Alexandria, VA

The Office of Historic Alexandria is closed, as are many historic locations around Alexandria, but the office is nonetheless offering digital tours of those facilities for those stuck at home and looking to scratch that local history itch.

Two of the current focuses for the Office of Historic Alexandria are American Civil War hospitals and profiles related to the Lee-Fendall House. Both are offered through Vamonde, a travel website that offers a platform to post information about localities.

There are eight hospitals profiled throughout Alexandria, including a converted church and a hotel where — like now — low occupancy meant there was room to house and treat those in need. Many of the properties converted were targeted because of the owners’ Confederate sympathies. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a minister was allegedly arrested during the way for not including a prayer for Abraham Lincoln in his Sunday service and the church was closed.

Alexandria’s hospitals during the Civil War were also the subject of the short-lived PBS show Mercy Street.

The profiles at the Lee-Fendall House run the gamut of time periods, from its construction in 1785 to its occupancy in the 1960s’ by labor leader John L. Lewis. The profiles also range the class spectrum, from a wealthy local merchant to free black women who maintained the house after the Civil War.

A behind-the-scenes tour of the interior of the building is also available through the Office of Historic Alexandria.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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