Archaeologist to Lecture on Old Town Alexandria’s Historic Downspouts

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September 3 Lecture at the Athenaeum Explores Local Connection to Mid-19th Century Cast Iron Downspouts

Cast Iron DownspoutThe Friends of Alexandria Archaeology (FOAA) and the Athenaeum are co-sponsoring an illustrated lecture about Alexandria’s historic cast iron downspouts. The lecture will be held on Saturday, September 3, at 10 a.m. at the Athenaeum, 201 Prince Street.  Archaeologist Mark Michael Ludlow will present “The Mid-Nineteenth Century Decorative Cast Iron Downspouts of Old Town Alexandria: Decorative and Functional Architectural Statements of Social Status and Their Connection to the Two T.W. & R.C. Smith Foundries, the Early Hugh Smith Family, and Alexandria’s Early Locomotive Manufacturers.” Ludlow, a PhD candidate in archaeology at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, estimates there are 36 residences in Old Town with these downspouts.

The lecture is expected to last about 45 minutes, and audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end. The lecture is free and open to all, but reservations are required. To make a reservation, contact Paul Nasca at Alexandria Archaeology at or 703.746.4399.

The Athenaeum is home to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA). The NVFAA strives to establish premier arts programs that enrich the cultural life of Northern Virginia and beyond. Constructed between 1851 and 1852, it began as the Bank of the Old Dominion. The bank was the source of capital and financing of various businesses – being strategically situated at the head of "Captain's Row," a block of 18th-century houses still facing the original cobblestone street. Visit to learn more about the Athenaeum.

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