The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce

The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce With more than 800 member businesses ranging from one-of-a-kind small businesses to leading global organizations, The Chamber ALX ensures a thriving future for Alexandria and welcomes all who do business here.

In late 1906, a group of Alexandria's business leaders came together with the idea of forming an organization to assure business standards, to work toward better business conditions and to serve as an active voice in framing public policies affecting the business community. That organization was called the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce and pioneered a new form of business representation, advocacy and service. The following year the Alexandria Chamber went on to become a founding member of the newly organized United States Chamber of Commerce. W.A. Smoot, Jr. served as the first president of the Alexandria Chamber with the mission of providing a voice for those engaged in business. The Alexandria Chamber also serves as a catalyst for registering and mobilizing business opinion for the betterment of the community. There have been many changes over the years, however, our fundamental concept and mission has remained unchanged. The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization dedicated to the advocacy of business interests. The Chamber has played a key leadership role by:

lobbying to keep Alexandria's tax rates among the lowest in Northern Virginia;
promoting public parking opportunities in the City's historic district;
supporting the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project;
Launching the Alexandria Education Partnership to ensure a bright future for Alexandria's youth; and promoting quality commercial development to ensure Alexandria's economic stability for years to come. Today, the City of Alexandria is thriving and the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce continues to provide vital services to its members and takes the lead in striving to maintain the balance of high quality of life and economic vitality.

Operating as usual

Be sure to check out Inova Health System's Blood Donor Services page!

Be sure to check out Inova Health System's Blood Donor Services page!

If you have blood type “B”, your gift of time is the gift of life to a patient undergoing a complex medical procedure. Will you make an appointment to donate? Call us at 1-866-BLOODSAVES to make your impact. #inovabloodsaves #heroesgiveblood

It is not too late to sign up for Rush Cycle - West Alex's Charity Ride!

It is not too late to sign up for Rush Cycle - West Alex's Charity Ride!

2021 Celebrate Women Awards Nominations Open Awards will Honor Women on the Front Lines of PandemicAlexandria, VA -- We ...
Alexandria Celebrates Women

2021 Celebrate Women Awards Nominations Open Awards will Honor Women on the Front Lines of Pandemic

Alexandria, VA -- We have been inspired for centuries by women who stepped up and led the way in Alexandria. This past year, many women have worked and volunteered an exceptional number of hours on the front lines – delivering mail and packages, ensuring our food supply, teaching our children, caring for our health and safety, and many other efforts helping the Alexandria community battle COVID-19.

Do you know someone whose dedicated efforts have impacted Alexandria in a positive way? Whose efforts provide inspiration and who deserves to be recognized for her outstanding contributions to our community during the pandemic?

To honor women who have gone above and beyond during this crisis, Alexandria Celebrates Women is proud to host the first Celebrate Women Awards Monday March 29. This Women’s History Month awards ceremony will replace the Alexandria Commission for Women’s annual Salute to Women.

The Celebrate Women Awards will be a FREE online event – highlighting five women through biographical videos.

Event: 2021 Celebrate Women Awards (FREE online event)
Date: Monday March 29, 2021
Time: 7 p.m. ET

Help us to honor extraordinary women who are helping us all through extraordinary times.

To nominate your favorite woman on the front lines, please visit Alexandria Celebrates Women

Nominations close at midnight March 15, 2021.

Alexandria Celebrates Women (ACW) recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of Alexandria, Virginia’s women of the past, present and future. The volunteer 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization acknowledges the distinguished history of Alexandria’s heroines while celebrating the empowerment of Alexandria’s modern woman.

Exploring Alexandria, Virginia Women’s History and the Empowerment of Alexandria's Modern Woman

Check out Rush Cycle - West Alex's Black History Month Ride on February 27th!

Check out Rush Cycle - West Alex's Black History Month Ride on February 27th!

What's everyone eating this week? Comment below with recommendations. #alxdiningpledge

What's everyone eating this week? Comment below with recommendations. #alxdiningpledge

If you are looking for a great year round gift idea or just want to treat yourself, please consider purchasing a Queen B...

If you are looking for a great year round gift idea or just want to treat yourself, please consider purchasing a Queen Bee Designs gift card to use now or later.

Thank you to my sweet friends who are helping to support me during this awful time after the carjacking and Sunday’s fall. It’s been a very rough week. People are asking me what they can do for me. I’m looking for a HAND UP not a hand out. Consider purchasing a @thequeenbeedesigns gift card and showing some small business love. Strong women need help too💪🏻 #SupportSmallBusiness #ShopSmall #OTBD #ALXCommunity #ExtraordinaryALX #CommunityMatters #BeeSafe 🐝

Looking for professional headshot services during the pandemic?Jason Dixson Photography is excited to announce Heroic He...
Home - Heroic Headshots

Looking for professional headshot services during the pandemic?

Jason Dixson Photography is excited to announce Heroic Headshots ( Their mission is to serve anyone in need of professional headshot services during the pandemic by providing high-quality, affordable, and easily accessible headshots using only your cell phone!

This is the first service of its kind. Do this from home, or anywhere in the world. The process takes only 15 minutes.

1) Sign up at to watch the tutorial
2) Photograph your own headshot using your mobile phone
3) Upload to their service where one of our world-class photo editors will replace the backdrop, retouch skin/hair, and create a headshot that you are proud of!

Use promo code HHFEB50 to get 50% off in the month of February 2021

We're excited for you to try it out at!

Create a professional headshot from home using only your cell phone! You take the photo, our professional photoshop editors handle the rest.

Become a Red Cross Volunteer Today!

Become a Red Cross Volunteer Today!

Make sure you check out the Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale THIS WEEKEND!

Make sure you check out the Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale THIS WEEKEND!

Who's ready to score some amazing deals at the walkable Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale February 6th and 7th?


Congratulations to the following Chamber Members on being named Reader’s Choice by The Zebra Press - GOOD News in Alexandria, VA

Bar/Sports Bar (TIE)
Cafe 44

Rocklands Real BBQ

Port City Brewing Company

Holy Cow Del Ray

Catering (TIE)
Bittersweet Catering
Cafe 44

Hard Times Cafe

French Restaurant

Irish Pub
Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub

Outdoor Dining
Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap

Lena's Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap

Raw Bar
Hank’s Oyster Bar

Restaurant with a View
Cafe 44

Hank’s Oyster Bar

Waterfront Dining
Vola's Dockside Grill & Hi-Tide Lounge

Addiction Services/Counseling
Del Ray Psych & Wellness, LLC

Assisted Living Home
Brandywine Senior Living

Chrysalis Chiropractic of Alexandria

Gym/Health Center
Sport&Health Old Town

Inova Alexandria Hospital

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

Mind/Body Services
Four Directions Wellness

Physical Therapist
The Physical Therapy Zone

Del Ray Psych & Wellness

Kositzka, Wicks and Company

After-School Center
The Campagna Center

Artisan Jewelry

Lonnie C. Rich Family First Law Group, PLLC

Auto Dealer
Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota

Burke & Herbert Bank

Beauty Waxing
Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

Old Town Books

The Old Town Shop

Carpet Cleaning
Hadeed Carpet

Becker Electric Company

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

Fine Jewelry
King's Jewelry - Old Town Alexandria

Arlandria Floors

Funeral Services
Demaine Funeral Home

Garden Center
Greenstreet Gardens Of Virginia

Golf Course
Mount Vernon Country Club

Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria

TJ Fannon & Sons

Landscape Services
Rosemont Landscaping and Lawncare

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

Realtor (Individual or Team)
The Jen Walker Team

Realtor Company
McEnearney Associates

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

Doggie Day Care Center
Whole Dogz

Pet Groomer
From Head to Tail Grooming Spa

Overnight Kennel
Whole Dogz

Pet Store
Whole Dogz

Just in time for all the February holidays - check out this great offer from Alexandria Restaurant Partners:Enjoy 20% of...

Just in time for all the February holidays - check out this great offer from Alexandria Restaurant Partners:

Enjoy 20% off Catering & To Go from Alexandria Restaurant Partners 🌮❤️🍔❤️🍕
Use promo code ARPdirect to get 20% off pickup or delivery now through March 15th when you order at or on the restaurant websites!

For catering orders, email [email protected] or call 571-723-3369.

View catering menus (including their new Build Your Own Taco and Burger Bars!) for Theismann's, Mia's Italian Kitchen and Riverside Taco Company on their websites under the Private Events tab or via the links below.

Who's ready to score some amazing deals at the walkable Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale February 6th and 7th?

Who's ready to score some amazing deals at the walkable Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale February 6th and 7th?

We hope you will join us in taking the #ALXDiningPledge this winter. And with #ALXrestaurantweek to go starting tomorrow...

We hope you will join us in taking the #ALXDiningPledge this winter.

And with #ALXrestaurantweek to go starting tomorrow, it's easier than ever to support local restaurants.

Please feel free to share the graphic below with your social networks to encourage all Alexandrians to take the pledge.

How do we preserve and rebuild a viable retail industry in the metropolitan Washington DC area?Join George Mason Univers...
Webinar: Remaking our Third Places - Rethinking Retail | AIA|DC

How do we preserve and rebuild a viable retail industry in the metropolitan Washington DC area?

Join George Mason University as they co-host this all day symposium on "Remaking our Third Places - Rethinking Retail"

Date Thursday, February 11 2021 Time 9:30am-4:30pm Location Virtual This is a time of unprecedented disruption in main street businesses. Restaurants and street-front retail, the social gathering third places that make urban living vibrant, are struggling. Foot traffic has plunged. Consumer behavior...


Browne Academy's Annual Auction is coming up May 1, 2021! See below for ways to get involved!

Browne Academy's annual auction supports the operating expenses of the school. But unlike any other year, this year, we've incurred and will continue to incur unexpected expenses due to the pandemic. Keeping our campus open for
in-person instruction plays an important role in the social and emotional development of our students with their peers.

Click here for more information:


ICYMI: Last Night's Community Information Session on the redevelopment of Landmark.

Landmark Redevelopment Community Information Session

Congratulations to past Chamber Chair Joan Renner of Renner and Company CPA! VSCPA Announces Inaugural Women to Watch Aw...

Congratulations to past Chamber Chair Joan Renner of Renner and Company CPA!

VSCPA Announces Inaugural Women to Watch Awards

The Virginia Society of CPAs (VSCPA) champions the accomplishments of women in the accounting
profession and has created the Women to Watch Awards for established and emerging female leaders in
the accounting profession. Winners will be recognized at the second annual Women’s Leadership Forum
in December.
In 1898, when Christine Ross became the first woman to pass the CPA Exam, it took nearly two years
for her state to accept her as Certified Public Accountant. When Nella Ebert, who was certified in
California in 1951, was applying for accounting positions, she had to include her height and weight
on her résumé. Today women make up 60 percent of the accounting field, yet fewer than 20 percent
hold top leadership positions.
The CPA profession owes a lot to its female pioneers, past and present, and the VSCPA is committed
increasing their presence among the profession’s elite leadership. We are proud to highlight the
accomplishments of women in the profession who demonstrate leadership, support the development of
future female leaders, and fight for workplace evolution geared toward leveling the playing field.
The VSCPA is proud to honor Joan M. Renner, CPA, CGMA, shareholder at Renner and Company in
Alexandria, as the Experienced Leader Award winner for her long track record of promoting strong
female leaders in the profession. On her selection, Renner said, “I am honored to receive this
award and grateful to the VSCPA for selecting me. I am also grateful for the individuals who helped
me learn, provided me with opportunities to grow and supported my efforts along the way. Providing
that kind of support to future leaders is really the point of the Women’s Leadership Forum.”
Emerging Leader honoree Iris Wigodsky Laws, CPA, senior associate at Dixon Hughes Goodman in
Richmond, founded and chairs the Richmond Emerging Leaders Network. “At the end of the day, it’s
the teams I’ve been a part of and the people within those teams that keep me motivated to advance
the profession and the careers of those around me,” Laws said.
The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) is the leading professional
association in the Commonwealth dedicated to empowering CPAs to thrive. Founded in 1909, the VSCPA
has more than 13,500 members who work in public accounting, corporate finance, government and
education. For more information about the VSCPA, visit, email [email protected] or call
(804) 612-9440.

We wish all our members and friends a very happy and healthy 2021! #HappyNewYear #2021 #AlexandriaVA

We wish all our members and friends a very happy and healthy 2021! #HappyNewYear #2021 #AlexandriaVA

Did you spot the vintage Chamber ALX member stickers in #ww1984 ? 🎬🍿Shout out to AlexNoVAHistory for catching this one!

Did you spot the vintage Chamber ALX member stickers in #ww1984 ? 🎬🍿Shout out to AlexNoVAHistory for catching this one!

Did you know that Alexandria's Landmark Mall plays a supporting role in the new #WonderWoman1984 film? Learn more below!
Visit Alexandria VA

Did you know that Alexandria's Landmark Mall plays a supporting role in the new #WonderWoman1984 film? Learn more below!

Peek behind the scenes of #WonderWoman1984 filming in Alexandria, learn about the Virginia is for Lovers movie prop and peruse Wonder Woman-themed offerings.

Incredible news! We're very excited to see this long awaited project come to fruition in such a fantastic way. #Landmark...

Incredible news! We're very excited to see this long awaited project come to fruition in such a fantastic way. #LandmarkMall

NEWS :: A joint venture that includes Foulger-Pratt, The Howard Hughes Corporation and Seritage Growth Properties today announced an initial agreement with the City and Inova Health System to advance the development of the much-anticipated four million-square-foot community to include a new hospital campus at the site of the former Landmark Mall.

The proposed development would revitalize the West End of Alexandria by transforming the unoccupied, enclosed mall site into a mixed-use, walkable urban village. Inova, the leading nonprofit health care provider in Northern Virginia, would invest $1 billion to create a new medical campus, anchored by the relocation and expansion of its Alexandria Hospital and more than 2,000 health care workers. Development plans on the balance of the site include residential, retail, commercial, and entertainment offerings integrated into a cohesive neighborhood with a central plaza, a network of parks and public spaces, and a transit hub serving bus rapid transit (BRT), DASH, and Metrobus. Affordable and workforce housing would be enhanced through developer contributions and co-location with community facilities such as a new Alexandria Fire-EMS station. Construction at Landmark could begin as soon as 2023, with the first buildings delivered in 2025.

“This plan for the future of the Landmark site is exciting, long-awaited news for our community,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “The project would be a catalyst for the West End, providing significant benefits for Alexandria and the region at a time when focus on our long-term future is critical. Inova Alexandria Hospital has been an anchor in our city for generations, and a new, modern hospital facility at Landmark would be the perfect site for the world-class care that is synonymous with Inova. This redevelopment would bolster our economy, providing mixed-income housing, new municipal facilities and services, and new open space in support of the health, wellness and quality of life of our entire community.”

Visit for the full announcement.

Alexandria’s special edition board game is now available for The Chamber ALX members to pre-order! Roll the dice and tra...

Alexandria’s special edition board game is now available for The Chamber ALX members to pre-order!

Roll the dice and travel to historical landmarks from the Waterfront to the West End. No matter which space you land on, you’ll see how this city charmed residents and visitors from around the world. Explore one of our nation’s most fascinating cities from the comfort of your living room.

Reserve your set (or ten) today!

1 Box - $40 each
10+ Boxes - $35 each

Bulk orders (10+ boxes) available TODAY!
Bulk and individual orders available starting 1/4/2021

Email us directly at [email protected] to place your order!

Promotion from Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria!This package is the gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy Deluxe Accommodatio...
Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria

Promotion from Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria!

This package is the gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy Deluxe Accommodations, a 2pm late checkout, Complimentary Daily Parking and 2000 IHG points per stay redeemable for a future getaway. Bookable until January 2, 2021.

Enjoy our boutique Old Town Alexandria Hotel located at one of the busiest ports in early America. Hotel Indigo Old Town Alexandria showcases the colonial charm of the area.

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Releases “Sure on This Shining Night”A*O Shares Virtual Message of Hope and Healing with t...
Sure on This Shining Night

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Releases “Sure on This Shining Night”

A*O Shares Virtual Message of Hope and Healing with the Community

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (A*O) in collaboration with the Alexandria Choral Society (ACS) has released its virtual winter concert featuring A*O musicians and a guest appearance by ACS singers. The 34-minute video Sure on This Shining Night: A Musical Message of Hope will be available on YouTube until the end of December.
“The question for the Alexandria Symphony has been how music can contribute at this fraught moment to finding a more accepting and empathetic, less partisan, common ground,” says A*O Music Director James Ross. “What can bring us together, even if apart? This project is our answer to that question.”

Program highlights include harp melodies near the hearth, a Swedish holiday song with voice and guitar, Prokokiev’s Troika (Sleigh Ride) with brass quintet, and the “Pastorale” from Handel’s Messiah. The centerpiece is an appeal for kindness and healing: Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on This Shining Night for chorus and strings produced with the Alexandria Choral Society.

“At a time when so many of us will not be with family and friends over the holidays, the A*O's musical message of hope is a poignant and meaningful alternative to a greeting card or stocking stuffer,” says A*O Board President Melynda Wilcox.
Corporate and individual sponsors covered the production costs of the project and allowed them early access to the virtual concert. Through sharing with friends, family and clients, the virtual concert already has had over 1,100 views. A*O offers a special thank you to the presenting sponsor Harriett G. McCune, a member of the A*O Board of Trustees, and to Donnie Wintermute, the event chair.

From a viewer who received early access to the video from a sponsor, “I was overwhelmed by the beauty, the spirit and the message of the music. I dropped everything and listened to the end. This has to be my biggest blessing of the season.”
“Music has the power to uplift and inspire both listeners and performers,” says A*O Executive Director George Hanson. “We hope to bring this shared musical experience of hope and togetherness to the widest possible audience. The A*O board, staff and musicians consider this our holiday gift to the community.”

To access the video visit: through December 31. More information about the program is posted on the A*O’s dedicated webpage:

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra presents Sure on This Shining Night: A Message of Hope. The virtual holiday concert features A*O musicians and the Alexandria C...


333 N. Fairfax Street, Ste 302
Alexandria, VA

General information

Visit our website at for more information on advocacy, membership, and events.

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 15:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 15:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 15:00
Thursday 09:00 - 15:00
Friday 09:00 - 15:00


(703) 549-1000



Be the first to know and let us send you an email when The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce:


Our Story


While we welcome member contributions about Chamber activities to this site, we remind all our members that posts should be of a respectful and collegial nature, in the spirit of our organization. The Chamber’s mission is to foster a robust business environment in the City of Alexandria and the region. In support of this mission, we strive to be diverse, inclusive and respectful of the broad spectrum of political, religious and social views of all businesses and residents. We reserve the right to delete posts that to not conform to this basic tenet of decorum.

Other Public & Government Services in Alexandria

Show All


We received this very nice card from for our Fed. Government Shut Down Special. We at Diya aim to be your "Neighborhood Indian" place, we are very glad that we were able to help the community around us! Please let us know if there are any future opportunities to help lift up our neighbors with food and hospitality.
We're so excited to have Brooklyn Mack, formerly of Washington Ballet, join Metropolitan School of the Arts Nutcracker! Don't miss this spectacular international principle guest dancer! Dec. 8/9 in Alexandria at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Center. #nutcracker
Dear The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce community – We thought you might be interested in our Leadership Coaching for Organizational Well-Being program at George Mason University. The program, which includes certification from the International Coach Federation, is designed for professionals who want to bring positive change to their careers and organizations. Learn more and read our coaching whitepaper here:
Don’t miss Broadway Dance Center elite teachers at Metropolitan School of the Arts' Master Dance Class weekend, Sept. 22 & 23 in Alexandria. Open to the public! Got dance? Join us!
Congrats to our Metropolitan School of the Arts seniors--heading to elite college performing arts programs like Pace and Elon Universities! Keeping dancing!
So excited to celebrate #MetropolitanSchooloftheArts Academy's 5-year anniversary! Dancers, singers, actors in the making!
Don't miss Metropolitan School of the Arts' Snow White Ballet on Sat, May 5 in Annandale! Celebrating Snow White's 80th anniversary! Tix only $15.
“Transforming the Lee Boyhood Home in Alexandria, Virginia into the Headquarters of an Interpretive Center and Urban Walking Trails on the Civil War” Various media sites reported at the end of March 2018 that the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee, at 614 Orinoco Street, in Alexandria, Virginia, is being sold by its private owners. The sale of the historic home of the Civil War general, educator, and pre-war head of West Point presents a unique opportunity to make Old Town Alexandria an even greater center of American history than it already is, as the hometown of George Washington, the Lees, and many other important figures and events in U.S. history. We propose, and ask interested parties to support, the purchase of the Lee Home, and transforming it into the headquarters of a city, state, and/or federally designated Interpretive Center, along with Urban Walking Trails, on the Civil War. Such a headquarters, visitors center and related trails would be a perfect complement to, and spur to, the expansion of Old Town Alexandria’s already rich array of events, locales, and personalities relating to America’s greatest saga, the Civil War, which speaks to the proud heritage of all Americans. The Lee Home was in the past a museum, and is time to return it to its traditional, historic status. The abode was the boyhood home of Robert Edward Lee, the former superintendant of the Federal Army’s West Point military academy, and important staff officer during the Mexican-American War, then the Confederate commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, and after the war the President of what became Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, VA. Across the street from the well-maintained private residence and grounds is the Lee-Fendall House, built by businessman Philip Kendall, a Lee relation. During the Civil War the Union Army, after taking control of the town, turned the house into a hospital, where surgeons performed the first successful blood transfusion. (And outside of which a later owner, United Mine Workers leader John L. Lewis, was burned in effigy during World War II for staging labor strikes during that conflict.) Walking trails, along the lines of the self-guided Cultural Tourism walks in Washington, D.C., or Boston’s Freedom Trails, could be readily & fairly inexpensively constructed throughout Old Town. They would complement the historic markers the city has recently placed in Old Town, as well as the famed series of markers the state of Virginia has placed throughout the Commonwealth. There could be a multitude of trails, on different aspects of the war, such the Union Army, Confederate spies, African-American institutions, war-time medicine, and many other themes. The trails would be made up of attractive posters showing the trail map, explanatory text, and illustrations. Along with fostering interest in Alexandria’s history and scholarship on the war, the Center and trails would be a boon to the city’s economy by bolstering its growing tourism industry. -------------------- A brief outline of the historic places just on a major Old Town thoroughfare, Washington Street, just yards west of the Lee and Lee-Fendall homes, shows what a unique opportunity the area presents for exploring the Civil War. On the west side of Washington Street is the historic home of Edmund Lee, a backer of the American Colonization Society for free “men and women of color”, which led to the establishment of the African nation of Liberia. (Liberia’s capital city is Monrovia, named for one of the antebellum Presidents, James Monroe, who held inaugural festivities at Old Town’s Gadsby’s Tavern.) Within a block to the north is a vast, 1840s-era cotton mill (now condominiums), the perfect symbol of the antebellum South’s economy. Several blocks south on Washington St. is the stately Lloyd House. It became a schoolhouse for noted Quaker educator Benjamin Hallowell; one of his math students was the young Robert E. Lee, who went on to study engineering at West Point. Another prominent Alexandria Quaker family were the Janneys. John Janney ran the two state assemblies whereby Virginia decided against, and then for, seceding from the Union. (John Janney’s home is three blocks away.) Around the corner is the Kate Waller Barrett Library, where in 1939 a group of African-American men staged one of the first sit-down protests against “separate but equal” segregationism. Not far from where Mary Custis Lee--the elderly daughter of Robert E. Lee--had a similar, personal protest, in 1902, on one of the segregated trolley cars of the time. (The home of town heroine Kate Waller Barrett, who grew up on a post-bellum plantation and dedicated her life to public service, is several blocks to the southeast.) A block further south is the magnificent English country-style edifice, Christ Church, by the architect James Wren, designer of the eponymous church in Falls Church, Virginia, and descendent of Christopher Wren, architect of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Confederate soldiers who died in the city’s many war-time hospitals are buried in mounds by the Church entrance. In the Church itself is a commemoration of its most prominent member, Washington, who freed and educated all his slaves based in part on his experiences with black soldiers in the American Revolution. Robert E. Lee contributed a substantial sum of money to the Church. Across the street and a block north you’ll find a house of the Society of Odd Fellows, a fraternal order of black and other professionals formed after the conflict. One of whose members was the black architect George Seaton, whose mother was a servant of Martha Washington, who endowed a school on the site. Seaton served on the jury that presided over the trial of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. (Seaton’s own home is located a half a dozen blocks away.) Two blocks further south on Washington St. is the Appomattox statue, with its Confederate soldier meditating on the war and the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse by General Lee to General Ulysses S Grant. The bronze figure was sculpted by Czech immigrant Caspar Buberle, who created as well the elegant frieze of Union Army soldiers on the old Pension Building for Union Army veterans, in Washington, D.C., now the National Building Museum. Buberle was selected for that task by Union Army General Montgomery Miegs, designer of Arlington National Cemetery, originally laid out on the grounds of Lee’s Arlington House during the war. The Appomattox statue was unveiled in 1889 by Virginia Governor Fitzhugh Lee, nephew of Robert E. Lee, and a former Confederate general, as well as a future Federal Army general of the Spanish-American War. This intersection at Washington St. and Duke St. is primed with poignant reminders of many facets of the Civil War. Next to the statue is the Lyceum, Alexandria’s history museum, and a speakers hall that featured such ante-bellum luminaries as John Quincy Adams, the President and congressman responsible for the successful Supreme Court defense of the escaped slaves from the Amistad ship. Half a block north is the attractive façade of the United Methodist Church which, reflecting the nation’s divisions, split into North and South denominations in the run-up to the War Between the States. Occupied as a stable by the Union Army, the federal government later paid the Church restitution. One block further south is the Beulah Baptist Church, one of the town’s initial African-American places of worship, and one of its first black schools, noted for the education of the free men and women fleeing, or emancipated from, slavery. Prominent African-American leaders such as Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass visited it and other, extant black churches a few blocks to the south and west. Up the street from the Beulah Church is the Downtown Baptist Church, turned into a hospital where Alexandrian women were blocked by Union soldiers from bringing linen and food to wounded Confederate soldiers treated inside by Union doctors. Another block south of it is the Alexandria Academy, founded by George Washington as a free public school, for boys and girls, at the same time he endowed what became Washington and Lee University and George Washington University. Before the Civil War, children of James Madison and Lighthorse Harry Lee, the latter Washington’s cavalry commander and Robert E. Lee’s father, were educated there, as were groups of black children. During the Civil War, the Academy became a school and a hospital for freedmen. The amazingly rich Civil War heritage of Alexandria isn’t limited to Washington St. of course. Old Town and its environs boast scores of other sites. The heritage trails would connect all the sites, but in a compact area only several miles across. Several of the most prominent locales are: • The Carlyle Mansion, home to the Green family and a Union Army hospital that was the real-life locale of the “Mercy Street” PBS television series • The Marshall House hotel, now the site of the Alexandrian Hotel, where Union Colonel Elmer Ellsworth and pro-Southern hotel owner James W. Jackson killed each other in a firefight, over a Confederate flag that Jackson had unfurled at his hotel, thus becoming among the first fatalities of the war. • The unique “Bank of the Two States”, a grand merchant bank that hosted the twin, war-time governments of Union Virginia, as opposed to the Confederate state of Virginia, including the breakaway state of West Virginia. Confederate General John Mosby, later a U.S. ambassador in the Far East for President Grant, conducted secret war-time surveillance of the place. • The former publishing house of the Alexandria Gazette newspaper, burned by Union troops after its editorials backed the refusal of the reverend of a nearby church, designed by architect of the U.S. Capitol Benjamin Latrobe, to endorse “either President”, Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis, in his sermons. The fire-blackened walls are still visible, as is the fire house, across the street (now a private home), whose firemen attempted to douse the blaze. • Various sites associated with Harriet Jacobs, a enslaved woman of mixed heritage turned abolitionist, author, and college founder. Jacobs founded various charities and schools for escaped, “contraband” slaves and freedmen in war-torn and post-bellum Alexandria. • The grand Vowell-Smith House, Old Town’s second-largest house, and home of attorney Francis Smith. Smith successfully argued before the Supreme Court a case under which the federal government paid Robert E. Lee’s heirs compensation for the transformation of his Arlington House property into what became Arlington National Cemetery. -------------------- This notion for an interpretative visitors center and walking trails on Alexandria’s large role in the Civil War is a preliminary one. It is hoped this document will spur discussion and generate interest in this fascinating and educational topic. The next step may be to establish a group to attract interested parties and funds for the purchase of the Lee Home, and to begin planning its transformation into a Civil War museum and interpretative center, as well as the construction of themed walking trails in Old Town. If you or your organization is intrigued by this exciting, once-in-a century project of living history, kindly respond with interest and ideas. Together, we could transform Alexandria into one of the prime places in America--along with Gettysburg, Richmond, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.--on the exploration of the Civil War, America’s most enthralling saga! Respectfully yours, Edward P. Moser Historian, author, professional tour guide Alexandria, VA [email protected]