The National Park Service maintains this register of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture. These places contribute to the understanding of the historical and cultural journey of this Nation. Today, the National Register consists of more than 65,000 properties, with approximately 1,800 properties added annually.
The Virginia Landmarks Register, also established in 1966 and managed by the Department of Historic Resources, is the state’s official list of properties important to Virginia’s history. Sites nominated to the state register are considered at quarterly meetings of the Virginia Board of Historic Resources and the Virginia State Review Board, and forwarded to the National Park Service for listing on the National Register when appropriate.
The following Alexandria sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, and for photos and drawings from the HABS/HAER survey, visit the National Register Information System database and select State (VA) and County (Alexandria).
The National Register lists five Alexandria Historic Districts, and nine African American sites.
The five Alexandria Historic Districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places include the Old and Historic District, Fairlington, Parkfairfax, Rosemont and the Town of Potomac.
Index of African American Sites
These African American sites are included in the content below.
- Alfred Street Baptist Church
- Beulah Baptist Church
- Bruin's Slave Jail
- Dr. Albert Johnson House
- Franklin and Armfield Office
- George Lewis Seaton House
- Moses Hepburn Rowhouses
- Odd Fellows Hall
- Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church (Davis Chapel)
Canal Center Plaza
The Alexandria Canal Tide Lock and holding basin, the only locally remaining portions of the Alexandria Canal, are significant physical representations of an economic rebirth for the City of Alexandria during the middle of the 19th century. The Canal was in operation from 1843-1886, except for the era of the Civil War. It ran from a terminal in Georgetown, was carried across the Potomac River on an aqueduct near the current Key Bridge, then ran along the west side of the Virginia shore, crossed Four Mile Run on another aqueduct, entered Alexandria, and descended to the Potomac by means of three lift locks, lowering barges to the river at low tide. The entire canal system was about seven miles long. The tide lock and holding basin were excavated in 1982, and a restoration is now accessible to the public.
- History of the Alexandria Canal. Brochure, Alexandria Archaeology Museum and Department of Planning.
- The Alexandria Canal: Its History and Preservation, Thomas Swiftwater Hahn and Emory L. Kemp. West Virginia University Press, 1992. Available from The Alexandria Shop.
- The Alexandria Canal. Marking Time, Alexandria Times, Septemeber 6, 2007.
- The Industrial Archaeology of the Tide Lock and Pool No. 1 of the Alexandria Canal. Thomas S. Hahn, 1982. (On file at Alexandria Archaeology Museum.)
- Maritime Historical Report for Alexandria Canal Tide Lock Project. Thomas S. Hahn, 1982. (On file at Alexandria Archaeology Museum.)
301 King Street
The earliest town hall and court house was built on this site in 1752. The farmer's market dates from that time, and is still held each Saturday morning on Market Square. The current City Hall building was erected in 1871. The brick building, which formed a 'U' around a central courtyard containing market sheds was constructed with great attention to technological advances in safety and strength. The Second Empire styling of the building typically includes several different types of three-dimensional massing and often flamboyant Baroque detailing. The clock tower is a replica of one designed by Benjamin Latrobe for an earlier town hall built in 1817 and destroyed by fire in 1871.
The east wing on Fairfax Street originally contained a firehouse, the police headquarters, and rental offices. The central section on Cameron Street housed the Court House, the Masonic headquarters, rental offices, and city offices. The western wing on Royal Street housed the Common Council and Aldermen chambers and city offices. Part of the first floor was also used for market stalls. During the early 20th century, the City Hall and Market House underwent several alterations. An addition was built in 1961, and the entire structure was renovated in 1984, now functioning exclusively as a city hall.
- City Hall. A brief history.
- Alexandria City Hall. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, September 16, 2010.
- The origins of Alexandria's most famous building. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 7, 2015.
- The Port City's first seat of government. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 14, 2015.
- A devastating fire brings sweeping changes. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 21, 2015.
- Rebuilding the devastated City Hall, Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 28, 2015.
- A Masonic influence at City Hall. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, June 11, 2015.
- City Hall, but not as we know it. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, June 25, 2015.
- Expansion of City Hall to reflect changing uses in new century. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, July 2, 2015.
- A renovated City Hall for expanding city services. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, July 9, 2015.
- The “Red Architect” and his role shaping City Hall. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, June 2, 2016.
- A multipurpose City Hall for an evolving city. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, June 30, 2016
Alexandria National Cemetery
1450 Wilkes Street
The cemetery was established in 1862, and is an important component of the multiple property submission of Civil War Era National Cemeteries. Alexandria was the site of one of the principal camps for northern Virginia troops sent to defend Washington at the outbreak of hostilities between the North and the South. Following the fist encounter at Bull Run in 1861, Washington was surrounded by a cordon of field works that included Alexandria. The fortress area became a center of military operations, and Alexandria served as a hospital and convalescent center for Federal troops wounded in the field. The national cemetery was established as a burial ground for Union soldiers who had died in battle and at numerous hospitals in the area. The small cemetery was nearly filled to capacity by 1864. There are 4,066 graves, now marked with small white marble markers, which were installed in 1876 to replace painted and lettered boards. There are still a few interments yearly, including interments in reserved grave sites and interment of cremated remains. In 1887 the present superintendent's lodge was built over the walls of the original one, which was destroyed in a fire, using the original design by Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs.
- Alexandria National Cemetery. U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Alexandria National Cemetery, Database of Burials. Interment.net, Cemetery Records Online.
- Historic Cemeteries of Alexandria.
- Peaceful cemetery stands as proof of war's horrors. Alexandria Artifacts column, Alexandria Gazette, August 10, 1995.
- Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial. Burials include African Americans who served in the Civil War with the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.)
Southwest corner Duke and South Alfred Streets
Alfred Street Baptist Church is the oldest congregation in Alexandria and one of the oldest in the Washington area. The two-story brick building, located at the southwest corner of Duke and South Alfred Streets, was originally built in 1855. The church's educational branch was organized by 1820, providing both religious and secular learning opportunities for both children and adult African Americans. The school played a major role in Alexandria’s free black community prior to the Civil War despite the state restrictions on the assembly of African Americans. Its library was one of the first open to African Americans. The church has been associated with its current site since 1818, but it is believed the congregation is much older, having been formed in 1803, with the earlier meetings held in the homes of its members, or along the banks of the Potomac River. It is one of the two oldest existing church structures in the City associated with African Americans, both free blacks and enslaved people. It is located in the City’s Old and Historic District and in the neighborhood known as "the Bottoms," the oldest African American neighborhood in Alexandria. Except for use as a hospital during the Civil War, the building has been in continuous use for religious purposes since 1855 and the site since 1818. The large and active congregation continues to play a major cultural and educational role in the life of the City.
- Tracing the rise of Alfred Street Baptist Church. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, November 26, 2014.
Bank of Alexandria
133 North Fairfax Street
Established in 1792, the Bank of Alexandria moved to the northwest corner of the Carlyle House property in 1803. The bank building represents one of the best examples of restrained elegance incorporated into commercial architecture. Among the founders of the bank was William Herbert, son-in-law of John Carlyle. He lived in the adjacent 1752 Carlyle House for 29 years, and served as bank president and Mayor of Alexandria. The bank's charter stockholders included George Washington. The bank failed during the panic of 1834, and the building later served as a U.S. Post Office and Customs Office. The building was converted for use as the Mansion House Hotel by James Green sometime in the 1840s.
- Commercial Credit in Eighteenth Century Alexandria and the Founding of the Bank of Alexandria. H. Talmage Day and Barbara K. Morgan, Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Summer 2000.
- How a bank building became a hotel and Civil War hospital. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, September 12, 2013.
811 Prince Street
The Bayne-Fowle House is a substantial masonry town house built in the 1850s for William Bayne, an Alexandria commission merchant. The house is architecturally significant as a little altered example of a wealthy merchant's residence of the mid-19th century. It is one of the few buildings in Old Town Alexandria to employ a stone facade. Of particular interest is the richly appointed suite of reception rooms on the first floor, comprising one of the finest mid-Victorian interiors in the state, complete with elaborate plasterwork and an unusual pendant arcade. The house was occupied by Northern troops during the Civil War. After the war it was confiscated by the Federal government and converted to a military hospital. The house once again became a private residence in 1871.
- Fowle (Powell) Hospital. Union Hospitals in Alexandria, Virginia.
320 South Washington Street
Beulah Baptist Church, built in 1863, is a freestanding two-story brick structure located at 320 South Washington Street. Beulah Baptist was the first church organized in Alexandria after the city’s occupation by Federal troops in 1861. Educational opportunities in Alexandria prior to the Civil War were erratic, with a few schools and churches offering classes for African Americans. The city was a part of the District of Columbia prior to 1846, and Virginia state laws prohibiting the education of African Americans were not applied. However, with the City’s retrocession to Virginia in 1847, most African American schools were closed. With the beginning of the Civil War and the occupation of the City by Federal troops, education was once again open to all African Americans and Beulah Baptist was specifically founded to provide educational services. It was one of the first churches in the City founded, led, and operated by African Americans.
- How the Civil War paved the way for Beulah Baptist Church. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, November 14, 2013.
Boundary Markers of the Original District of Columbia
Southwest No. 1 Boundary Marker - 1220 Wilkes Street
Southwest No. 2 Boundary Marker - 7 Russel Road
Southwest No. 3 Boundary Marker - 2932 King Street
Southwest No. 4 Boundary Marker - King Street north of junction with Wakefield Street
Southwest No. 5 Boundary Marker - S. Walter Reed Drive
In 1791 and 1792, Andrew Ellicott and his surveying team placed 40 boundary stones around the perimeter of the District of Columbia, one at each mile of the original diamond shape. The first stone was placed at Jones Point on April 15, 1791, under the guidance of Benjamin Banneker.
- Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia. Courtesy, BoundaryStones.org.
- DC Boundary Markers. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 27, 2010.
- The Original Boundary Stones of the District of Columbia , by Ernest A. Shuster, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey. National Geographic Magazine (1909) Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 356–359. Available from Google Books.
1707 Duke Street
Bruin's Slave Jail is a brick Federal-style dwelling that was used by Joseph Bruin, a slave dealer in Alexandria, who purchased the large house and its adjacent two acres (used as an exercise area) in 1844. The building was used as a holding facility, or "slave jail," for slaves awaiting sale to individuals and other dealers. In December 1845, he and partner Henry Hill advertised in the Alexandria Gazette: "NEGROES WANTED: All persons having Negroes to sell will find ready sale and liberal prices for them by calling at the new establishment of BRUIN & HILL." At the outbreak of the Civil War, Bruin fled Alexandria, but was captured and jailed in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. until the end of the war. While imprisoned, the building was used at the Fairfax County courthouse until July of 1865. Now the building is used as business offices, and is not open to the public. This site is listed on "Aboard the Underground Railroad," a National Register Travel Itinerary.
- Archaeology of the Bruin Slave Jail (Site 44AX0172). Site Report. Lisa Kraus, John Bedell and Charles LeeDecker. The Louis Berger Group, Inc., Washington, D.C., 2010.
- Archaeology of the Bruin Slave Jail. Summary.
- Alexandria's descent into the slave trade. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, February 28, 2013.
123 North Fairfax Street
As indicated by the initials and date in the keystone over the doorway, this fine mid-Georgian mansion was completed for John and Sara (Fairfax) Carlyle in 1752. A native of Scotland, John Carlyle was one of the original incorporators of the City of Alexandria. Although he was a merchant by profession, in 1755 Carlyle became a major in the Virginia Militia, and in 1758 he was appointed to the prestigious position of customs collector. On April 14, 1755, General Braddock met in the famous "Blue Room" with the governors of Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York to plan the ill-fated campaign against the Indians. Among the other notables entertained in the house at various times were George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, George Mason, John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Light Horse Harry Lee, and John Paul Jones. The house is significant architecturally in that it is the only surviving mid-Georgian townhouse in Virginia designed in a five-part plan in the manner of Annapolis townhouses. In addition, the stone cornice is possibly a unique architectural feature for its time in Virginia.
- The Carlyle House is owned and operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA), and is open to the public.
- Carlyle House Historic Park: History. Courtesy, NVRPA.
- Col. John Carlyle, Gent., 1720-1780: A true and just account of the man and his house. James D. Munson, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, 1986. (Available from online merchants.)
- Carlyle House Archaeology Project. Final Report, Draft 2. Sarah Tolson, 1980.
- Preserving the Carlyle House Archaeology Collections. Kayla Marciniszin. Carlyle House Docent Dispatch, November 2014.
Mansion House Hospital
- Mansion House Hospital. Union Hospitals in Alexandria, Virginia.
- Nurses, Spies, and Soldiers: The Civil War at Carlyle House. Sarah Coster. Carlyle House Docent Dispatch, March 2011.
- An occupied city and the misfortunes of war. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, February 18, 2016.
- A hotel important in peace and war. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, October 22, 2015.
- How a bank building became a hotel and Civil War hospital. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, September 12, 2013.
- An obstruction for some, a gem for others. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, November 23, 2010.
- Experience Mercy Street, the PBS drama set at the Mansion House Hospital.
118 North Washington Street
Christ Church has been in continuous use since it was built in 1773. George Washington was a vestryman and had a family pew in the church. After the death of Martha Washington, Christ Church was presented with the Washington family bible which had long been used at Mount Vernon. The church, designed by James Wren, includes a six-sided high pulpit, centered before a Palladian window under a canopy suspended from the ceiling.
- A church for presidents. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, January 9, 2014.
- Washington’s Church. An Historical Sketch of Old Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia , Together with a Brief Description of the Centenary Services Therein, Nov. 20th and 21st, 1873, by Randolph Harrison McKim (Alexandria, 1888). Available from Google Books.
814 Duke Street
The Dr. Albert Johnson House, located at 814 Duke Street, is an Italianate-style row house built in the mid-19th century. Facing Duke Street to the north, the house is situated in “the Bottoms,” the oldest African American neighborhood in Alexandria. The property was occupied from 1896 to 1940 by Dr. Albert Johnson, one of the city's first licensed African American physicians. Dr. Johnson graduated from Howard University in one of the early classes and practiced medicine in Alexandria for forty-six years. His medical office was in the lower level of the property. Dr. Johnson sold the property to Annie B. Rose in 1941, another important person in Alexandria’s African American history.
207 Prince Street
The Fairfax-Moore House, in the heart of the Alexandria Historic District, is a classic example of an eighteenth century Georgian side-passage-plan dwelling. With its three and a half stories and long service wing, it exemplifies the type of home enjoyed by the city's most affluent citizens. The house retains much of its early woodwork. Architecturally, the building appears to date to the mid-1780s when the lot was owned and developed by John Harper, a sea captain from Philadelphia.
Built in 1812 as a residence for General Andrew Young, this was the office building of the former interstate slave trading complex which stood on the site from 1828 to 1861. By 1835 Franklin and Armfield controlled nearly half the coastal slave trade from Virginia and Maryland to New Orleans. In 1846 the property was sold to a Franklin and Armfield agent, George Kephart, whose business became "the chief slave-dealing firm in [Virginia] and perhaps anywhere along the border between the Free and Slave States." After 1858, the slave pen was known as Price, Birch, and Co., and their sign can be seen in a Civil War era photograph. The business was appalling to many, especially to active abolitionists in Alexandria, where the large Quaker population contributed to a general distaste for slavery. Several abolitionists' accounts survive which describe the slave pen and the conditions encountered therein. Behind the house was a yard containing several structures, surrounded by a high, whitewashed brick wall. Male slaves were located in a yard to the west, while women and children were kept in a yard to the east, separated by a passage and a strong grated door of iron. The complex served as a Civil War prison from 1861 to 1865, and housed the Alexandria Hospital from 1878 to 1885. It was later apartments, and was renovated as offices in 1984.
- The Alexandria Slave Pen: The Archaeology of Urban Captivity. Janice G. Artemel, Elizabeth A. Crowell and Jeff Parker, Engineering-Science, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1987.
- A Documentary Study, Archeological Evaluation and Resource Management Plan for 1323 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia. Sarah Traum, Joseph Balicki and Brian Corle, John Milner Associates, Inc., Alexandria, VA., 2007
- Slaves in the Alexandria Jail, 1861. Reprinted from the National Republican, January 20, 1862, Courtesy, Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery.
- "A Loathsome Prison:" Slave Trading in Antebellum Alexandria. Lesson Plan: Teaching with Historic Places in Alexandria, Virginia.
- The center of Alexandria's slave operations. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, January 19, 2017.
- Franklin and Armfield Office. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 20, 2010.
- Notorious local slave dealer had hand in Solomon Northrup's kidnapping. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, November 7, 2013.
President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., House
514 Crown View Drive
This house was built for Gerald R. Ford in 1955. When Ford became Vice President, the Secret Service installed a "Command Post" in the garage and made a number of related changes. The Fords lived in this house from 1955 until August 19, 1974, when they moved to the White House, ten days after Mr. Ford took the oath of office as President of the United States upon Nixon's resignation. Betty Ford wrote: "For me, leaving the White House wasn't nearly so much of a wrench as leaving our house in Alexandria."
- Gerald R. Ford in Alexandria: Remembering our 38th President
- The First Lady of Alexandria. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, March 6, 2014.
- Gerald and Betty Ford once called Alexandria home. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, July 14, 2011.
4301 West Braddock Road
Fort Ward formed one of the strongest links in a chain of 68 forts and batteries erected between 1861-65 by the Union Army Corps of Engineers for the protection of the Nation's capital. The Northwest Bastion was restored during the Civil War Centennial. Fort Ward is the only one of the remaining fortifications to have an active museum to interpret the fort. Fort Ward is a 35-acre Historic Park owned and operated by the City of Alexandria, Virginia. The park is comprised of Civil War Earthen Fortifications, reproductions of period military buildings, and recreational facilities.
- Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site
- Alexandria's Fort Ward. C-Span video, February 15, 2013.
- 1991 Excavations at Fort Ward. Francine Bromberg, 1991. Alexandria Archaeology Abstracts, No. 1.
- Archaeology in Alexandria: Fort Ward Revisited. Francine Bromberg, Alexandria Archaeology, 1991. Historic Alexandria Antiques Show Catalogue. (Courtesy of Historic Alexandria Foundation) *Also includes “History of Fort Ward” by Wanda S. Dowell.
- Fort Ward, Alexandria, Virginia: Exploratory Excavation of the Northwest Bastion. Edward McM. Larrabee, 1961.
- Mr. Lincoln's Forts: A Guide to the Civil War Defenses of Washington. B. Franklin Cooling III and Walton H. Owen II, 2009. Available from The Alexandria Shop.
- The Men of Fort Ward: Defenders of Washington. William J. Miller, Friends of Fort Ward, 1989. Available from The Alexandria Shop.
134 North Royal Street
Gadsby's Tavern Museum consists of two tavern buildings, the ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Tavern and Hotel. The buildings are named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808. Mr. Gadsby's establishment was a center of political, business and social life in early Alexandria. Throughout the building's history, tavern keepers hosted dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. Notable patrons included General and Mrs. Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and the Marquis de Lafayette.
After serving until the late nineteenth century as a tavern and hotel, the buildings went through a variety of commercial uses and fell into disrepair. In 1929, American Legion Post 24 purchased the buildings, saving them from demolition. In 1972, the buildings were given to the City of Alexandria, restored, and reopened for the 1976 Bicentennial celebration.
Today, visitors tour the historic rooms of both buildings, restored to their eighteenth century appearance. Archaeological excavation, paint analysis, and research of surviving documents have provided an accurate picture of the furnishings and use of the buildings in the period 1785 to 1808.
- Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
- Gadsby's Tavern. Gretchen Bulova, Images of America, Arcadia Press, 2015. Available from The Alexandria Shop.
- A part of the Port City is relocated to New York City. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, December 18, 2014.
- Excavations at Gadsby's Tavern, Alexandria, Virginia. Robert M. Foss, 1974.
The George Lewis Seaton House is located at 404 South Royal Street in the heart of “Hayti,” the second oldest African American neighborhood in Alexandria. The house is a two story brick row house that was possibly constructed between 1861 and 1866, just before its purchase by George Seaton on April 14, 1866. George Lewis Seaton was a successful African American entrepreneur and property owner as well as a civic and political leader in Alexandria throughout the mid-nineteenth century. The property has yielded a sequence of archaeological deposits that reflects the development of the community once known as “Hayti.” The Hayti neighborhood was established in the early 1800's around the 400 block of South Royal Street and was the home of many black leaders. Haiti, site of the only successful slave uprising in the western hemisphere, inspired the name for this free African American neighborhood. Quakers supported the growth of Hayti by renting and selling property to free black families. In fact, the block on which the Seatons lived was associated with free black families prior to 1810. Archaeological work by Alexandria Archaeology at 404 South Royal Street has led to the discovery of artifacts that relate to the occupants of the site from this early period. These may represent the earliest record of material culture for free blacks in Alexandria. Born free in Alexandria in 1822, Seaton is perhaps best known for his work as a master carpenter and as the builder of a number of homes and civic buildings in Alexandria during the 1850s and 1860s. An outspoken Radical Republican after the Civil War, Seaton associated himself with many movements for racial improvement, and was elected the first African American member of the Virginia General Assembly from north of the Rappahannock River. He served as head trustee of the First Free School Society of Alexandria and constructed two schools for African American children in the City. In addition, he was a founding member of the Colored Building Association and the Colored YMCA. He was not only active in the establishment of the Odd Fellows Society, but also constructed the Odd Fellows Hall for use by the organization. The property at 404 South Royal Street served as Seaton’s home from the early 1870s until his death in 1881.
- George Lewis Seaton. Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia.
Jones Point Lighthouse and District of Columbia South Cornerstone
Jones Point Park
The south cornerstone of the District of Columbia marks the beginning point of the 1791 survey that carved this unique Federal jurisdiction from the states of Virginia and Maryland. In 1846 the portion of the District of Columbia south and west of the Potomac, including Alexandria and Jones Point, was retroceded to Virginia. As a result, the Jones Point stone no longer marks a corner of the District but is a point on the Maryland-Virginia line along the Virginia bank of the river. Four other boundary markers located in Alexandria are listed on the National Register.
The Jones Point Lighthouse, built adjacent to the south cornerstone in 1855, aided Potomac River shipping for 70 years and is significant in illustrating Federal concern for the improvement of inland navigation in the 19th century. The Jones Point light was tended by a keeper living in the lighthouse building until 1919, when an automatic beacon was installed in the lantern. The beacon was relocated to a tower on the extended east corner of Jones Point in 1926, and the replacement light was removed in the 1940s.
- Jones Point Lighthouse. George Washington Memorial Parkway, National Park Service.
Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home
607 Oronoco Street
The Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home (noted in the Historic American Buildings Survey as the Potts-Fitzhugh House), built in 1795, is a distinguished example of Federal period architecture. For nine years in the early 19th century the house was occupied by the young family of General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, celebrated cavalry officer of the American Revolution and author of the famous tribute to Washington: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Lee's son, Robert E. Lee, future leader of the Confederate States of America, prepared here for his entrance to the United States Military Academy. Now a private home, the building remains among the most impressive of Alexandria's Federal era houses.
614 Oronoco Street
The Lee-Fendall house is the earliest of several neighboring houses with Lee family connections. Built in 1785 as the residence of Philip Richard Fendall, a friend and attorney of George Washington, the house was remodeled in the Greek Revival style in 1850-52. Fendall was twice related to Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee by marriage, and the house remained in the Lee family for almost a century following Fendall's death in 1805. From 1937 until 1969, the house was owned by John L. Lewis, long-time president of the United Mine Workers of America and founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In addition to its historical associations, the house is a fine example of Alexandria's early domestic architecture. The house is operated as a museum by the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Lee Fendall House
- A long time home for man's best friend. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, July 3, 2014.
- Painting the history of a hard-nosed union leader. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, May 24, 2012.
- The controversial John L. Lewis and the Lee-Fendall House. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, December 16, 2010.
- Grosvenor Hospital and Grosvenor Branch Hospital. Union Hospitals in Alexandria.
220 North Washington Street
The Lloyd House, with its handsome doorway and stone detailing, is associated with several prominent Alexandria families. It was built in 1796 by Alexandria businessman John Wise. From 1826 to 1831 it was the residence and school of Benjamin Hallowell. Hallowell's wife kept a school for girls in a second floor chamber. In 1831 John Lloyd purchased the house, and his family owned the property for about one hundred years. The Alexandria Historic Restoration and Preservation Commission purchased Lloyd House in 1968 and leased it to the City. It formerly held the Alexandria Library's local history collection, and is now the home of the Office of Historic Alexandria.
- Lloyd House History
- A History of Lloyd House, Part I The Early Years: 1796 – 1832, Timothy Denneé. Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Fall 2003/Winter 2004.
- A History of Lloyd House, Part II History of the Structure: 1833 - 1918 Lloyd House Enters the 20th Century: 1918 - 1956. Timothy Denneé. Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2004.
The long history of Lloyd House. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, December 4, 2014.
- 'George Washington Bathed Here!' Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, November 29, 2012.
- Old Town home's similarity to Gadsby's Tavern no surprise Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, November 22, 2012.
- WAVES played major role in war at home Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, September 27, 2017
- Lloyd House becomes home to Alexandria's history . Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, December 6, 2012.
201 South Washington Street
The Lyceum was founded by Benjamin Hallowell in 1834 as a society for the scholarly activity for the citizens of Alexandria. The meetings of the Lyceum were first held in Hallowell's school, but he soon purchased a lot on which he had erected the present building as a headquarters for the society. The building, constructed around 1839, also provided facilities for the Alexandria Library Company, founded in 1795 as the city's first organization for the advancement of learning. The Lyceum's activities were disrupted by the Civil War. After the war the Lyceum was dissolved and the building was converted into a handsome residence. Today, the Lyceum is the City's history museum. Architecturally, the Lyceum is an unusually fine example of the monumental Greek Revival style in Virginia.
- The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum
- History of the Lyceum
- Lyceum Hall Hospital. Union Hospitals in Alexandria.
- The long road to public use for The Lyceum. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, September 19, 2013.
206-212 North Pitt Street
The Moses Hepburn Rowhouses are four brick rowhouses, located at 206-212 North Pitt Street, built by Moses Hepburn, a prominent African American businessman and citizen, sometime after he purchased the property in 1850. The townhouses are on the edge of “the Berg,” a historically African American neighborhood in Alexandria. The four units were identical, and while three retain a similar appearance, the fourth, unit 206, was updated sometime in the late nineteenth century with the addition of Victorian decorative elements. Born a slave in 1809 and freed seven years later, Hepburn overcame tremendous racial prejudices and became a successful entrepreneur in the antebellum city through his ownership and development of various residential and commercial properties. He also served as a civic leader in the African American community. While Hepburn owned land throughout Alexandria, the property at 206-212 North Pitt Street is the only one in the city where he is definitely known to have resided. It is noteworthy that these houses were constructed after Alexandria was retroceded to the state of Virginia, when many restrictive laws against African Americans were passed and enforced. Hepburn’s capacity to overcome all of these hardships and succeed illustrates his depth of character and determination as well as his standing in the community.
Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
The Mount Vernon Memorial Highway is the first parkway constructed and maintained by the U.S. Government and the first such road with a commemorative function explicit in its name and alignment. Although predated by other parkways, the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway south of Alexandria is probably the least altered of such early roads in the United States today. Its distinctive stone faced arch bridges, concrete slab base, beveled curbing, and landscape plantings mark its special quality. Planning for the highway began in 1887, but construction did not begin until 1929. The road was opened to traffic in 1932. A portion of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the highway links the southwestern end of the Arlington Memorial Bridge on Columbia Island, Washington, D.C., with Mount Vernon in Fairfax County. The highway includes Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria. Laid out in the late 18th century, Washington Street is lined with many late 18th and 19th century buildings. In 1929 the City of Alexandria granted the United States a perpetual easement over the street in furtherance of the memorial highway development.
- A direct route to George Washington's home. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, February 12, 2015.
- The George Washington Memorial Parkway --A Statement of Policy on Memorial Character by the Old and Historic Alexandria District Board of Architectural Review. Peter H. Smith, Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Summer 1999.
411 S. Columbus Stree
The Odd Fellows Hall, a two-and-a-half-story, rectangular, brick building, is located on the west side of South Columbus Street in “the Bottoms,” one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in Alexandria. It is one of the largest structures on the block and the largest structure built by an African American except for churches. The Odd Fellows Hall began as a one-story brick building constructed in 1864. It is believed that the original structure was built for an African Methodist Episcopal Church, but the church was not successful in maintaining a congregation. In 1869, three African American men, James Webster, Robert Darnell, and John Credit, formed the Odd Fellows Joint Stock Company and purchased the property at 411 South Columbus street. The existing building was enlarged in 1870 by George Seaton, a local master carpenter and politician. It is one of the only surviving structures for the period 1790-1951 associated with African American communal organizations. It has been the meeting hall for many secret organizations, benevolent groups, and others established by and for African Americans. Closed to meetings in 1974, it has undergone extensive interior changes due to its conversion into a multiple-family housing unit composed of five separate apartments. The alterations and change in use, however, have not diminished its importance to African Americans and its significance in Alexandria’s history.
- Odd Fellow's Hall, home of secret societies. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, April 14, 2011.
Old Dominion Bank Building (The Athenaeum)
201 Prince Street
The Athenaeum is a fine example of Classical Revival architecture. The building stands today unaltered and in a good state of preservation. It was built for the Bank of the Old Dominion in 1852. After the occupation of Alexandria by the Union forces, the bank closed on May 10, 1862. The bank's cashier buried the assets of the bank until peace was declared, keeping the bank solvent during the war. From 1907-1925 Leadbeater & Sons used the building in addition to other nearby warehouses for their wholesale drug business. In 1925 the Free Methodist Church of North America used the building as their house of worship. Today it houses an art gallery, operated by the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association.
- The Athenaeum: History. Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association.
Old Presbyterian Meeting House
316 S. Royal Street
The Old Presbyterian Meeting House's history reaches back more than two hundred years. It begins with the movement of Scottish and Scotch-Irish settlers to the Alexandria area in the eighteenth century. Soon creating a position for themselves, primarily as merchants and sea traders, they took a prominent part in founding the town and a leading role in forming the Presbyterian church of the new community. Built in 1774, the Old Meeting House was the site of memorial services for George Washington, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution can be visited in the churchyard.
- A History of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House, Dr. Harold Vedeler. Old Presbyterian Meeting House.
Orange and Alexandria Railroad Hooff's Run Bridge
Jamieson Avenue at Hooff Run
The Orange and Alexandria Railroad Hooff's Run Bridge is a round-arch bridge constructed in 1856 across Hooff's Run at Wolfe Street extended. It is the oldest extant bridge in Alexandria and a major remnant of Alexandria's early railroad history. It was originally built by the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, the first railroad to serve Alexandria and Northern Virginia. The O&ARR played a substantial role in enhancing Alexandria's significance as a port city in the mid-nineteenth century. The bridge carried a single track across Hooff's Run, the first of many waterways crossed by the Orange & Alexandria line as it stretched from Henry and Wolfe Streets in Alexandria, and west to Manassas Junction, Gordonsville, and eventually Lynchburg, Virginia. The Hooff's Run bridge was active during the Civil War, when the O&ARR was taken over by the U.S. Military Railroads to provide rail access and a supply route west and south into the war zone. Except for the surviving Wilkes Street railroad tunnel, the bridge is the only relic remaining in Alexandria of the O&ARR.
Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary
3737 Seminary Road
Located on a hill overlooking the Potomac River Valley, the Virginia Theological Seminary is one of the oldest and most distinguished institutions for the education of priests in the ministry of the American Episcopal Church. The seminary's core of early buildings stands as a tribute to the talents of their architects and as a document of the taste of the Episcopal Church at the time of their erection in the 19th century. The focal point of the complex, Aspinwall Hall, is the major surviving work of the noted antebellum architect, Norris G. Starkweather. The grounds are the only documented example in Virginia of the work of A. J. Downing, the noted landscape architect and theorist.
- History and Heritage. Virginia Theological Seminary
- Aspinwall Hall. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, April 8, 2010.
600 Block South Washington Street
Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church, constructed in 1834, is located south of King Street in the 600 block of South Washington Street in the African American neighborhood referred to as “the Bottoms.” It is the oldest African American church structure in Alexandria, and is also the site of one of the oldest existing schools in the City. Roberts Chapel, as it is known locally, began in 1830 when a small group of men, both white and black, purchased a parcel of land for the African American members of Trinity Methodist Church, a predominately white church in Alexandria. The African American founders included Francis Hoy, James Evans, Philip Hamilton, Moses Hepburn, and Simon Turley. The black members of Trinity’s congregation numbered almost 400 and it was felt by many that these members should have their own church. Construction began on the new church, but the Nat Turner Rebellion interrupted the process. White residents living near the new church objected to the location of the new church, and the congregation was forced to search for a new parcel of land. A new site was chosen on what is now South Washington Street and the new church was completed in 1834. The site was located between two emerging neighborhoods “the Bottoms” and “Hayti.” The church was called Davis Chapel, named after the Reverend Charles A. Davis, the white pastor of the new church. Davis Chapel, later known as Roberts Chapel, was the spiritual home of many prominent businessmen and local leaders of the African American community. It was a safe haven for the community of both free blacks and slaves during the difficult years of repression and provided opportunities for education and social and spiritual fellowship. It has also been a physical and emotional anchor to the African American neighborhoods surrounding it. It is one of the few structures remaining in the City with such a long history, spanning the years of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the twentieth century.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
228 South Pitt Street
St. Paul's Church is architecturally significant as the only surviving Gothic Revival-style structure designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe which has retained most of the elements of its original design. St. Paul's was founded in 1809 as a result of a split within the congregation of Christ Church, and the current church was built in 1817. Members of the Washington, Fairfax and Lewis families attended the church. During the Civil War, an incident occurred in the church that may be unparalleled in American history. In 1862, during Morning Prayer, the minister omitted the prayer for the President of the United States, whereupon he was arrested at gunpoint and taken out of the building by Federal soldiers, charged as a "rebel and a traitor." The church was then closed, and became a hospital for the duration of the war. Patients used the box pews as beds, the organ was used as a medicine chest, and the rectory for surgeon's quarters. The church re-opened for divine worship in 1865.
- St. Paul's Church and a rebel reverend. Out of the Attic, Alexandria Times, January 20, 2011.
105-107 South Fairfax Street
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop operated at this location from 1796 until 1933. The south building (107), constructed c. 1775, housed the retail operations. The north building (105), constructed c. 1815, was purchased by Edward Stabler in 1829 and served as the shop's warehouse. The first floor room of 107 is ornamented in the Gothic Revival style and still contains many of the original apothecary furnishings including reversed painted glass advertisements. The second floor of 107 also contains its original appointments. Wooden boxes hand lettered with numbers and names of medicinal supplies such as herbs and drugs line the walls and center shelves. Tins and hand blown bottles for supplies also are stored in the room. The shop buildings and its contents were sold at public auction in 1933. The entire contents--stock, equipment, and records--were bought by friends of the American Pharmaceutical Association (APA) for a museum. The buildings were purchased by the Landmarks Society of Alexandria as an early preservation measure, since the structures represented the only shop of the period still in much of its original condition. The APA donated the contents to the Landmarks Society and a museum was established in 1939. Still to this day, it houses one of the finest collections of antique drugstore furnishings and medicinal bottles in its original setting in America. The museum was donated to the City of Alexandria by the Landmarks Society in 2006.
- Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.
- History of the Apothecary Museum.
- A Memoir of the Life of Edward Stabler. William Stabler, 1846.
More Historic Sites
These additional historic sites are also significant to Alexandria's history, and information about them can be found on the Historic Alexandria website.