Community News

New Historic Marker in Old Town Honors Suffragists

There’s a new self-guided walking tour in Old Town Alexandria which visits up to 22 different historic sites spotlighting pioneering women!

Lynne Garvey-Hodge, suffragist re-enactress, wowed the crowd during the dedication.
(All photos: Maureen Schweers)

Alexandria, VA – There’s a new self-guided walking tour in Old Town Alexandria which visits up to 22 different historic sites spotlighting pioneering women who accomplished extraordinary things during times when odds were against them, and society frowned upon their entrepreneurial and political efforts.

Suffragist historic marker dedicated August 26, 2021, Alexandria, Virginia

On Thursday, August 26, Alexandria notables gathered around to dedicate a new historic marker installed in the 200 block of South St. Asaph Street, which recognizes the fight for the American woman’s vote and Alexandria’s role in an important event related to women’s suffrage. Here, the Old Customs House stood – containing a Customs Office, a United States Post Office — and on the third floor, a federal courtroom – the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (1871-1930).

In November 1917, 32 suffragist prisoners (many past the age of 60) were arrested in Washington, D.C. and sent to the District of Columbia workhouse at Occoquan, Virginia, 18 miles south of Alexandria.

Alexandria Celebrates Women Vice President Gayle Converse and President Pat Miller unveil the new women’s history marker at the corner of South Saint Asaph and Prince Streets.

While held at the Occoquan Workhouse, the women were subjected to undue hardships and torture, resulting in the infamous November 14, 1917 “Night of Terror.” Numerous women prisoners were threatened, beaten, and hurled against walls and floors. Some of the women were force fed during their stay at the infamous Workhouse.

Following weeks of mistreatment, the suffragists were brought to this spot in Old Town for a hearing. The judge declared that the Suffragists should not have been jailed at the Workhouse. The women’s convictions for “blocking traffic” on the wide Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk in the District of Columbia were eventually tossed out by the Federal Courts.

Anh Phan, outreach representative for U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner reads commemorative letter from the Senator. The suffragist marker dedication also included a copy of the event in the U.S. Congressional Record, sent by Rep Don Beyer.

The entire Alexandria Women’s History walking tour map with descriptions is available at

ICYMI: New Women’s History Walking Tour in Alexandria! (DOWNLOAD HERE!)

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.

Related Articles

Back to top button