The Lee-Fendall House, located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is a showcase of American history. Since its construction in 1785, the house has served as home to thirty-seven members of the Lee family (1785-1903), hundreds of convalescing Union soldiers during the American Civil War (1863-1865), Alexandria’s locally prominent Downham family (1903-1937), and one of our nation’s most controversial and significant 20th century labor leaders, John L. Lewis (1937-1969).
Lee-Fendall House Listed as a 2017 TOP WEDDING VENDOR
Virginia Living magazine has identified the Lee-Fendall House again as one of Virginia’s top wedding vendors for 2016. Virginia Living’s editors reviewed thousands of vendors in over 30 categories, and selected only those who are recognized for consistently delivering the highest quality products and customer service. See Virginia Living’s current issue on newsstands now!
ALEXANDRIA AND LEE-FENDALL HOUSE OFFER “MERCY STREET” INSPIRED PROGRAMS
As part of city-wide experiences throughout Alexandria, the Lee-Fendall House offers monthly programs inspired by the PBS drama, “Mercy Street.” These programs are also available by request for groups and bus tours (10 person minimum, two weeks advance notice required). Lee-Fendall House will offer two returning programs (From Slavery to Freedom and Beyond the Battlefield) and one new tour (This Tide of Wounded: The Lee-Fendall House as Civil War Hospital). A special lecture on furniture maker James Green, a major character portrayed in “Mercy Street,” will also be featured.
For program details, please see individual listings below.
For a complete list of “Mercy Street” inspired offerings in Alexandria, please visit our partners at Visit Alexandria!
“THIS TIDE OF WOUNDED” – THE LEE-FENDALL HOUSE AS CIVIL WAR HOSPITAL: Saturdays, January 21, February 4, and February 18, 10:00 AM
This special tour of the museum and grounds highlights the Lee-Fendall House’s role as a hospital during the Civil War. Highlights include themes addressed in the PBS series “Mercy Street,” including nursing, soldiers, civilians, medical practices, and free people of color. . Tickets are $8.00 in advance through the museum’s Online Store, or $10.00 the day of the program. Tour space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 – 2 hours.
“FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM” – The African-American Experience at Lee-Fendall House: Saturdays, January 21, February 4, and February 18, 2:00 PM
This special tour interprets the Lee-Fendall House from the perspective of its enslaved inhabitants, exploring the unique experiences of slavery in the city. Hear the true stories of “contrabands,” as seen in the PBS drama “Mercy Street.” The tour will include special access to areas which are not regularly open to the public. Admission to the program is $8.00 in advance through the museum’s Online Store, and $10.00 the day of the program. Tour space is limited. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 – 2 hours.
JAMES GREEN AND THOMAS DAY – FURNITURE, FAMILY, and RACE in 19th CENTURY VIRGINIA: Saturday, March 18, 2:00 PM
Join Hal Stuart, author of Virginia Sectional Furniture 1800-1860, for a comparison of two of 19th century Virginia’s most successful furniture makers – James Green of Alexandria (one of the historical figures portrayed in the PBS drama “Mercy Street”) and African-American entrepreneur Thomas Day. Admission is $5.00 in advance through the museum’s Online Store, $7.00 the day of the program. Space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended.
“BEYOND THE BATTLEFIELD” – CIVIL WAR WALKING TOUR OF ALEXANDRIA: Saturday, March 25, 10:00 AM
The Lee-Fendall House will offer “Beyond the Battlefield,” a guided walking tour of Civil War sites in Historic Old Town on March 25. The tour will begin at 10:00 AM outside The Lyceum at 201 South Washington Street. Participants will see locations and stories associated with soldiers, citizens, and the enslaved, including the occupation of Alexandria and emancipation. Stops on the tour will include locations to be featured in the upcoming PBS drama, “Mercy Street,” which airs in January 2016. The tour will last approximately 2.5 hours and the tour route is approximately 1.75 miles. Tickets are $15 in advance through the museum’s Online Store, or $20.00 the day of the program. Tour space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and bring bottled water. FREE for Members!
PLEASE NOTE: The Lyceum parking lot WILL NOT be available to attendees of this program. Please find alternate parking.
THE GENERAL’S TOUR
The Lee-Fendall House offers “The General’s Tour,” a guided walking tour of Robert E. Lee sites in Alexandria’s Historic Old Town. The tour will begin at the Lee-Fendall House at 614 Oronoco Street, and will highlight locations and stories associated with the Confederate general’s life in Alexandria, his hometown from the age of five and residence of his “earliest and oldest friends.” The tour will last approximately 90 minutes. Tickets are available in advance for $10 through the museum’s Online Store, or for $15 at the door. Tour space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.
Bill Fendall Trust Established
The Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation has established the Bill Fendall Trust as an endowment for ongoing support of the Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden. William Gray (Bill) Fendall passed away on October 10, 2014, designating the Lee-Fendall as the sole beneficiary of his estate.
“Thanks to a generous gift, the Bill Fendall Trust provides a means to plan for capital expenditures through growth over time and build reserves to meet those future needs as they arise,” observed Dr. Patricia Sanders, President of the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation. “With long-term sustainability assured, the Lee-Fendall is at last, after 40 years of operations, in a position to mount a credible capital campaign to address deferred maintenance and make facility improvements.”
Bill Fendall was a descendant of John Fendall, the older brother of Philip Richard Fendall who had the Lee-Fendall House built. Philip Fendall served with the American delegation to France during the Revolutionary War and was an early Alexandria civic leader. Bill Fendall grew up in Oregon. After his graduation from the University of Oregon, Bill joined the United States Air Force, served in the Pacific during World War II, and received a Purple Heart for his actions in the Korean War. Upon retirement from military service, Bill and his wife, Frances Elizabeth (Bette), returned to Oregon. Bill and Bette are buried in Arlington Cemetery.
Bill was a long-time member of the Society of the Lees of Virginia and was a regular donor to the Lee-Fendall House. After the death of John L. Lewis, Bill and Bette considered purchasing the structure. That did not occur, but Bill continued to think affectionately of the Lee-Fendall House, as evidenced by his bequest.
“This endowment will not alleviate the necessity to continually raise funds for the operating expenses of the House and Garden,” explained Dr. Sanders. “What it does is significantly help to ensure that Lee-Fendall’s historic and educational mission can endure.”
To meet long-term needs, the principal of the Bill Fendall Trust will be invested conservatively for growth with the guidance of a professional money manager.
WELCOME TO JLW VOLUNTEERS!
The Lee-Fendall House welcomes it’s new summer placement volunteers from the Junior League of Washington!
The JLW provides up to three junior placement volunteers annually who support the museum’s daily operations. In addition, the JLW provides additional assistance upon request for many of the museum’s larger programs, such as our annual Easter Egg Hunt and Candlelight Tours.
This year’s volunteers are Ginny Robbins, Christine Washington, and Samantha Yeider. Welcome!
For more information on how the Junior League of Washington supports the local community, visit their website.
“the lees of alexandria during the war of 1812”
A new exhibit on the experiences of the Lee family in Alexandria during the War of 1812, “Their Fates Intertwined: The Lees of Alexandria in the War of 1812” examines the contributions of Alexandria’s citizens during the conflict that led to the writing of our national anthem through the lives of this iconic Virginia family.
BECOME A MEMBER and support Lee-Fendall House Museum!
Did you know we receive no public funding or tax revenue? It is only through YOUR generous donations that we can keep our doors open and put on events, education programs, and exhibits. Becoming a Member of Lee-Fendall House or renewing your membership is the perfect way to support our small museum! There are many levels of membership: Individual ($50), Family (good for up to 4 people, $75), Contributor ($100), Supporter ($225), and Patron ($500). Members enjoy free admission to the museum for a year (with membership card), discounts in our gift shop, special pricing on events, advance notice on events and programs, and more!
This year we are expanding and improving our membership program, so this is the perfect time to either renew or join for the first time!