Alexandria was George Washington’s hometown, even as he served his country. When the seaport community was founded in 1749, Washington’s older half-brother Lawrence purchased two of the original lots and George drew one of the earliest known plats of the new town.
Washington became involved in a variety of business, social and civic activities in Alexandria. He purchased property and built a town house on Cameron Street. He attended court in Alexandria as a justice of the peace for Fairfax County, and the town was in the area he represented as a member of the House of Burgesses. Washington worshiped at Christ Church and patronized local taverns. When the Alexandria Academy opened in 1785 he contributed on an annual basis to support the free school, and left four thousand dollars in Bank of Alexandria stock for the school in his will. During Washington’s last illness, two of the three physicians attending him were from Alexandria. The Presbyterian Meeting House was the site of his funeral oration.
This bust of George Washington was made in time for the 1876 American Centennial Celebration. It is a ceramic piece from Wedgwood, measuring 18 1/4 inches high, and was based on Jean Antoine Houdon’s statue of Washington in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. Houdon’s was the only sculpture of Washington done from life.
1875, Black Basalt stoneware, Wedgwood, Staffordshire, England.
The Lyceum’s 12-cent George Washington stamp was one of the first pre-paid postage stamps issued by the United States. The portrait on the stamp, released in 1851, was based on the painting of the first president by Gilbert Stuart. At the time, the 12-cent was the highest denomination of a U.S. stamp ever issued. It covered the over-3,000-mile double-weight rate of the quadruple-weight rate for a letter sent under 3,000 miles and was often used to pay the 24-cent, single-weight rate to England. Click on image for detail.
1851, Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co., Philadelphia. Gift of Jude Abadie.
Young Ann Tottington Rudd’s sampler recalls George Washington’s career in a unique commemoration of Alexandria’s favorite son. Her work undoubtedly expresses the depth of feeling many Alexandria’s held toward Washington. Ann, born in 1804, was the daughter of Mary and William Rudd. The family immigrated to Alexandria from England sometime prior to 1815 and William leased a dwelling and shop on Prince Street. Click on image for detail.
1817, silk on linen, Ann Tottington Rudd, Alexandria. Photograph by Anna Frame.