On August 92, 1795, the Alexandria Council purchased land on the western edge of the city, along South Payne Street, to create the Penny Hill Cemetery, a burial ground for indigent paupers and the poor. Years later, Freedmen who died during the first two years of the Civil War (1861-1863) are thought to have been buried at Penny Hill, prior to establishment of the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery. Unfortunately, most tombstones at the early burial ground have deteriorated or vanished. Today, only eleven scattered grave stones remain.
What’s New in Historic Alexandria
The fiscal year for 2017 ended for the City of Alexandria on June 30 and although all numbers are not yet confirmed, it was clearly a record-breaking year for the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA.) OHA facilities and programs were attended by nearly 210,000 visitors, an increase of over 15,000 guests from 2016, and web visits to www.alexandriava.gov/historic were nearly double that number. Surveys indicated that 96% of visitors felt they had gained real value from their visit to OHA facilities, and similar results were achieved in the delivery of on-time public records requests and the administration of development review projects in Alexandria that adhere to regulations protecting archaeological and historic sites of importance. OHA volunteers logged 17,524 hours of donated time to the department, valued at a savings of $533,461 in labor costs to city taxpayers. Including the value of volunteer labor, the department also developed $2,027,414 in non-general fund (taxpayer) support, with grants, gifts, donations, retail and site rental revenues in support of the department’s budget of $3,127,308. This year marked the department’s highest percentage ever in sustaining the OHA general fund budget, at the rate of nearly 65%.
|Thursday, August 24 – Lecture: History of the Athenaeum with Meredith Barber
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street
Meredith Barber is a local historian and undergraduate at William and Mary. Through research at the National Archives, she has discovered previously unknown history during the Athenaeum’s Civil War era including its employment as a logistics center by the Union Army. Tickets are priced at $5 per person for non-members. Free for NVFAA members, please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.nvfaa.org or call 703.548.0035.Saturday, August 26 – Lecture: Historically African American Leisure
Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe Street
From the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, African Americans in the Washington, D.C. area sought leisure destinations where they could relax without the burden of racial oppression. Local picnic parks such as Eureka and Madre’s were accessible by streetcars. Black-owned steamboats ferried passengers seeking sun and sand to places like Collingwood Beach, and African American families settled into quiet beach-side communities along the Western Shore of Maryland. Author and public historian Patsy M. Fletcher reveals the history behind Washington’s forgotten era of African American leisure.
Patsy Fletcher is a consultant in the field of historic preservation and community development through her company Training, Historical Research and Economic Development (THREAD, LLC). As a preservationist, she has aided in documenting and publishing histories of wards in the District. As a historian, she has contributed to the documentary Master Builders of the Nation’s Capital as well as The Economics of Historic Preservation and the Biographical Dictionary of African American Architects, 1865-1945. Free! The event is appropriate for all ages. 11 a.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4356.
Saturday, August 26 – Guided House Tour: Under the Same Roof- Enslaved and Free Servants at the Lee-Fendall House
Sunday, August 27 – Gadsby’s Tavern Museum’s Family Tours
Sunday, August 27 – In Concert: Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association
Now on Exhibit through September 17 – Seduction | Leslie Nolan
Now on Exhibit – Shield of Earth: Defending the Heart of the Union
Now on Exhibit – Relics to be Removed
Now on Exhibit – Centennial of the Everyday
Now on Exhibit – Costumes of Mercy Street
Now on Exhibit – Alexandrians Fight the Great War
Now on Exhibit – Before the Spirits are Swept Away: African American Historic Site Paintings
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
On Sale Now
In preparation for the Jane Austen Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum on September 23, on three preceding Thursdays, September 7, 14 and 21, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors. Classes are priced at $12 per class or $30 for the series of three, and reservations can be made online.
City Museums and Historic Sites
- Office of Historic Alexandria
- Alexandria Archaeology Museum
- Alexandria Black History Museum
- Archives and Records Center
- Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
- Friendship Firehouse
- Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
- The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum
- Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum