Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden

614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314 - United States





The Lee-Fendall House, located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is a showcase of American history. Between 1785 and 1903, the house was a residence for several generations of the Lee family as well as enslaved and free people of African descent who lived and worked on the property. This period of residency was interrupted during the Civil War when the Union Army turned the property into a hospital for wounded soldiers.

In 1903, the house was purchased by Robert Downham, a prominent Alexandria liquor dealer, who eventually lost his business during Prohibition. In 1937, the house became home to John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America and founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Lewis was one of the most powerful and controversial labor leaders in American history. After Lewis’ death in 1969, the future of the house was threatened until the Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation (VTHP) purchased it and opened it as a house museum in 1974.


In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, the Lee-Fendall House has created a special exhibit entitled, "The New Woman: Life in Progressive Era Alexandria, 1890-1920." This exhibit explores the lives of three Alexandria women who were connected to the Lee-Fendall House from 1890 to 1920, a period of great change for women, both politically and socially. Drawing on original photographs and archival materials as well as period objects, the exhibit highlights changes in education, work, politics, fashion, and athletics.


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