Community News


Have a ball and help save the building’s foundation

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). Photo by Kelly MacConomy

From its front-row seat on North Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria, the Lee-Fendall House Museum has witnessed three centuries of Alexandria and national history. But all those years of a front-row seat have taken their toll. Both the passage of time and the rumble of constant traffic on Washington Street have left the house’s historic foundations in distress and at risk.

On Saturday, September 23rd, the public is invited to help raise the funds needed to restore the foundation and commemorate the Lee-Fendall House’s exciting Prohibition-era history. Join a party in the garden, enjoy 1920s drinks and jazz music, win great prizes in a silent auction, and celebrate Alexandria’s past. Attire is creative cocktail, with 1920s period clothing encouraged, so feel free to come in best flapper style!

Tickets are $50 for general admission, which opens at 7 PM, or join a VIP reception in the basement at 6 PM! Those holding current Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden memberships may purchase a VIP ticket for the price of general admission. All guests must be 21 years or older to attend.  For more information, visit the museum’s website at

The Lee-Fendall House was built when, in 1784, General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, Revolutionary War hero and father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, sold the lot at the corner of Oronoco Street to his cousin Philip Richard Fendall for £300. The following spring, Fendall began construction of the wood frame house that would, over the course of the next 118 years, serve as home to over thirty-seven members of the Lee family. The history of the house did not come to an end with the departure of the last member of the Lee family in 1903. Robert Downham, a prominent Alexandria haberdasher and liquor purveyor, resided with his family in this house for the next thirty-one years. In 1937, Downham conveyed the house to John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers, and one of the most powerful and controversial labor leaders in American history. Lewis lived in this house until his death in 1969. Today, Lee-Fendall opens its doors to visitors from around the world as a historic house museum.

Related Articles

Back to top button