What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.
Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.
This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.
The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.
- Pot enthusiasts quiet in early days of legalization in Alexandria
- Alexandria sees 90 COVID cases in July, another death
- Local historians profile former slave in Alexandria who struggled to rescue his family
- Alexandria man caught with gun at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport checkpoint
- New Potomac Yard luxury condo community sells 30% of properties before construction starts
- Testing for Alexandria’s controversial stream restoration work starts next week
- Two years after massive flooding, city moves forward with Holmes Run trail restoration
- Del Ray licensed family counselor completely booked since launching in May
- Alexandria businesses advised to sharpen e-commerce as consumer patterns evolve
- Alexandria swimming pools operating with reduced hours, residents signing waitlists with capacity overload
- Without annual music festival, Del Ray is celebrating with a bar crawl
- Del Ray affordable housing completes long-awaited overhaul
- Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
- Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
- Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
- Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
- No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
- DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
- ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
- After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
- New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
- Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
- Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs
Have a safe weekend!
Look, don’t go around telling people we told you this, but there’s going to be a little booze and a little dancing at the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden in September.
The museum is hosting a “secret” speakeasy fundraiser that both pays homage to Old Town’s bootlegging legacy and will help raise money to support the rebuild of a collapsed historic wall on the property.
“The 20s are back in a big way!” the museum said on the event page. “Please join the friends, board, and staff of the Lee-Fendall House Museum in our historic garden on Saturday, September 25th for Sips & Secrets: A Speakeasy Night.”
The home was once owned by a liquor wholesaler, though the museum admitted the connection to Prohibition-era bootlegging is more tenuous.
“Sips & Secrets honors Lee-Fendall House’s Prohibition-era history, when we were home to one of Alexandria’s liquor wholesalers (and possible bootleggers!),” the museum said. “It features lots of fun speakeasy surprises, including dancing to live jazz and ragtime, and costume contest for the best flapper or mobster style, 1920s-style cocktails, and more. This year, the event will raise funds for the repair of our 220-year-old brick garden wall, of which a 70-foot section collapsed in early summer, while also supporting the museum’s ongoing work in historic preservation, education, and community engagement.”
General admission is $85, or $65 for anyone 30 and under. A private reception before the event is VIP only, with tickets priced at $115.
The museum also previously launched a GoFundMe to help pay for repairs to the wall. The repairs are made more expensive for the need to hire technical and historic expertise to utilize the original bricks. The GoFundMe has raised $6,700.
What was an intense week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.
History was made, as the new marquees at Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary Schools were unveiled this week, and the name changes to T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School will go into effect July 1. It’s a victory for civil rights, as the namesakes of both old schools had backgrounds steeped in racism. Maury was a Confederate leader and Williams was an ACPS superintendent who worked intently against racial integration.
City Manager Mark Jinks on Tuesday also announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Jinks, who made the announcement to City Council, hinted to ALXnow last month that he was seeking retirement. Today (Friday, June 25) is also the last day for retiring Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, who will be moving to the West Coast to deal with family matters. Assistant Chief Don Hayes is taking over as acting chief until a national search narrows down a preferred candidate for the job.
Law enforcement events also dominated this week’s coverage. On Tuesday, first responders saved a woman experiencing a mental health crisis who was dangling perilously off the Monroe Avenue Bridge, followed by news Wednesday that a suspect was arrested for a West End murder along with 16 others in a massive racketeering conspiracy. On Thursday, a barricade situation in the West End ended peacefully.
In this week’s poll, when asked whether transit improvements would make residents more likely to take the bus, 48% said they don’t take the bus often and won’t likely change their habits; 38% said they don’t often take the bus, although transit improvements might change that; and 14% said that they already frequent the Metro and DASH bus systems.
- After dual election losses, Mark Levine says he’s deciding his next move
- T.C. Williams High School track stars win big at state championships
- Lee-Fendall House raises over $5,000 to repair collapsed 200-year-old wall
- After more delays, Halal slaughterhouse owner now says he will open in July
- Alexandria songwriter Mia Humphrey wants to take you on an emotional journey
- Old Town and Del Ray business rivals battle for supremacy in softball game
- Alexandria City Public Schools scraps recreation center classroom plans
- Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
- Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
- Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
- Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
- JUST IN: Thieves break into more than 60 vehicles in West End
- JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
- Massive redevelopment of West End apartment building has neighbors worried about street parking impact
- UPDATE: Alexandria first responders save suicidal woman on Monroe Avenue Bridge
- City Council emphasizes marketing funding for Alexandria’s ‘Hot Girl Summer’
- Mother and boyfriend allegedly beaten by knife-wielding ex in Old Town North
- With eviction moratorium expiring, city pushes renters and landlords toward rental assistance
- Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
- BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy
Have a safe weekend!
The garden wall of the historic Lee-Fendall House (614 Oronoco Street) in Old Town took a beating earlier this week, but support from the local community has helped put the wall on the road to repair.
A few days after announcing that a significant portion of the home’s wall had collapsed, the home has raised $5,005 to help boost repair efforts.
“On Saturday, June 12, 2021, a 70-foot portion of the original brick wall surrounding Lee-Fendall’s historic garden collapsed,” the museum said on its fundraising page. “Originally built of hand-formed brick in a Flemish bond pattern over a fieldstone foundation and likely constructed by enslaved workers, the wall dates to around the year 1800 and has been an integral part of our historic fabric. It post-dates the construction of our house by only about 15 years and tells an important part of Lee-Fendall’s story and of Alexandria’s.”
The museum raised $1,000 in the first day of the fundraiser. The Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden has set a goal of $125,000 for the fundraiser, the estimated full-cost for the repair effort. The wall repair is particularly difficult due to the need to have an architectural engineer help plan the repair using the original bricks.
“Museum staff are working closely with Alexandria’s Board of Architectural Review and with local firms specializing in historic masonry preservation on a multi-phase plan to repair the wall,” the museum said. “This will be a major project for the museum, costing over $125,000 in full. Our first and immediate need is for $14,000 in funding to cover the cost of working with an architectural engineer on a plan for the repair which uses the original bricks.”
It’s been a tough week at Lee-Fendall, with the collapse of 70 feet of our c.1800 garden wall – but we are so encouraged by the wonderful support and generosity of the Alexandria community. https://t.co/b9mmqIUieZ pic.twitter.com/WBLmeB97Bx
— Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden (@leefendallhouse) June 23, 2021
220-year-old garden wall at Lee-Fendall House collapses — “About 69 tons of 220-year-old bricks are lying in a pile behind the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden after the property’s thick, historic garden wall collapsed following a torrential downpour earlier this month. This weekend, volunteers carefully moved bricks to make space for a temporary, protective wall around the rubble — and launched a fundraising campaign for the $125,000 or more it will take to rebuild the historic structure.” [Alexandria Living]
Retiring police chief to be recognized by City Council Tuesday — Retiring Police Chief Michael Brown will be recognized Tuesday by City Council, and the city proclamation says that Brown has “dutifully served for four-and one-half years.” [ALXnow]
School Board resumes in-person meetings — “Beginning Thursday, June 17, 2021, School Board Meetings will be held in person and up to 20 members of the public may attend. (This will allow for 6-foot distancing between seats.) Please note: all those in attendance must wear a mask. Please contact the Clerk of the School Board for more information at 703-619-8316 or via email at [email protected]” [ACPS]
Fire Station 203 reopens — “The City has officially completed the new Station 203.The up-to-date facility provides better support for modern fire/EMS apparatus, equipment and operations.” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy (during the day). Hot. High 94F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.. Chance of an isolated thunderstorm in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with more showers at times. Low 72F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Tennis coach — “At Advantage Tennis we are looking for coaches/teachers who like working with all ages, and particularly children, for part-time and seasonal positions. These are hourly positions with potentially as much as 20-35 hours per week in the 3 busy seasons (about 9 months), at multiple locations.” [Indeed]
With the approach of the yuletide season, the Lee-Fendall House (614 Oronoco Street) in Alexandria has decked out the home in full 19th century regalia for candlelight tours.
“Celebrate the holiday season with evening candlelight tours of the Lee-Fendall House decked out in Victorian splendor,” the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden said on Facebook. “Our antique toy exhibit will also be on view.”
The home was originally built in 1785 on land purchased by Major General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee.
The tours are offered every half hour starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. The museum warned that space is limited and reservations will be required. Face masks and social distancing will also be required for tours.
Tickets for the holiday tours are $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-13.
Photo via Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden
Beyer Says Trump Should Not Reject Strict FDA Guidelines for COVID Vaccines — “Political interference with vaccine development and an open feud with FDA can only further damage the public’s already growing safety concerns. Once again, lives may depend on Trump shutting his mouth and letting scientists do their jobs.” [Twitter]
Pizzeria Paradiso Closing in Old Town — “Like many restaurants in Old Town, Pizzeria Paradiso closed when the coronavirus pandemic reached Alexandria. Unfortunately, the beloved pizza restaurant will not be reopening, the owner announced this week.” [Alexandria Living]
Carlyle Farmers’ Market Today from 3-7 P.M. — “Free to the Public; Produce, Meats, Food, and Beverage sales are welcomed. What to Bring? Face Mask and your Social Distancing Etiquette.” [Facebook]
Lee-Fendall House Hosting Virtual Speakeasy Fundraiser — “Enjoy a night of speakeasy-style fun , without leaving your living room! Join us for this special night to support the Lee-Fendall House Museum’s vital work in historic preservation and education – one where you can keep on dancing, break out the booze, and have a ball.” [Visit Alexandria]
Alexandria Sheriff’s Deputy Reads ‘Lost And Found’ — “Chief Deputy Candra Callicott offers her encouragement to young students and the sweet story “Lost and Found” about a boy and a penguin.” [Facebook]
Alexandria Country Day School Hosting Virtual Open House — “ACDS’s small-size and ability to adapt quickly allowed us to open in September with in-person learning under a hybrid model. Join our Head of School, Division Heads, current parents and middle school students to learn more about our student-centered program.” [Patch]
Free Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic on Saturday — “This clinic will be open to adults and adolescents age 12 and over, with a maximum of four people per vehicle.” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s Weather — “Overcast (during the day). High 74F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.Rain showers in the evening will evolve into a more steady rain overnight. Low 63F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Alexandria Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships — “As a member of the City Manager’s Senior Leadership Team, the Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships reports to the City Manager and a Deputy City Manager and is responsible for leading the overall public private partnership (P3) initiatives for the City primarily via capital project planning and financing, leveraging of City assets and resources to implement City infrastructure and facilities, economic development related public sector and private sector projects, as well as facilitating the development and implementation of alternative service delivery strategies.” [Indeed]
After months closed during the pandemic, the Lee-Fendall House and Garden (614 Oronoco Street) in Alexandria has reopened with new tours planned to focus on women and minorities throughout the home’s history.
The house, built in 1785, is a museum dedicated to covering the history of the families that owned the home and the slaves and servants that worked there over the years. In recent years, that has meant a renewed focus on learning more about the slaves that were forced to work at the house for the Lee family.
“As we work to reopen, we are re-dedicated to telling a fuller story,” Martha Withers, Executive Director of the Lee-Fendall House said in a newsletter. “The violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the ensuing protests are reminders of how our nation struggles with racism and injustice born in the past and harbored in the present. We have an obligation not to ignore the racism experienced every day by African Americans and other Americans of color. We must use our knowledge of the past to shed light on these ongoing problems.”
Tours at the facility are limited to ten people or less, with all participants required to wear face masks.
“[The museum] will sanitize high-touch surfaces between each group of visitors and maintain social distancing of six feet during tours,” the museum staff said in the newsletter. “Volunteers, staff, and visitors wear masks in accordance with state regulations.”
The next tour for the house is Under the Same Roof: Enslaved and Free Servants at Lee-Fendall scheduled for Saturday, July 25. Tickets for the program are $10 and must be purchased in advance.
“As we work to broaden this story, we want to become a place where people can engage in historical understanding relevant to current issues,” Withers said. “To that end, we will continue to expand programs and exhibits that examine the lives of enslaved and free African Americans connected to our site, telling a more diverse story from the days of the early Republic through the upheavals of the 1960s.”
Photo via Lee-Fendall House
Del Ray First Thursday Porch Party Today — “The Del Ray Business Association presents First Thursday Porch Party: Red, White, and Blue from 6 p.m. to dusk on Thursday, July 2. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards.” [Facebook]
Major Residential Development Breaks Ground — “About 300 residences and a large parking garage are replacing an old office building in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]
DASH Bus Mobile Tracker Launches — “The new mobile-friendly DASH Tracker is finally here with new features and improved information to make finding your next bus a snap! Where will you go with the new DASH Tracker?” [Facebook]
Al’s Steak House Won’t Have Indoor Seating — “As we enter Phase 3 Al’s will continue not to have indoor seating available. Our space is too small to accommodate customers dining in and customers picking up their orders.The social distancing would be non existent. We do offer two tables for outdoor seating. Al’s will continue to accept call in orders and Delivery.” [Facebook]
Rebuilding Together Alexandria Slowly Getting Back on Track — “Our team was looking for a socially-distant project to get us out of the office and back into the community. We mulched the grounds of local nonprofit, Friends of Guest House. Check out the before and after!” [Facebook]
Mason & Greens Grand Opening Moved Online — “When news about the coronavirus began to spread, the Marinos knew they would have to cancel their big grand opening event.” [Alexandria Living]
Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Open House Saturday — “Explore the history in your own backyard with free, self-guided tours of the Lee-Fendall House on July 4th! Face masks are required and we will be limiting the number of visitors allowed in the museum at one time to allow for social distancing.” [Facebook]
Large Income Disparities in Alexandria — “White Alexandria is pulling in significantly more money than Hispanic workers and African Americans, according to numbers from the United States Census Bureau. A look at average income shows non-Hispanic whites make more than $85,000 a year. That’s more than three times the average income for Hispanic workers, $24,000, and more than twice the average income for black workers, $37,000.” [Gazette]
Water Taxi Returns to Old Town — “A face mask requirement and other safety measures are in place for the limited water taxi service.” [Patch]
Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Hosting Juneteenth Trivia Night — “It’s long been on our calendar to celebrate Juneteenth – marking the legal end of slavery in the United States on June 19th, 1865 – with a trivia night that explores African American culture. We hope you’ll join us on Zoom this Friday night for this special evening! Tickets are FREE, but an optional donation will be split between us, Carlyle House Historic Park, and ALIVE. Pre-registration at our Eventbrite page is required.” [Facebook]
NVTA Recommends Full Funding for Duke Street Transitway — “The Duke Street Transitway was the City of Alexandria’s only request to the NVTA and the cost is estimated at $87 million. Alexandria received $12 million already, so this funding request is for the remaining $75 million.” [Alexandria Living]
North Potomac Yard Virtual Meeting at 7 p.m. — “The Virginia Tech Foundation and JBG SMITH is hosting virtual community meetings to provide information on the design of the proposed buildings and site-wide updates.” [City of Alexandria]
Casa Chirilagua Hosting Fundraiser Sunday — “Casa Chirilagua is a local community nonprofit serving the Central American Latinx community in City of Alexandria zip code 22305 – a hot spot for COVID-19. Because of the health and economic conditions, demand for Casa Chirilagua’s services has become enormous.” [Facebook]
‘Ascend Cycle’ Hosting Virtual Pride Ride — “A $15 minimum donation is requested for this event. 100% of proceeds will be donated. Sign up for the ride online and we’ll text you the Zoom code before class!” [Facebook]
YMCA Reopens in Del Ray — “Your local YMCA at 420 East Monroe Avenue is back in business. It opened for the first time in months this past Monday, June 15, along with the Arlington location. The Y is following a phased approach to reopening so you will see differences when you visit.” [Zebra]
New Job: Assistant Center Manager — “Mathnasium is a highly dynamic and fast-paced and is known for the great care we take with our students and employees alike… We’re looking for an Assistant Center Manager to assist at both our Alexandria City and Mount Vernon centers. The pay range we’re offering is $16-$18/hour depending on center performance.” [Indeed]