Miss visiting your favorite Historic Alexandria sites? Looking for some fun historic activities to share with your kids at home? Let our staff bring history virtually to you!
Each weekday for three months we shared new stories and content through #HistoricALX2U - everything from virtual tours of the sites and museums to fun and educational activities. If you missed them the first time around, explore these tours and activities now.
#ThrowbackThursday dives deep into the historic files.
Today in 1788
June 25, 2020
Today in 1788, Virginia became the tenth state to ratify the Constitution. Virginia was one of the largest states in terms of land and population, and Federalists (pro-Constitution) worried the nation could split if Virginia did not ratify. They had reason to worry. Patrick Henry + George Mason opposed the ratification because they believed the rights of the states + the people were not protected. Locally, Col. Charles Simms and Dr. David Stuart, who supported ratification, were nominated to represent Fairfax County, of which Alexandria was a part. Ultimately, the Virginia Convention voted yes, but only by 10 votes. As we consider the beginning words of the Constitution, “We the People,” what’s your wish for our future?
Pride MonthJune 18, 2020
In the early 1930s, the prominent civil rights lawyer Charles Houston defended a man charged with murder in Loudoun. Not long after the crime, police recovered the victim’s car in Alexandria, and inside they found a note with the name and address of Hammond Nokes, a transgender woman from Herndon who also went by Hannah. Investigators determined that shortly before the murder, the suspect had boarded for a night at the Nokes home. During the trial, Nokes appeared in court wearing a dress, wig and jewelry, and testified about the defendant’s stay at her home. Some newspapers mocked Nokes, but her appearance on the witness stand, as an openly transgender African American woman, is remarkable for the time.
Hannah Nokes: A Trans Woman of Color in Northern Virginia, NoVa History Blog
June 11, 2020
Graduation on Saturday will look a little different this year, but we are helping ACPS celebrate this #ThrowbackThursday by taking a trip back to 1967. Enjoy this yearbook from the Lyceum collection of Hammond High School, which operated from 1956 – 1971. It still operates today, but as one of Alexandria’s middle schools. This shift began when ACPS opened T.C. Williams as part of their desegregation efforts. While times may change, we always find ways to celebrate graduation! This Saturday, don’t forget to light up your home in red, white, and blue to show your support of the Class of 2020. Congrats seniors! #TCW2020 #HistoricALX2Ulink
Alexandrians remember Hammond, by Pam Cressey, May 1997
May 28, 2020
The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) began during the Great Depression in December 1933, when the National Park Service submitted a proposal for one thousand out-of-work architects to spend ten weeks documenting "America's antique buildings." The program soon became permanent, expanding into other media (photographs) and other types of surveys (landscapes, engineering-HAER). These records are a critical resource for preservationists. For example, these photos of the Murray Dick Fawcett House help city staff guide work at this historic site by helping us understand how this building changed over time. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
Murray-Dick-Fawcett House, HABS Record - Library of Congress
May 21, 2020
During the 1950s and 60s, urban renewal swept the country. This land development idea demolished historic structures in thousands of cities to make way for more modern buildings. Large sections of historic structures in Old Town were replaced with new construction. The entire north side 400 block of King was demolished to build Tavern Square, with Gadsby’s Tavern Museum remaining. This destruction sparked citizen action to preserve the remaining historic buildings in Old Town.
#ThrowbackThursday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth20th Century Alexandria
The Green Book
May 14, 2020
Did you see The Green Book movie? Alexandria had two sites in the Green Book – an annual guidebook for African Americans travelling during the Jim Crow era. The Green Book lists the J.A. Barrett Tourist Home at 724 Gibbon Street from 1938 – 1954 and the J.T. Holmes Tourist Home at 803 Gibbon from 1938 – 1960. Barrett’s home was torn down c. 1978, but Holmes’ remains. Both were in Alexandria’s oldest free black community, known as the “Bottoms.” #ThrowbackThursday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth
The Green Book - Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
A Preservation Activist
May 7, 2020
If you #VisitALX, you’re seeing the results of Rebecca Ramsay Reese. A preservation activist, she dreamed of a historic town people would want to live in and visit. She was determined. Even during the Great Depression, she was able to help Post #24 restore the famous City Hotel ballroom, part of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Her efforts transformed the community, one project at a time! Learn more about how she connected to the preservation story of the ballroom.
#HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #PreservationMonth.
April 30, 2020
Check out those short shorts and huge moustaches! Alexandria’s archaeology program began in the 1960s and 1970s and, though people may no longer be sporting these fashion statements, some things haven’t changed. Staff still work hard to preserve artifacts and their context (a specific location in horizontal and vertical space).Work is still guided by theoretically engaged research questions and a plan of action. Tomorrow, May 1, 2020, begins # PreservationMonth and with it our first Facebook Live for #FactCheckFriday: “Ask an Archaeologist” with Alexandria Archaeology! Find out more about the archaeology program and tune in on Facebook at 11 a.m. every Friday in May. #ThrowbackThursday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
In Memoriam: Joseph McCoy
April 23, 2020
Today is the anniversary of the lynching of Joseph McCoy. He was murdered on April 23, 1897 at the corner of Lee and Cameron Street, just feet from what was then the police station and City Hall. Through EJI’s ( www.eji.org) Community Remembrance Project, Alexandria is committed to restorative justice so that our community emerges stronger and more inclusive. To overcome racial inequality, we must confront our history. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome #ALLAlexandria
First Movie Theatre for African-American Patrons
April 16, 2020
During segregation, the first movie theatre for African-American patrons in Alexandria was located at the NW corner of Queen and Henry Streets. In the fall of 1920, despite protests, Harry Bramow was issued a permit to enlarge an existing structure at 1101 Queen Street for use as a theatre for “moving pictures.” The theatre, originally named the Lincoln, opened soon after and the building still stands today. #ThrowbackThursday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
Capitol Theatre once served as city’s sole black movie theatre. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, June 16, 2011
April 9, 2020
With the importance of hand-washing at the top of our minds, we should be glad we are able to do it with modern soap. Before the mid-19th century, soap was made mainly with animal fats and ash. Advances in the soap making process using palm or olive oils as well as an increased interest in more regular bathing led to the popularity of toilet or perfumed soaps like this one sold by the Leadbeaters in the 1860s. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
Journal of Nicholas Cresswell
April 2, 2020
Nicholas Cresswell was an English Loyalist living in Alexandria between 1774-1777. Luckily for historians he recorded a journal of his experiences. On October 24, 1774 he wrote, “Everything here is in utmost confusion” as tensions with the British rose prior to the Revolutionary War. Help historians 200 years from now know what it was like in Alexandria in 2020. #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome
American Legion Post 24
March 26, 2020
American Legion Post 24 was organized in 1920 and Gadsby’s Tavern was the first site that members considered when looking for a permanent home as a monument to veterans, a civic center, and museum. They always promoted the tavern as a “must-see” historic attraction in Alexandria during their operation. These “California tourists” are enjoying their history lesson. #ThrowbackThursday #HistoricALX2U #MuseumFromHome