The Virginia Trust for Historic Preservation operates the Lee-Fendall House & Garden to promote historic preservation and history education.

We're not just blowing smoke; save this chimney!

OUR STORY

From the building of Phillip Fendall's stunning, architecturally significant Maryland Telescope house, through its extensive renovation in 1850-52, its occupation as a Civil War hospital, and the residence of the nationally significant labor leader John Llewellyn Lewis, Lee-Fendall House stands a witness to two hundred years of Alexandria and American life. Where did the city fathers of Alexandria plan a proper farewell send-off for President George Washington? Where did the first successful, documented blood transfusion in America occur? Who was the silent witness to labor strife and political machinations surrounding the union movement? The Lee-Fendall House.

Through the story of this house during its 187 years as a private residence and hospital, visitors learn about the architectural and technological advancements in American life. The entire spectrum of labor history in America is found in our story as well, from enslaved workers, through local hired help, to union labor. And finally, the contributions made by the hundreds of people who lived here to the City of Alexandria and to the nation are crucial tools to understanding and appreciating our state and national heritage.

The museum serves thousands of visitors each year through tours, educational programs, and social events. Our half-acre garden hosts the general public at no charge, and provides a cool, green oasis in the middle of Old Town Alexandria traffic. We believe that each visitor has something unique to contribute to the site, and that they come wanting to leave with some new knowledge and a new inspiration. Here, we believe that knowledge of the past inspires a brilliant future.

OUR CHALLENGE

In August of 2011, the Washington DC metro area was hit by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. Many local landmarks of national significance were badly damaged by this quake. During this event, the Lee-Fendall House kitchen chimney sustained severe cracking. In October of 2012, high winds associated with Hurricane Sandy further destabilized the chimney, creating a noticeable “lean.”

Immediate action is needed to repair and stabilize the kitchen chimney. Left untreated, the chimney will continue to deteriorate and eventually collapse, causing additional damage to the house and property. The threat of collapse could even force the museum to close.

A conservation assessment made in 2011 recommended that work be completed within five years, and estimated the total cost of the project at $35,000. The Lee-Fendall House is confident that it can raise over half of that cost through anticipated grants and other matching funds.

OUR GOAL

Our current campaign goal is $15,000. All funds raised for this campaign will be applied towards the cost of a second damage assessment, materials, and labor needed to securely stabilize the chimney and strengthen it to withstand future natural disasters.

Your support in this project is vital in keeping this museum open, active, and relevant. Please donate generously or find other ways to be involved with Lee-Fendall House & Garden. We are proud to have your partnership in this endeavor!

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