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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Gadsby's Tavern Museum
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Page updated Sep 5, 2013 9:00 AM

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Ice Well Restoration Project

Restoration Project

The goals of the ice well restoration project are to preserve the historic feature and improve the visitor’s ability to experience the ice well. A restoration team, including the museum director, preservation architects, and engineers, created a design that addressed both these points. 

Approved by the City’s Board of Architectural Review, the design will stabilize the ice well’s interior, reduce moisture accumulation, and improve the ventilation of the space.  During the planning process, great attention was paid to improving a visitor’s ability to access, view, and understand the rarity and historical importance of the feature.  New viewing windows will be designed to open so that guests can feel the cool air from the ice well’s interior. Open-plan seating will provide an inviting atmosphere to those walking by day or night. New engraved signage will explain the significance of the ice well in the tavern's heyday and the role it played in creating a pleasurable experience for many of the travelers visiting Alexandria at the turn of the 19th-century.  The entire project will be completed within the current footprint of the present-day ice well viewing area.

Project Schedule & Funding

The project is solely funded by private donations and grant monies.  No city money will be used in this project.  The entire ice well restoration project has been divided into five phases:

Phase I - Develop design options for the restoration and preservation of the historic Ice Well.  (Completed, March 2008; Funded by the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society).

Phase II – Fully develop one design, with cost estimates, and work with the different agencies of City of Alexandria government to meet the proper code and safety requirements.  (Completed January 2009; Funded by a variety of grants and the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society).

Phase III – Receive final approval to proceed from the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review.  Create the construction documents, perform the appropriate structural and engineering tests, submit permit requests, and prepare a cost estimate for the proposal.  (Completed July 2010; Funded by grants and the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society)

Phase IV + V – Implementation of the restoration; Fabricate and install appropriate ice well signage. (Completed August 2013; 80% funding secured.)

The following foundations and organizations have provided financial assistance for this project:

  • Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society
  • General Assembly Appropriation, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • CLG Grant, Commonwealth of Virginia 
  • Save America’s Treasures Grant, National Park Service
  • 1772 Foundation
  • Roller-Bottimore Foundation
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Alexandria Association
  • Historic Alexandria Foundation
  • Private donations

Gadsby's Tavern Museum
134 N. Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Fax: 703.838.4270

Tour Hours:
November to March:
Wednesday - Saturday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday, Closed
Last tour at 3:45 p.m.

April to October:
Tuesday - Saturday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday and Monday
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Last tour at 4:45 p.m.

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
by appointment