Wayfinding: Lee Fendall House

The house, built by Light Horse Harry Lee’s cousin Philip Richard Fendall, was home to 37 members of the Lee family from 1785 until 1903. Labor leader John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers lived here from 1937 until his death in 1969. The restored Lee-Fendall House and Garden is a period house museum that is open to the public.

Page updated on Mar 28, 2018 at 3:37 PM

Lee-Fendall House

614 Oronoco Street

Lee Fendall House sign (click for larger image)Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, purchased several lots on North Washington Street in Alexandria soon after the War for Independence. He lived briefly with his family in a house on Cameron Street, and later sold a lot at the corner of Oronoco Street, four blocks north, to his cousin Philip Richard Fendall. From 1785 until 1903, the large residence Fendall built on the lot served as home to 37 members of the Lee family. This period of residency was interrupted during the Civil War in 1863, when the Union Army seized the property for use as a hospital for its wounded soldiers. The first known successful blood transfusion in America took place at this site.

In 1903, Robert Downham, a prominent Alexandria haberdasher and liquor purveyor, resided with his family in the house for 31 years, selling it in 1937 to John L. Lewis. As President of the United Mine Workers and the founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, Lewis was one of the most powerful and controversial labor leaders in American history. He lived in this house during the height of his power, and until his death in 1969. The restored Lee-Fendall House and Garden is a period house museum that is open to the public.

Where to find this sign

In Old Town, mini kiosks are located at designated intersections along King Street, Cameron Street, and the Waterfront to provide an orientation for pedestrians. 

This wayfinding sign is located on King at the corner of N. Washington Street. (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)

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