This Week in Historic Alexandria (8.17.17) | News Release | City of Alexandria

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This Week in Alexandria History

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.29.02 PMOn August 19, 1890, a new bridge was completed over Hoof’s Run at the western end of King Street.  Long cited for conditions that were nearly impassable in wet weather, the earlier wooden bridge at that location was finally replaced with a sturdier structure to facilitate traffic moving in and out of Alexandria along the Leesburg Pike.  This view of the similar bridge built over Hoof’s Run at Duke Street, is still extant, while the King Street bridge has long been replaced .  Currently Hoof’s Run at that location, adjacent to the Metro station, is fully encased in a concrete conduit below street level, and is marked by a path of white bricks in the nearby King Street Gardens.

What’s New in Historic Alexandria

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.25.30 PM.pngArchaeologists working at the construction site of the former Robinson Terminal South have recently discovered the original remains of The Strand, the historic waterfront street that once cut through this block. As the port town expanded eastward into the river during the late 18th century, this new passageway or road was created to the east of Union Street. Property descriptions from the last decade of the 18th century indicate that a “space of ground” had been created and left open along the water’s edge to facilitate movement along the waterfront. Throughout the 19th and into the 20th century, The Strand cut through this block from between the building at 2 Duke Street and Pioneer Mill, south to where it ended at the intersection with Wolfe Street. By the 1920s, The Strand only extended as far as the end of 2 Duke Street, where it was reduced to a narrow recess between 2 Duke Street and the Robinson Terminal South warehouse in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

In this photograph, archaeologists have just come down onto the top of the southern end of The Strand as it runs into Wolfe Street. Here, the street was paved with flat stones, perhaps as a way to help keep this low-lying, river-adjacent city street from turning into an impassable quagmire (like the one seen here after a summer rainstorm). For an update on this and other recent findings at this site, please click here.


Thursday, August 17 –  Lecture: Experiencing World War I
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into the Great War, Dr. Jennifer Keene asks, “How did ordinary men and women experience World War I?” The Great War meant separation, combat, and loss for millions. Yet for others the war offered a chance for social advancement, adventure, and victory. Americans were part of this global story, experiencing the tragedy and triumph of World War I – a war that few Americans remember.

Jennifer D. Keene is a professor of history and chair of the History Department at Chapman University. She is also the current President of the Society of Military History. She has published three books and numerous articles on the American involvement in the First World War including Doughboys, the Great War and the Remaking of America (2001); World War I: The American Soldier Experience (2011); and The United States and the First World War (2000). In addition, she is the lead author for an American history textbook, Visions of America: A History of the United States that uses a visual approach to teaching students U.S. history. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, including Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards to France and Australia and Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship in International Studies. She has served as an historical consultant for exhibits and films, and was recently featured in the PBS documentary mini-series, The Great War. She is also a general editor for the peer-reviewed “1914-1918-online—International Encyclopedia of the First World War,” a major digital humanities project. Tickets are priced at $10 per person and are available online. 7 to 9 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4994, or visit www.alexandriahistory.org.

photo: Dr. Jennifer Keene

Thursday, August 17 –  An Evening with KaNikki Jakarta: Books and Poetry 
Returning for a second year presentation, come to The Athenaeum for a performance of poetry, an author read and Q&A. Reading from her anticipated non-fiction about how to be a wife of an Epileptic, Honor Your Vows, and Honor Yourself, this event spotlights her poetry and highlights her novels.  Free! 7 p.m. Please RSVP at admin.nvfaa.org.

Friday, August 18 – In Concert:  Karen Ashbrook & Paul Oort 
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street 
To fans of the hammered dulcimer, Karen Ashbrook is a rock star, and she literally wrote the book on the subject: Playing the Hammered Dulcimer in the Irish Tradition. She also plays the wooden flute and pennywhistle, and has performed as a solo artist; with Ceoltoiri, Cabaret Sauvignon, and Pavilion 3; and in hospice settings as a Certified Music Practitioner to comfort the sick and dying. Her husband and musical partner, Paul Oorts, joins her on harp guitar, cittern, mandolin, and musette accordion, often with French music from his native Belgium. He has taught at Pinewoods, Augusta Heritage Center, the Swannanoa Gathering, and other camps and festivals around the United States and in Belgium. Presented by The Folklore Society of Greater Washington, a $15 donation is suggested.  7:30-9:30 p.m.  For more information, please call 703.746.4994.

photo: Gadsby's TavernSunday, August 20 – Gadsby’s Tavern Museum’s Family Tours
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Treat your family to special “Family Tours” led by Junior Docents grades 4-7. Tours included a hands-on activity and the opportunity for children to connect with history through peer tour guides. Admission: $5 adults, $3 children ages 5 to 12, and 4 and under are free. No advance registration required. 2 to 5 p.m. Family tours begin June 25 and end Labor Day weekend. For more information, call 703.746.4242.

Sunday, August 20 – In Concert: Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association Annual Chamber Music Series featuring Randy Ward, cello; Chloe Sunyang Choi, piano. Music by Beethoven, Brahms, & Vaughan Williams. Donations graciously accepted – suggested donation $10. 3 to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 703.799.8229 or visit wmpamusic.org.

photo: abstract figureNow on Exhibit through September 17 – Seduction | Leslie Nolan
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Leslie Nolan’s abstract figurative paintings depict what is felt rather than what is seen. Ambiguity and uncertainty are powerful forces rendered eloquently with bold color and energetic brush work. 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 – Relics to be Removed
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Discover a series of contemporary artistic installations by Baltimore artists Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams tucked in among the historic spaces. Centennial of the Everydayreflects their research on the history of women, enslaved peoples, and nameless citizens whose stories are often overshadowed by other more famous figures from our region.  Using traditional materials but with modern techniques, the artist team illuminate the domestic material culture of the past. This project is part of the Time & Place initiative, which explores the intersection of contemporary art with Alexandria’s rich and multifaceted history and is a partnership of the City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts with the Office of Historic Alexandria.  Open during regular museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, 1 to 5 p.m., and part of regular museum admission: $5 adults, $3 child ages 5 to12. For more information, call 703.746.4242.

Now on Exhibit – Centennial of the Everyday
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 North Royal Street
Many are familiar with the historic ballroom at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, yet the woodwork is a copy; the original is located at Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) in New York City. Relics to be Removed explores the 1917 removal of the historic ballroom and places this decision into a national context. Learn and connect with the story through photos, text and recreated, touchable pieces.  Open during regular museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, 1 to 5 p.m., and part of regular museum admission: $5 adults, $3 child ages 5 to12. For more information, call 703.746.4242.

Now on Exhibit – Costumes of Mercy Street
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
This new exhibition highlights several costumes worn by characters in the PBS series Mercy Street, set in Civil War era AlexandriaOpen Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. 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 – Alexandrians Fight the Great War
The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, 201 South Washington Street
This new exhibition traces the experiences of local people during the first World War. The homes, hospitals, factories and shipyards of wartime Alexandria come back to life through the use of rare images, archival and modern-day video clips, quotes from participants, original objects including weapons, period music, and scale models. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.   For more information call 703.746.4994, or visit

Now 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.

On Sale Now

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.27.38 PMOn Saturday evening, September 23, join with supporters of the Lee-Fendall House for the museum’s annual fundraiser. This year’s affair, Bourbon in the Basement, celebrates the house’s Prohibition history while raising money to preserve the  historic foundations of the house. Enjoy 1920s drinks and jazz music, win great prizes at the silent auction, and celebrate Alexandria’s long-time motto, “Liquid courage is only a step away!”. Attire is creative cocktail, with 1920s period clothing encouraged. Tickets are $50 for general admission, which opens at 7 PM, or at 6 PM for a VIP reception in the basement! Current Lee-Fendall House Museum Members may purchase VIP tickets for the price of general admission. All guests must be 21 years or older to attend. All tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.

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