Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
105-7 S. Fairfax Street
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum traces one of America's oldest, continuously-run family businesses that combined manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing. Founded in 1792, and operated just across Fairfax Street until 1933, the pharmacy was established by Edward Stabler, a devout Quaker and avid abolitionist. Stabler sold a wide variety of products to both city and country residents – from Martha Washington to Robert E. Lee, from the local doctor to the local farmer. Typical products sold included medicine, farm and garden equipment, surgical instruments, dental equipment, soap, perfume, mineral water, cigars, window glass, paint and varnish, artists’ supplies, combs and brushes. Much of the medicine sold was created on-site using plant-based materials.
John Leadbeater, Edward’s son-in-law, an apothecary and dentist, joined the business with William from 1844-1852.
The apothecary remained open during the Civil War after Mary Leadbeater, John’s widow, signed the official “Oath of Allegiance” to the United States government. During the Union occupation of Alexandria, the business catered to the large military population, and the Apothecary’s books reported that many soldiers stood in line to buy “Hot Drops,” a cough expectorant containing paprika and alcohol. The drops sold for a penny each, and over $1,000 worth were sold in a single day!
Open to the public, the museum displays a remarkable collection of herbal botanicals, label-under glass display bottles, and pharmaceutical equipment from the 19th- and 20th-centuries.
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 S. Fairfax Street, across Fairfax from the museum. (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)