It is time to prepare for this British invasion and learn more about the effects of War of 1812 on Alexandria and Washington region. As part of the Star- Spangled Summer, visit area historic house and history museums to learn about this little known, but important, war that solidified our nation as the United States of America.
On Saturday, July 26th, visit Alexandria’s Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, The Lyceum, and the Carlyle House to learn more about Alexandria’s role in the War of 1812. Why did Alexandria surrender? Who was left in town to defend the city? Museum tours and War of 1812 exhibits will be offered free, from 1 – 5 p.m. Also take advantage of a special one-day only Alexandria War of 1812 Walking Tour offered by Boy Scout Troop 1865 starting at 1 p.m. Tours will leave from Market Square, corner of King and Fairfax Streets, every half hour and last 30 minutes.
On Sunday, July 27th, families are invited to tour Gadsby's historic tavern as Junior Docents, volunteers from grades 4 through 7, share their enthusiasm for history. As part of the War of 1812 commemoration, kids of all ages are welcome to build a boat. Tour times are 1 – 4 p.m. and cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children (ages 5 -12). No reservations necessary. Activity included in tour price.
Participating sites in Maryland and the District throughout the weekend include:
- Dumbarton House Museum (DC)
- Historical Congressional Cemetery (DC)
- National Museum of American History (DC)
- Octagon Museum (DC)
- White House Historical Association (DC)
- Darnall’s Chance House Museum (MD)
- Riversdale House Museum (MD)
While war was declared in 1812, it was not until 1814 that it reached Alexandria's shores. On August 29 Alexandrians awoke to find 138 guns of the British squadron "but a few hundrd yards from the wharves, and the houses so situated at they might have been laid in ashes in a few minutes," as described by the residents. The British promised not to destroy the town if the citizens surrendered all naval stores, shipping, and merchandise being exported. Alexandria agreed, under much scrutiny by the nation. However, it was thanks to the actions on both sides that the "Old Town" of today is still preserved.
The City of Alexandria and community partners are commemorating Alexandria’s role in the war through lectures, concerts, and specialty tours, culminating in a free Signature Event in Waterfront Park on Sunday, August 31, 2014 from noon—5 p.m.
Source: City of Alexandria