Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden

Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden is a historic house museum located in Old Town Alexandria, VA.
(36)

Lee-Fendall is pleased to host Dr. Vanessa Schulman on Friday, January 19th for a lecture on the history of 19th century...
01/05/2024

Lee-Fendall is pleased to host Dr. Vanessa Schulman on Friday, January 19th for a lecture on the history of 19th century American magazines. The lecture will be at 7 PM with a reception afterwards.

While periodicals had been an important part of U.S. literary culture for decades, around 1855 illustrated magazines became an inescapable part of modern life. American magazines in the nineteenth century were not just sources of news and information. They were physical objects, produced in factories using emergent technologies of paper-making, printing, and distribution. Their production was streamlined using new principles of managerial organization. Many of these magazines were also rich sources of experiments in visual journalism. This illustrated talk will uncover how American magazines were made and illustrated, and how they became important sites where readers could visualize their changing world.

Tickets are $10 to the general public and free for museum members. Tickets can be purchased on the Lee-Fendall Eventbrite page: leefendallhouse.eventbrite.com.

The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden is turning 50 in 2024! This historic property was purchased by the Virginia Trust ...
01/04/2024

The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden is turning 50 in 2024! This historic property was purchased by the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation in 1972. After two years of restoration and furnishing the home with historic furniture, it officially opened to the public as a historic house museum in 1974. There will be many celebrations throughout the year - both at the museum and on our social media. We hope you will take part and celebrate this important milestone with us.

Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden will be closed from December 27th through January 3rd for annual cleaning. We can't wa...
12/27/2023

Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden will be closed from December 27th through January 3rd for annual cleaning. We can't wait to see you again when we reopen on Thursday, January 4th!

Lee-Fendall staff and volunteers recently made their way over to the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex for a historic cemet...
12/17/2023

Lee-Fendall staff and volunteers recently made their way over to the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex for a historic cemetery tour given by the museum’s very own Board member, David Heiby. The group was taken around the entire complex to see the burial sites of those associated with the history of Lee-Fendall, including owners, Civil War soldiers who died at the house when it was the Grosvenor Branch hospital, and many more. Thank you to Gravestone Stories for a wonderful tour!

David Heiby is responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the active Presbyterian Cemetery that is located within the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex. Each year, he provides these historic cemetery tours that are centered around Lee-Fendall connections. He will be offering this tour several times in 2024, so keep your eyes peeled! In the meantime, visit his website www.gravestonestories.com to read through all of David’s research.

On this day in 1863, Private James Luman died at the Grosvenor Branch Hospital, the confiscated Lee-Fendall House during...
12/14/2023

On this day in 1863, Private James Luman died at the Grosvenor Branch Hospital, the confiscated Lee-Fendall House during the Civil War, due to a “gunshot through the head” (Photo 1). Private Luman was 28 years old in the 122nd Ohio Volunteers when he fought in the Battle of Mine Run on November 27, 1863. He fell in battle when a mine ball passed through his head. Luman was treated at the field and then admitted to Grosvenor Branch Hospital on December 6, where he died of his wounds roughly a week later. Private James Luman is buried in the Alexandria National Cemetery (Photo 2).

The “St. Nicholas Magazine for Young Folks” was a popular American children’s magazine from the late 1800s to 1940. The ...
12/13/2023

The “St. Nicholas Magazine for Young Folks” was a popular American children’s magazine from the late 1800s to 1940. The magazine was founded by Scribner’s and its first editor was Mary Mapes Dodge, who worked for the magazine until her death in 1905. The magazine’s first publication was in November of 1873. It had 48 pages and caught the eyes of many people. At its peak, the magazine had about 40,000 subscribers. Each edition had a variety of sections, one of which was the “St. Nicholas League”. Young readers were encouraged to send in their own work of poetry, photographs, and other pieces in the hopes of being published in the "League" section and potentially winning some prize money. Some well-known young readers who won entries into this magazine include a young F. Scott Fitzgerald and S. Eliot Morison.

The “St. Nicholas” magazine was well-known for its beautiful and intricate woodblock-printed illustrations, as you will see in Photo 2. The illustrations were the most important pieces to the magazines because they were the visual aids to the stories for the young readers. Other illustrations included cities and monuments found around the world. These were very popular amongst the readers since they did not have to leave their homes and travel the world to see these unique places.

A service was offered to subscribers in which, for a small fee, they could have six of their issues sent off to be bound into a hard-back volume with crimson covers and a gold-stamped title (Photo 1). Lee-Fendall has 47 of these bound volumes, spanning 1875 to 1902. They were donated to the museum's collection in the early 1990s and are on display in the Lewis Library today. Stop by to see these valuable pieces!

Join us TOMORROW for A Victorian Christmas! Tickets are still available at our Eventbrite page.
12/08/2023

Join us TOMORROW for A Victorian Christmas! Tickets are still available at our Eventbrite page.

Home Hours of Operation: Wednesday – Saturday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Sundays 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Tours run every hour (Admission charged) The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden interprets American history through the experiences of the people who lived and worked on the property from 1785 to 1969....

We’re looking forward to a special visitor at this weekend’s Victorian Christmas event! Can you guess who?Don’t miss out...
12/06/2023

We’re looking forward to a special visitor at this weekend’s Victorian Christmas event! Can you guess who?

Don’t miss out - book your family’s spot today!
Children under 2 are free (with purchase of an adult ticket).

Experience the wonder of the season with a Victorian Christmas at the Lee-Fendall House!

Lee-Fendall members make our work in historic preservation and education possible—and enjoy plenty of benefits in return...
11/28/2023

Lee-Fendall members make our work in historic preservation and education possible—and enjoy plenty of benefits in return! 2024 is our 50th year in operation as a museum, and we have some very special events in the works for our members. This , please consider purchasing a Lee-Fendall membership for yourself or for your favorite history lover! https://leefendallhousemuseumandgarden.humanitru.com/membership?page=membership-page-5919777c-c29f-4581-baca-c5fb6de5fc25&tribute=true&ach=true&address=required&membership_lookup_option=no_lookup

The Lee-Fendall House underwent a Historic Structure Survey— a significant project that extensively analyzed the structu...
11/17/2023

The Lee-Fendall House underwent a Historic Structure Survey— a significant project that extensively analyzed the structural integrity of the house and also shed light on previously unknown historical features. The project found evidence of a chimney that went down to the central second floor room, or the Lewis Library today. A photograph of the house in 1855 (Photo 1) shows a slender chimney in the second-highest section of the house. Photo 2 is the same part of the house today with no evidence of this chimney.

The chimney, and fireplace that would have attached to it, were likely put in during the extensive 1850 renovation of Louis Cazenove. The two were likely removed sometime after the Downham residency in the late 20th century. There are remains of the chimney behind interior plaster finishes in the wall of the second floor room. Investigations from this survey did not find any evidence that the chimney extended down to the first floor dining room or basement.

This weekend, Lee-Fendall is going to be a stop on the SOLD OUT Old Town Cookie Crawl! This is a wonderfully festive eve...
11/15/2023

This weekend, Lee-Fendall is going to be a stop on the SOLD OUT Old Town Cookie Crawl! This is a wonderfully festive event where ticket holders will pick up a cookie tin at the Morrison House Hotel and be able to visit the 28 participating locations each offering a fresh-baked cookie! Lee-Fendall’s delicious cookies will be made by Maribeth's Bakery. Thank you to Old Town Business Association for putting on the event again this year, and we look forward to welcoming all you cookie collectors this Saturday and Sunday!

The Lee-Fendall House will be closed this Saturday through Wednesday (11/11-11/15). We will reopen at 10 AM on Thursday ...
11/10/2023

The Lee-Fendall House will be closed this Saturday through Wednesday (11/11-11/15). We will reopen at 10 AM on Thursday 11/16.

This week’s medicinal garden plant is the American Holly (Ilex opaca). Almost every part of this native plant was used f...
11/08/2023

This week’s medicinal garden plant is the American Holly (Ilex opaca). Almost every part of this native plant was used for medical treatments during the Civil War, especially in the Confederate South when resources grew scarce due to Northern blockades. The bark of holly root was either chewed or boiled into a tea to relieve inflammation and irritation, especially with coughs and colds. Leaves served as a green tea substitute and its inner bark as a substitute for quinine. In small doses, the berries were used as an emetic (induce vomiting) to expel intestinal parasites.

American Holly was also used in producing a sticky paste called birdlime. The middle bark of the holly was boiled several times until soft and tender. It would then be made into a fermented paste which, when spread onto a branch, would act like glue and trap any birds, mice, or other vermin that came into contact with it.

Happy November! Lee-Fendall has some special tours this month and will be participating in this year's Old Town Alexandr...
11/01/2023

Happy November! Lee-Fendall has some special tours this month and will be participating in this year's Old Town Alexandria Cookie Crawl! Advanced registration is required for each event. Ticket purchases can be made at Lee-Fendall's Eventbrite page. Questions? Please call the museum at 703-548-1789.

Last weekend, some pretty…spooky…things happened at our Grief & Ghosts tours. This Friday and Saturday, come and see if ...
10/26/2023

Last weekend, some pretty…spooky…things happened at our Grief & Ghosts tours. This Friday and Saturday, come and see if you experience anything out of the ordinary! Not only will you hear ghost stories from the museum’s volunteers and staff, but you will also learn about different Victorian customs surrounding mourning and death. Tours run every 30 minutes, with the first tour beginning at 7 PM and the last tour at 8:30. Purchase tickets at leefendallhouse.Eventbrite.com. Enter if you dare 👻

A few weeks ago, Lee-Fendall’s very own docent and Civil War research team member, Madeline Feierstein, presented her re...
10/25/2023

A few weeks ago, Lee-Fendall’s very own docent and Civil War research team member, Madeline Feierstein, presented her research on the five military prisons in Alexandria during the Civil War. Amongst a sold out crowd, Madeline presented the details of each prison through her research into daily operations and hospital ledgers as well as diary entries from Alexandria citizens during this time. We look forward to Madeline’s new research projects and upcoming lectures for 2024. Stay tuned!

Missed this lecture? Madeline will be presenting at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland in 2024. On Saturday, March 2nd at 2 PM, Madeline will discuss how the Lee-Fendall House was a Union army hospital called Grosvenor Branch from 1863 to 1865. She will explore the hospital’s daily operations, soldiers’ experiences, the political divisions that impacted those who lived at Lee-Fendall, and much more.

Lee-Fendall is now a member of the Old Town Business Association! What does this mean? The museum will be participating ...
10/21/2023

Lee-Fendall is now a member of the Old Town Business Association! What does this mean? The museum will be participating in all of its fun events like next weekend’s kids and dogs trick or treating. On Saturday the 28th from 11 AM - 4 PM, the Lee-Fendall garden will be open for all costumed kiddos to grab a treat. Parents, you will not be left out - a treat is in store for you too! On Sunday the 29th from 1-4 PM, all four-legged visitors and their pawrents will get a treat from the museum. Only four blocks away from King Street with a beautiful garden to relax after a successful afternoon. We look forward to seeing everyone next weekend. Thank you to Old Town Business Association for sponsoring this fun and festive event!

Today’s archival highlight is the obituary of Henrietta Bedinger Lee from 1898. Although she did not live in the Lee-Fen...
10/18/2023

Today’s archival highlight is the obituary of Henrietta Bedinger Lee from 1898. Although she did not live in the Lee-Fendall House, she would have visited since it was her father-in-law’s, Edmund Jennings Lee's, home. Her husband also owned the house from 1836 to 1839. Henrietta’s obituary is remarkably ahead of its time because it is nearly a thousand words long and paints a complete picture of her. It describes her as “gifted with fine intellect, clear judgment, abounding wit and sparkling vivacity.” A loved one wrote this comprehensive account of her life and faith with great care. Its text provides some clues about the author. For example, it describes one of her sons as a grandfather who recounted stories of how good she was to her children, the burning of Bedford, and her domestic and religious activities following the Civil War. Only three of her children survived her: Ida Lee Rust, Netta Lee Goldsborough, and Rev. Henry Bedinger Lee. Rev. Lee was likely the author of this loving tribute to their mother, as the only one of her sons to survive her and the only one of her children to continue living with her in the years following the Civil War. Finally, the closing sentence is written about her children, noting that “they mourn for her who embodied to them all that is loving, lovable and wise, and sweet and lovely.”

  in 1863, the Battle of Bristoe Station was fought in Prince William County, Virginia. This Civil War battle began when...
10/14/2023

in 1863, the Battle of Bristoe Station was fought in Prince William County, Virginia. This Civil War battle began when Confederate Lieutenant A.P. Hill’s forces came upon 8,000 Union soldiers who had retreated from their earlier pursuit into central Virginia to Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Although the 8,000 Union forces were outnumbered from the 17,000 Confederate forces, the swift ambush and capture of a Confederate artillery battery and the lack of reconnaissance by the Confederates resulted in a Union victory. After the Confederate loss, Lee was furious with Lieut. Hill and ordered him to bury his dead and “say no more about it”.

During the Civil War, the Lee-Fendall house was a Union army hospital called Grosvenor Branch. Grosvenor Branch received at least 50 admissions from the Battle of Bristoe Station between October 14th and 17th of 1863. One of these soldiers was Private Solomon Williams who served in the 140th NY Volunteers, Company E. He was 20 years old at the time he fought in the Battle of Bristoe Station. He was admitted to the Grosvenor Branch Hospital on October 14 with a severe gunshot wound in the upper right arm which was amputated at the house. Private Williams died at Grosvenor Branch of pyemia, or blood poisoning, on October 31, 1863.

Photo 1: The admission entry of Private Solomon Williams to the Grosvenor Branch Hospital after the Battle of Bristoe Station in 1863.
Photo 2: The death entry of Private Williams due to pyemia.

Whispers on the stairs and a phantom face in the mirror... Our Grief & Ghosts tours start next Friday! Put some SPIRIT i...
10/11/2023

Whispers on the stairs and a phantom face in the mirror... Our Grief & Ghosts tours start next Friday! Put some SPIRIT into your fall - learn about Victorian mourning traditions and hear true stories about our staff and volunteer's spookiest encounters.

Did you know that October is American Archives month? Lee-Fendall volunteer, Charlotte Corneliusen, has been working thr...
10/04/2023

Did you know that October is American Archives month? Lee-Fendall volunteer, Charlotte Corneliusen, has been working through the museum’s archives and will be sharing a few of her finds this month. Charlotte is finishing her MA in Art History at George Mason University and currently works as a graduate assistant for George Mason University Libraries. She is the co-creator of a public history app, The Mason Experience: Past and Present, from GMU’s Special Collections Research Center. She previously earned a BA in Art with a concentration in Art History from Arizona State University. Before attending graduate school, she spent 12 years working as a nonprofit administrator at the Center for American Progress and U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. She volunteers at museums, archives, and community theaters in her spare time and loves cats. Look out for Charlotte's archival spotlights this month!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to forecasted gale-force winds along with flooding rains throughout the day and evening tomorrow, ...
09/22/2023

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to forecasted gale-force winds along with flooding rains throughout the day and evening tomorrow, which would make for both an unsafe and unenjoyable experience for guests at this mostly outdoor event, we have made the decision to POSTPONE Sips & Secrets: A Speakeasy Night by one week.

Registered attendees have already received an email listing their options if they are unable to make the new date of Saturday, Sept. 30th. For those who had not previously planned to attend but would like to, a limited number of tickets at all levels will now be available at our Eventbrite page. Thank you for your understanding!

Today is National Citizenship Day! In recognition, here is a little backstory on Anthony Charles Cazenove, a Swiss-Ameri...
09/17/2023

Today is National Citizenship Day! In recognition, here is a little backstory on Anthony Charles Cazenove, a Swiss-American who was the father of Louis Cazenove, owner of the Lee-Fendall House in the mid-19th century.

Anthony Charles Cazenove was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1774. He was born into a wealthy family of French Huguenots who faced religious persecution in the 18th century. Huguenots were a group of French Protestants who adhered to the teachings of John Calvin and were persecuted by the French Catholic government in control during this period. Cazenove’s early career and studies sent him all over Europe, including France to attend a military school and London to work in a counting house. By 1794, Cazenove returned to Geneva but was soon imprisoned due to his religious beliefs. He escaped, fled, and immigrated to Philadelphia where he became involved in a thriving flour mill business. By 1798, he moved to Alexandria with his wife, Ann Hogan, and became a prominent merchant. During this time, Cazenove not only operated one of the largest shipping firms on the Atlantic Coast, but he was elected as the consul of several organizations and countries, including Switzerland and the Free Hanseatic City and Republic of Bremen. Most importantly, Cazenove was chosen to accompany the esteemed Marquis de Lafayette during his visit to the United States in the early 19th century. During Lafayette’s time in Alexandria, both men traveled to Mount Vernon to pay their respects at Washington’s burial site. Anthony Charles Cazenove died in 1852. His obituary, as seen in this post, remarks him as “a universally esteemed fellow citizen” and “a citizen and imminent merchant of this city for more than fifty years”.

Photo courtesy of the Alexandria Gazette.

This portrait of “Light Horse” Harry Lee was donated to the Lee-Fendall House in 1983. It was painted by a former docent...
09/15/2023

This portrait of “Light Horse” Harry Lee was donated to the Lee-Fendall House in 1983. It was painted by a former docent and board member as a copy after Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of the Revolutionary War officer.

“Light Horse” Harry Lee, born Henry Lee III, joined the Continental Army early into the Revolutionary War. By 1778, he commanded multiple cavalry and light infantry troops which helped him rise in the ranks of the Army and earn his nickname, “Light Horse”. After the war, Lee purchased a half-acre lot on the corner of Oronoco and North Washington streets in Alexandria, but soon sold the land to his relative, Philip Fendall. It was Fendall who originally constructed this house in 1785. While “Light Horse” never lived at Lee-Fendall, he visited on many occasions. Lee was badly wounded during a Baltimore riot in 1812 while defending the editor of an antiwar newspaper. He traveled to the West Indies to treat his wounds, but died on his travels back to America.

This portrait has been on the walls of Lee-Fendall for 40 years. In addition to “Light Horse” Harry Lee, the artist created a portrait of Philip Fendall, Jr., the only son of Philip Fendall, for the Lee-Fendall House. Both portraits hang in the house’s south parlor today. The artist not only created portraits, but also painted scenes from the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Many of these paintings are in the collection of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

In the garden this week, our peppermint herb is in bloom. The use of peppermint for medicinal purposes dates back to the...
09/07/2023

In the garden this week, our peppermint herb is in bloom. The use of peppermint for medicinal purposes dates back to the ancient Egyptians. This herb was used to treat a variety of ailments, and its cooling and moistening effects when eaten would be a recommended substitute in case drinking water was not advisable. Peppermint was a very important herb during the Civil War. It was prepared in many ways, but Union hospitals typically prepared the plant into a tincture (dissolved in alcohol), while the Confederate hospitals used its oil. The herb was most commonly used as a stimulant to treat flatulence, nausea, and relieve pain in the stomach and bowels. In addition, infusions of peppermint were recommended to aid in typhoid infections and cholera.

Happy September! The Lee-Fendall House is offering many special tours and programs this month. Join us on a walk around ...
09/01/2023

Happy September! The Lee-Fendall House is offering many special tours and programs this month. Join us on a walk around the Wilkes Street cemetery and learn about its Lee-Fendall connections. Have an interest walking around Alexandria? Join us for our Civil War or Preservation Walking Tours!

Address

614 Oronoco Street
Alexandria, VA
22314

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10am - 4pm
Thursday 10am - 4pm
Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday 1pm - 4pm

Telephone

(703) 548-1789

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden:

Videos

Share

Category

The Lee-Fendall House: Discover Our Shared History

The Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden interprets American history through the experiences of the people who lived and worked on the property from 1785 to 1969. Through tours, special programs, and exhibits we discover our shared history as a community and as a nation. Join us.