The Costumes of PBS' Mercy Street, on display at The Lyceum: Alexandria's History Museum February 17 through September 1, 2017

New “The Costumes of PBS’ Mercy Street” Exhibition at The Lyceum Announced

The Costumes of PBS’ Mercy Street is on view February 17 through September 1, 2017

As season two of PBS’ Mercy Street nears its finale on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. ET, the Office of Historic Alexandria and Visit Alexandria are pleased to announce a new exhibition, The Costumes of PBS’ Mercy Street, on display at The Lyceum: Alexandria’s History Museum February 17 through September 1, 2017. Fans of the show are invited to view four original costumes worn in seasons one and two by Josh Radnor (Dr. Jedediah Foster), AnnaSophia Robb (Alice Green), Hannah James (Emma Green), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Mary Phinney) created by costume designer Amy Andrews Harrell. Also on display are sketches of the costumes, series images of the actors in the costumes, and historical artifacts such as furniture from the Green furniture factory and medical supplies from the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.

“We are very excited to display four costumes from PBS’ Mercy Street, two from season one and two from season two, at The Lyceum,” said Gretchen Bulova, deputy director for the Office of Historic Alexandria. “This is the only exhibition of the show’s costumes outside of the filming location in Petersburg, Virginia. In addition to this exhibition, the museums in Historic Alexandria are offering special programs and unique experiences based on the themes of Mercy Street that dive deeper into Alexandria’s Civil War history.”


Lee-Fendall House

Lee-Fendall House as Civil War Hospital

Did you know that Lee-Fendall House in Alexandria, Virginia was known as Grovesnor Branch Hospital, one of 28 Union Army hospitals in Alexandria, Virginia during the Civil War?

Lee-Fendall House is offering a special tour of the museum and grounds highlighting the Lee-Fendall House’s role as a hospital during the Civil War. Highlights include themes addressed in the PBS series “Mercy Street,” including nursing, soldiers, civilians, medical practices, and free people of color. . Tickets are $8.00 in advance through the museum’s Online Store, or $10.00 the day of the program. Tour space is limited, so the purchase of tickets in advance is highly recommended. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 – 2 hours.   (more…)

Mercy Street Airs Sundays at 8 on PBS

As readers know, Mercy Street, PBS’ first American drama in nearly a decade, is inspired by real events of Civil War Alexandria, Virginia. Set in 1862, the second season of MERCY STREET picks up directly from the dramatic events at the end of the season one finale, continuing to explore the growing tensions within Alexandria, the complicated interpersonal dynamics of Dr. Foster, Nurse Mary and the Mansion House staff, the increasingly precarious position of the Green family and the changing predicament of the burgeoning black population. Allegiances blur, loyalties shift and the drama intensifies as the scope of the war expands.

In last week’s episode, the staff united to save one of their own. A former slave turned activist arrived in town, causing a rift between Dr. Foster and Mary. The Greens are in disarray; Emma and Frank’s romance ignites and Samuel plans for a reunion with Aurelia.

On tonight’s episode (airing at 8:00 PM (7 CT) on PBS), a house guest becomes the focus of Alice’s schemes. When Mary falls gravely ill, Dr. Foster’s attempts to care for her antagonize the new chief. Charlotte tries to contain the smallpox epidemic and Samuel has to make a difficult decision.

Join me online on Twitter at 8 using the hastag #MercyStreetPBS.

Alexandria, Virginia Police Department at North Pitt Street in Alexandria.

(Image credit: Office of Historic Alexandria)

Via OHA, on June 6, 1950, a planning study was issued citing the need for a new City Police Department headquarters outside the Alexandria City Hall.

Although even at that time the city was rapidly growing in population, and the 1951 annexation of largely rural land in eastern Fairfax County a year later doubled the physical size of Alexandria, the new facility for police on N. Pitt Street opened nine years later at a cost of $350,000.

The new colonial-style building reflected the then popular choice for Alexandria municipal architecture, echoing design elements built earlier at the Alexandria Health Dept. on N. St. Asaph Street and the Trash/Incinerator building at the end of S. Payne.

However, the new Police headquarters was state-of-the-art for its time, and featured modern holding cells, special training and interview rooms, as well as a film processing darkroom, which were largely unavailable at the old City Hall location along N. Fairfax Street.

Alexandria Canal Company (Image via Office of Historic Alexandria)

Alexandria Canal Company (Image via Office of Historic Alexandria)

Via OHA, on May 26, 1830, the United States Congress granted a Charter to the Alexandria Canal Company.

The canal was proposed earlier that year by a group of Alexandria businessmen to link the communities of Georgetown and Alexandria, which at the time were both within the boundaries of the District of Columbia.  The intent was to enhance capacity of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, discontinuing the unloading of cargo boats heading southward at Georgetown, and allowing them to pass directly to Alexandria instead. Construction on the seven-mile canal was begun in 1833 and continued over the next decade, lowering boats 38 feet across its course over an aqueduct and through a series of four locks.  The canal was subsequently abandoned in 1886.

Capitol Theater in Alexandria, Virginia @ 1101 Queen Street
In honor of Black History Month, here’s today’s Throwback Thursday on the old Capitol Theater in Alexandria, Virginia.

Via Cinema Treasures

The Lincoln opened about 1921 to serve Alexandria’s African-American community. Local property owners had opposed the construction of the theater as they worried it would affect property values and cause disruption. The Lincoln presented movies and vaudeville.

The theater was purchased by a local African-American group in November 1921. Another movie operator renamed the theater the Olympic in 1930, but in late 1932 he closed it as too few attended. In January 1933, it was remodeled and reopened as the Capitol. In 1939, a new theater building replaced it, and that closed in the early 1950s and later became an auto parts store.

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