Alexandria is proud of its history. Founders of our country have frequented Alexandria’s taverns, restaurants, and hotels. Many visitors will go to Mount Vernon, walk the waterfront, and take a ghost tour. However, one of the more interesting things to do in Old Town is to tour historic house museums. Learning about these houses will help you understand more about Alexandria and its history.
Here’s a small list of some of the most popular house museums located in Old Town. If you’re looking to experience history and art, these museums are for you. From stately homes to luxury hotels, this house museums are well worth a visit.
The Carlyle House is located in the heart of Old Town. The house was owned by the founder of Alexandria, John Carlyle, and has hosted historically famous guests such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Included in this architecturally interesting house museum are collections of Civil War and 18th century artifacts from when the home was turned into an army hospital base during the Civil War.
The Murray-Dick-Fawcett House
Well-known as one of the first houses in the city, this stunning property on Prince Street has remained virtually unaltered since the 18th century. The gardens and surrounding property are open to the public, although there is a tenant who owns the grounds that currently lives there. The home is open for special events throughout the year, with plans to develop this property even further to educate tourists and residents about the lives of Alexandrians in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Spite House
Seven feet wide and 25 feet deep (325 Square Feet Total), the smallest home in Old Town was built by John Hollensbury in 1830 to keep horse-drawn wagons and loiterers out of his alley. While historic only for its dimensions, take a look.
Green Spring Gardens
This beautiful home located in Alexandria was built in 1784. It was first occupied by John Moss, a prominent individual who lived in the area. The property was donated in 1970, and the lush gardens were developed into the beautiful landscape enjoyed by tourists and locals today. The house museum has been recognized as a national historic site, and even offers gardening classes for children and families in addition to the historically rich museum that is housed indoors.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House
After you’ve visited the other estates, take a trip over to famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home. This establishment is a sure departure from the architecture seen throughout the rest of the city, with heavy use of cypress, brick and glass. Built in the 1940’s, this interesting home features furniture designs from the architect as well, which can all be enjoyed with a guided tour.