Wayfinding: George Washington in Alexandria

George Washington was a town trustee, attended services at Christ Church, owned a town house on Cameron Street, and dined at Gadsby’s and other local taverns.

Page updated on Mar 28, 2018 at 3:50 PM

George Washington in Alexandria

George Washington sign (click for larger image)George Washington considered Alexandria his hometown after its founding in 1749, and it is here that he came to do business, learn the events of the world, pick up mail, and visit friends. His first association with the town was probably as a 17 year-old assistant to the county surveyor in laying out the original plan for the town. His older brother, Lawrence, purchased one of the first lots in July 1749. Two decades before the American Revolution, George Washington was loyal to the crown of England, and in that service he recruited his first soldiers and drilled them in the Market Square. In the spring of 1754, he marched out of Alexandria on his first military campaign of the French and Indian War. Later, in 1763, he was chosen as a town trustee. When Alexandria’s first bank opened its doors in 1792, George Washington was a stockholder and depositor. Martha and George Washington attended services at nearby Christ Church where the family bought, and later rented, a box pew. The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum at 105-107 South Fairfax Street still retains the records from when Martha Washington requested medicines and herbs be sent for use by family members. One block from here at 508 Cameron Street is the modest, reconstructed town house (now privately owned), first built by George Washington in 1769 as a domestic alternative to the long horseback ride to Mount Vernon. Originally built without a kitchen, his meals would be taken at local taverns; Gadsby’s Tavern was a favorite. Washington was welcomed home from the presidency at a civic dinner held at Gadsby’s, and returned there to dance at a ball on his last birthday in 1799. On December 16 of that year, the Alexandria Gazette reported “the death of their illustrious benefactor.” Washington’s memorial service was held at the Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria.

How did St. Asaph Street get its name?

St. Asaph Street was named in honor of Rev. Jonathan Shipley, the English Bishop of St. Asaph, who, although having never set foot in America, supported the American cause for independence from Great Britain.

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. St. Asaph Street. (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)