historic Landmark District of Alexandria, Virginia. The property is now owned and operated by the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation and run as a museum to preserve the architectural and historic value of the house and gardens and to spread knowledge and appreciation for Virginian and American history. To learn more, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or www.facebook.com/leefendallhousemuseum/.

 


Events

Monday, October 24 – 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. For more information, please visit garystephans@me.com or call 703.505.5998.

Tuesday, October 25 – Lecture: Can’t We Get Along?
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street 
While many people look back to the “good old days” when everyone got along, it is interesting to note that over time Washington completely severed his relationship with five famous Virginians. In this lecture, the focus will be on James Madison and James Monroe. Professor Peter Henriques will examine these breaks and see if there is a common thread between them. Tickets are priced at $12 per person or $10 for Society members and volunteers. 7:30 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

USCT soldiersWednesday, October 26 – Lecture: What a Photograph Tells Us 
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Learn how Charles Joyce traced the history of Francis Snow’s historical photograph of United States Colored Troops at L’Ouverture Hospital in Alexandria. Images of USCT soldiers are uncommon and, remarkably, each man is identified on the back of this particular albumen photograph. The names provide an unusual opportunity to determine what happened to the men after the Civil War. Alexandria Historical Society members admitted free; non-members $5. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information call 703.746.4994, or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Thursday, October 27 – Veterans Ball Dance Class 
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street 
In preparation for the Veterans Ball on November 12, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors. Tickets are priced per person at $12 per class or $30 for the series. 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.  For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Mourning with BodySaturday, October 29 – Ghosts and Grief Tour
Lee-Fendall House and Gardens, 614 Oronoco Street
Celebrate Halloween with a look at Victorian mourning traditions coupled with stories of supernatural encounters at the Lee-Fendall House.  Learn more about the rituals and customs behind our modern day funeral practices.  Customs such as draping the mirrors, how long a widow would mourn for her husband or children, social expectations and dress will be explored.  Tickets are available in advance for $7 through the museum’s Online Store, or for $10 at the door. LFH Members are admitted free! Tours are at 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m.  For more information, please visit www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

Poe in AlexandriaSunday, October 30 – Poe in Alexandria
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Come to The Lyceum – Alexandria’s History Museum for two unforgettable Halloween evenings with America’s earliest master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe! Actor David Keltz returns to The Lyceum’s lecture hall to re-create Poe’s visit to Virginia in 1849, shortly before his death. Individual works performed each year vary, but the program always includes a chilling story or two such as “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” or “The Tell-Tale Heart,” along with well-known poems “The Raven” and “El Dorado.” Mr. Keltz’s performance has been lauded by The Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, The Poe Museum in Richmond, and the Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia. Tickets are priced at $15 per person; reservations are required, as space is limited. 8 to 10 p.m. For more information call 703.746.4994, or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Monday, October 31 – Poe in Alexandria
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Come to The Lyceum – Alexandria’s History Museum for two unforgettable Halloween evenings with America’s earliest master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe! Actor David Keltz returns to The Lyceum’s lecture hall to re-create Poe’s visit to Virginia in 1849, shortly before his death. Individual works performed each year vary, but the program always includes a chilling story or two such as “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” or “The Tell-Tale Heart,” along with well-known poems “The Raven” and “El Dorado.” Mr. Kelz’s performance has been lauded by The Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, The Poe Museum in Richmond, and the Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia. Tickets are priced at $15 per person; reservations are required, as space is limited. 8 to 10 p.m. For more information call 703.746.4994, or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

Now on Exhibit through November 6 – Athenaeum Invitational: Oh! The Joy! 
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. 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 – 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 visit 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.

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 www.leefendallhouse.org or call 703.548.1789.

 


This Week in Historic Alexandria

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 1.46.02 PM.pngOn October 27, 1748  a group of citizens petitioned the Virginia House of Burgesses “That a town may be established at Hunting Creek’s Warehouse on Potowmack River.” The legislature approved the request of the group, who soon became known as the town founders of Alexandria, and the new town held its first land auctions for property lots on July 14, 1749.  One condition of the auction was that a structure had to be built on the property within two years of purchase.

 


On Sale Now

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-1-47-27-pmJoin medical toxicologist and amateur apothecary historian Dr. Daniel Goldstein as he discusses his research method and adventures while writing his recently published book,The Historical Apothecary Compendium. His book is a comprehensive, illustrated handbook covering apothecary bottles and other pharmaceutical and medical paraphernalia likely to appear in North America and the United Kingdom from early Colonial times through approximately 1920. A reception and book signing will follow the event to be held at The Lyceum on Wednesday, November 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $10 per person.  For more information please call 703.746.3852.


City Museums and Historic Sites

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