This Week in Historic Alexandria (2.7.17) | News Release | City of Alexandria

screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-3-40-15-pmWhat’s New in Historic Alexandria

Payne BrothersDecember 7, 2016 marked the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which officially launched the United States into the Second World War. Among the more than 16 million Americans who served in the military during that conflict were the five Payne brothers, who were born and raised in Alexandria. Fortunately, all five survived the war despite some harrowing experiences, and all five returned to Alexandria to raise families and to participate in the community in many different ways.

To commemorate the anniversary of America’s entry into World War II, The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, has prepared a new online exhibit that traces the unusual story of The Five Payne Brothers and their tremendous service to our country and city.  To view the exhibit, and learn more about this extraordinary local family, please click here.




Wednesday, February 8 – Alexandria Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
Regular monthly meeting. 8 a.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Thursday, February 9 – 2nd Thursday Live: Chuck Mills 
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
The economic and political development of the North and South were so different that only a long, bloody war could create one nation. Chuck Mills walks us through The Civil War Wedding, an entertaining look at the customs and superstitions of love, sex, and marriage during the Civil War era. Free, but reservations are suggested. 7 p.m. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.

Thursday, February 9 – Birthnight Ball Dance Class
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
In preparation for the Birthnight Ball on February 18, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors. Those not familiar with this style of dancing should complete at least one full class to become accustomed to the figures and language for the ball. Tickets are now available at $12 per class. Reservations are recommended. 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Thursday, February 9 – Fort Ward Interpretive Planning Committee Meeting
Lloyd House, 220 North Washington Street
This meeting has been cancelled, the next meeting will be held on Thursday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Friday, February 10 – Verse and Conversation with A.M. Juster
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Hosted by the Common Sense Society of Virginia, A. M. Juster is a two time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. His collection of Petrarch translations, Longing for Laura, was published in a hand-lettered edition by Birch Brook Press in 2001. Juster’s poems and translations have appeared in The Paris Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Formalist, Michigan Quarterly Review, and many other publications. Suggested donation for attending is $20. Lecture begins at 6.30 p.m. with a reception following. For more information call 703.746.4994

Saturday, February 11 – Lecture: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
During the twentieth century, a significant amount of coastal property in the South was home to, and owned by, African Americans. In The Land Was Ours, Andrew W. Kahrl discusses the history of these beaches, and how they transitioned to luxury properties such as resorts and condominiums. Kahrl also reflects on the social, economic, and environmental implications of this redevelopment. Andrew W. Kahrl is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia. Free, but space is limited so reservations by phone are suggested.  11 a.m.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.

Frank Strinfellow and Emma GreenSaturday, February 11 – Love and Romance Between the Lines” Open House
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 North Fairfax Street
The “Who These Wounded Are” exhibit will be open to visitors for free during this open house event. Taste a special historic chocolate treat and come meet Frank Stringfellow and Emma Green to hear about their love and romance that took place between the lines of the North and South in Alexandria during the Civil War. Free! 12 noon to 4 p.m. For further information please visit www.carlylehouse.org or call 703.549.2997.

Sunday, February 11 – Apothecary of Mercy Civil War Tours
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 South Fairfax Street
Explore the themes of PBS’ Mercy Street through the lens of this family-owned Apothecary that stayed in business through Alexandria’s occupation during the Civil War. Tour showcases special archival materials and period ingredients. Recommended for ages 10 and up. $8 per person. 12:15 p.m.  Contact the museum to book a private Apothecary and the Civil War group tour, minimum charges apply. For more information, please call 703.746.4242.

Monday, February 12 – Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee
Alexandria City Hall, Sister Cities Conference Room 1101, 301 King Street
Regular monthly meeting.Free! 7 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4554.

Now on Exhibit through February 19 – Surreal
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Marisa White and Julie Belton’s photographs create magically surreal tableaux. Peter Stern’s aerial photographs capture the graphic beauty of the landscape from above. Free! 4 p.m. 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 – Shield of Earth:  Defending the Heart of the Union 
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road
This new exhibition that features objects, photographs and documents from the Fort Ward Museum collection related to the Defenses of Washington.  The exhibition covers both the formidable task of building the defense system, which made the Federal capital one of the most protected cities in the world, and some of the men who were assigned to duty in the Washington area.   Highlights of the exhibition include military passes issued by Provost Marshal’s Office, construction tools, and original photographs of some of Washington’s defenders, including a profile of Francis E. Brainerd, a soldier in the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery who was stationed at Fort O’Rourke, not far from the present-day site of the Huntington Metro Station.  Items related to how the forts protected Washington’s vital transportation resources are also featured, such as a ship’s lantern, rail section from the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and colored lithograph of Soldier’s Rest in Alexandria.  Several original drawings of forts by soldiers stationed at those sites are on view, and a construction report dated February 1865 details work projects such as completion of new officers’ quarters at Fort Ward.  Other unique items featured are a sketch showing where President Lincoln came under fire during the Battle of Fort Stevens, a field desk belonging to an officer in the 107th New York Infantry, and an 1862 map of the Defenses of Washington published by the engineer E.G. Arnold.   The exhibition will continue through 2017. 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 visit www.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.

Now 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.

Before the Spirits Are Swept AwayNow on Exhibit – Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings 
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street 
This exhibition, featuring 20 of Sherry Sanabria’s African American historic site paintings, is made possible by the Sanabria family, who generously donated 23 of her paintings to the Alexandria Black History Museum. Sherry, who had a studio at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, passed away in 2014.  Her family has made it their mission to find homes for her paintings where they will be appreciated and preserved. This incredible donation permits museum staff to use the paintings to explore slavery, interpretation, and preservation of African American sites in Virginia. These paintings are part of Sanabria’s “Sites of Conscience” series, which has as its focus African American heritage, prisons, concentration camps, and mental hospitals. The Sites of Conscience series takes viewers to places of horror, places of pain and suffering, places we want to forget, but never should.

Robert Sanabria, Sherry’s husband, feels this series “… demonstrates the widespread practice of bondage in the American South and the determination of the enslaved to survive and maintain their connection with their creator. It is especially fortuitous to have these works together where they will be valued and available for the appreciation of generations to come….” 
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed.  Free, but donations are appreciated. 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

Saint Paul's Episcopal Church

On February 9, 1862, the Reverend Kensey J. Stewart of Alexandria’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, omitted the traditional prayer for the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, during the litany.  He was quickly challenged by a Union officer who requested to hear the prayer, but the Rector ignored the demand and moved on with the service.  To the shock of churchgoers, the officer had him immediately arrested, removed from the pulpit and detained in Union custody.  Rev. Stewart was quietly released the following day.

On Sale Now

Cherry Blossoms

On Saturday, March 11, the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society proudly presents the Best Bib & Tucker Ball 2017: Cherry Blossom Ball! For a night of unforgettable reverie, come join Doc Scantlin’s Imperial Palms Orchestra and the dazzling songstress, Chou Chou, for dancing and entertainment. Delight in koto music from Sachiko Smith. Enjoy sumptuous cuisine, copious libations, and a fabulous silent auction. $150 per person. Additional sponsorship levels available. For tickets and more information, please visit Gadsby’s Tavern Museum


City Museums and Historic Sites

Other Historic Sites and Resources


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