Backyard History


In 1946, the City of Alexandria almost lost the Lyceum building when the owners wanted to demolish it and replace it with an office building, but citizens protested.

Citizen Protests Prevent Owners of 201 S. Washington Sought to Demolish for Office Building

On July 24, 1946, the owners of the former residence of Dr. and Mrs. Hugh McGuire at 201 S. Washington Street sought court approval to demolish the historic structure to make way for contemporary office development of the site.

This action prompted a major citizen effort to preserve the structure, built in 1837 as a center for learning and knowledge known as The Lyceum.

Local schoolmaster Benjamin Hallowell led the original concept to build the structure in Alexandria, and when finished the building included the Alexandria library, exhibits of natural history and science and a large lecture hall on the second floor. Today, the building houses The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum, and is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the city.

(Source: Office of Historic Alexandria)

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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