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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Historic Alexandria
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Page updated Oct 22, 2014 8:59 AM

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Next Week in Historic Alexandria


Subscribers to This Week in Historic Alexandria may have noticed a new look to the weekly electronic publication over the last few weeks.  The City of Alexandria has recently revised its E-News communication system that does not allow for the same level of images, graphics or template design previously used, but does allow a number of new features that enhance distribution.  Please bear with us while we continue to explore the capabilities of the new system and adapt content to the new design.  Over the next few weeks, additional changes in the template may be made as we experiment with design revisions. 


Wednesday, October 22 Lecture: “Alexandria's Parker-Gray Historic District

The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street
Alexandria Historical Society lecture; Thirty years ago, the area of Alexandria known as Parker-Gray was designated a Historic District. Bordered on the west by Washington Street, this forty block area extends north to south from First Street to Cameron Street, and east to west from Alfred Street to N. West Street. Catherine Miliaras and Stephanie Sample, both Historic Preservation Planners for the City of Alexandria, will share their expertise on this neighborhood known as “Uptown”. Their presentation – “Alexandria’s Parker-Gray District: Then and Now” will focus on how this area has evolved. Free! 7:30 p.m.  For more information, please visit or call 703.746.4994.

Saturday, October 25 Firefighting in Civil War Alexandria Walking Tour
Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 South Alfred Street

When Virginia joined the Confederacy, Union troops occupied Alexandria and it became a center for transportation, supplies and medicine. Most municipal functions were assumed by the U.S. Army under the authority of the military governor. The “We’ve Been Burned: Alexandria Firefighters During the Civil War” walking tour will explore firefighting during the Union occupation. How were volunteer fire companies treated by Federal authorities? Were firefighters allowed out after curfew? What happened to the firehouses and equipment? These questions will be answered as tour participants visit the sites of four of the five fire houses, and learn what happened if there was a fire in the occupied city. Tickets are priced at $6 for adults; $4 ages 10-17, and can be purchased online or at any Office of Historic Alexandria museum. For age 10 and older.1 to 3 p.m. Advance reservations are required, as space is limited. For more information, please visit  or call 703.746.4994.

Saturday, October 25 Partners for the Arts Vocal Awards Competition
The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street

Partners for the Arts Vocal Awards Competition Semifinals, open to the public for their enjoyment.  Free! 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.241.5496.


Saturday, October 25 Alexandria Archaeology's Family Dig Days
George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Callahan Drive

Help City archaeologists screen excavated soil from a real dig on the grounds of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial! Children under 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult. Space is limited and reservations are required. $5 per person, fee is non-refundable.  Upon receipt of full payment, slots are secured and confirmation and additional information will be emailed. Due to the popularity of this event sessions fill quickly and participants may only sign up for one session per season. For more information, please visit or call 703.746.4399.


102014 - John Carlyle FuneralSaturday, October 25 John Carlyle’s 1780 Funeral & Historical Haunted Tour of Alexandria
Carlyle House, 121 North Fairfax Street

I​n the middle of the American Revolution, Death visited Carlyle House during the fall of 1780 and claimed the life of town founder John Carlyle. Step back in time and be a part of this historic funeral as you learn about mourning practices in Revolutionary War era America. Visit the candlelit Carlyle House to view the coffin and pay respects to surviving family members. Then, follow your guide into the rarely seen underground vaults to learn more about spirits and legends of the 18th-century. Return to Carlyle House at 9 p.m. to join a funeral procession to the Old Presbyterian Meeting House where a short 18th-century benediction and blessing will be held followed by a mock internment at John Carlyle’s lantern-lit grave in the cemetery. Tickets are priced at $20 per person; $30 per couple; $10 per child (ages 12-17); children ages 11 & under are free.  Tickets may be purchased by calling Alexandria’s Footsteps to the Past at 703.683.3451. Reservations are recommended. 6 to 10 p.m. For more information, please visit www.novaparks.c​om or call 703.549.2997.

Saturday, October 25 As Was Written: poetry, prose, music, comedy
The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street

As Was Written exists to showcase and celebrate the quality writer. Join us for a handpicked lineup of artists performing poetry, prose, music and standup comedy. Tickets are priced at $12 per person and are available online . 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.746.4994.


Sunday, October 26 Civil War Sunday
Alexandria Archaeology Museum, 105 North Union Street, #327

Explore the Civil War in Alexandria with Civil War Sundays.  See an original May 26, 1861, edition of The New-York Tribune detailing Colonel Elmer Ellsworth’s death in Alexandria, a Peeps diorama illustrating Ellsworth’s death, a TimeTravelers Passport exhibit featuring the Civil War drummer boy, a diorama of a heating system constructed in Alexandria to warm Civil War hospital tents during the winter of 1861, a cocked and loaded Wickham musket discarded in a privy during the 1860s, and an exhibit on a Lee Street archaeological site during the Civil War. Free!  1 to 5 p.m.  For more information, please visit or call 703.746.4399.


102014 - Partners for the Art Vocal Competetion imageSunday, October 26 Partners for the Arts Vocal Awards Competition
The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street

Partners for the Arts Vocal Awards Competition Finals, open to the public for their enjoyment.  Free! 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.241.5496.


102014 - Friday Morning Music ClubSunday, October 26 Chamber Music Concert: Friday Morning Music Club
The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street

Friday Morning Music Club musicians present chamber works for flute, violin, vocal quartet, and piano trio by Beethoven, Brahms, and Faure. Free admission, but donations appreciated. 6 to 7:15 p.m. For more information, please call 703.746.4994 or visit .


Open Through November 9, 2014 – Icons of American Culture / David Allison Exhibition
The Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street

David Allison is a master photographer and has created a series of portraits of the objects he considers icons of American culture. The images in this show not only reflect American culture, but the photographer’s personal interpretation of our culture. Some of his images are classic, some are whimsical, some are satirical, but all are masterfully shot and printed.

For more information, please visit or call 703.548.0035.


Open Through 2014 – Alexandria Freedmen's Cemetery Exhibition
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 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday and Monday: Closed.  For more information, please call 703.746.4356.


Open Through 2014Their Fates Intertwined: The Lees of Alexandria in the War of 1812 Exhibition
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 further information, please visit or call 703.548.1789.


Open Through 2014 – Fifty Years of Collecting: An Anniversary Exhibit of Objects from the Fort Ward Collection Exhibition 
Fort Ward Museum, 4301 West Braddock Road

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Fort Ward Museum & Historic Park, this new exhibition offers a glimpse into the growth and holdings of the Museum’s fine Civil War collection. The exhibit features some rare items related to the Defenses of Washington, such as an 1862 panoramic drawing of Fort Albany by the soldier-artist William Lydston, a folding camp chair that belonged to an officer in the 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, and a Lambley’s portable copying machine used by an officer from the 57thMassachusetts Infantry.   Objects that interpret the Union occupation of Alexandria, such as a proclamation declaring martial law in the city, are also featured.  Examples of newly acquired objects are a field desk with personal belongings owned by a captain in the 107th New York Infantry, and a John Rogers statuary group, “Uncle Ned’s School,” which aimed to portray the efforts of newly freed African Americans to better their lives through education in the postwar years.


Fort Ward is the best preserved of the extensive network of Union forts and batteries known as the Civil War Defenses of Washington. Free! Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.   For more information, please call 703.746.4848, or visit .

Thursday, October 23 USAF Band Chamber Series at the Lyceum
The Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street

Come hear the USAF Band Chamber Series at the Lyceum. This week’s program features the Trombone Quartet, a dynamic look at classic trombone literature - led by TSgt Aaron Moats, The United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass. Free! 8 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 703.746.4994.


102014 - Gov Berkely imageOn October 21, 1669, Governor William Berkeley awarded a 6000-acre land grant to Robert Howson, an English ship captain. This tract extended along the Potomac River, from Hunting Creek on the south to the Little Falls on the north, and overlapped the 700 acre plot awarded to Dame Margaret Brent in 1654. Less than a month later, Howson sold the land to Scotsman John Alexander. The town was named for the Alexander family eighty years later when it was formed.


Reserve your seat for "Poe in Alexandria” before they’re nevermore!  Enjoy one of Alexandria’s great traditions, as actor David Keltz portrays one of Edgar Allen Poe’s 19th century speaking engagements, including literary criticism, short stories, poetry, and musings.  Tickets are priced at $15 per person and are available online or by calling 703.746.4994.



102014 - Julia Wheelock imageDuring the early years of the Civil War, many dedicated Northern women traveled to Alexandria to lend their care to sick and dying soldiers housed at impromptu hospitals that had hastily been established.  One young lady, Julia S. Wheelock, was known as “the Florence Nightingale of Michigan” for her dedicated efforts on behalf of the men from her home state recuperating in the city.

Miss Wheelock first came to Alexandria in September, 1862 in search of her brother Orville, who had been seriously wounded at the Battle of Chantilly.  When she arrived in the city with Orville’s wife, Anna, and her sister, Sarah, they searched hospitals in the District of Columbia for the young soldier who had registered in the Army only a year earlier.  Finally, they were directed to The Lyceum on South Washington Street, only to learn that Orville had died on September 9, one day before she had received notice of his injury in Michigan.  He had been buried in the new Alexandria National Cemetery, and after visiting his grave, Julia decided to remain in Alexandria to help improve the deplorable medical conditions she had witnessed.  Within weeks, she was an agent of the Michigan Relief Association making $5 per week. 

By October, 1862, Miss Wheelock was traveling between Alexandria’s many hospitals tending to the sick and injured, distributing donations and gifts sent by charitable organizations, and supporting the morale of the men with special edible treats.  On October 24, she arrived at the Seminary Hospital several miles west of the city with a prescription of forty-two apple pies that were soon devoured by the appreciative patients.

Historic Alexandria Administration
Lloyd House
220 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703.838.6451

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.