History Comes Alive in Homes Tour

History Comes Alive in Homes Tour

The private lives of George Washington, William Fairfax, John Alexander and Michael Fannon will be very public on Sept. 28, when homes which they frequented or personally built are on tour.

In all, seven homes, some on properties dating to the early 1700s and each meticulously restored, will be featured at this year's Tour of Homes in Historic Old Town Alexandria. The tour is 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit emergency services at Inova Alexandria Hospital. The tour is sponsored by TWIG, the junior auxiliary of the hospital.

One of the homes was originally a tavern and place of lodging that on more than one occasion was visited by Gen. George Washington. Its center section was built between 1760 and 1780, and the home was considered "in the country" at the time of its construction. Today, it is a comfortable home in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.

George Washington's instructor in engineering, William Fairfax, built another one of the homes on tour Sept. 28. Fairfax, co-founder of the City of Alexandria, built the townhouse in 1752 and passed the property on to his son, another friend of Washington's. After a series of sales, the home became a dry goods business. It has been restored and today is an elegant period home.

John Alexander, another founder of the city, in 1669 first owned the land on which a four-story row house sits. This same home, which originally was two homes on one property, was made uninhabitable by a fire started by Northern troops during the Civil War. It was rebuilt and underwent a complete renovation and modernization in 1990.

There's even more history on the Sept. 28 tour. Thomas Jacobs, a Quaker and one of Alexandria's leading abolitionists, originally owned a Federal townhouse on the tour. The home was actually a freestanding flounder house when constructed circa 1795. Over the years, a series of additions has made it into the townhouse it is today. This home, which boasts a successful historic preservation, retains many of its original architectural components including the pair of stone and iron bootscrapes on the front stoop.

Yet another home was actually one of three contiguous homes built in 1880 by Michael Fannon for his three daughters. The current owners have just completed a painstaking, yearlong renovation.

"We have homes on tour this year that are grand and beautifully restored," said Rosann Garber, tour chairperson for TWIG. "But we also have homes which offer a glimpse into a smaller, more intimate space. Visitors will appreciate the renovations, respect the homeowners' attention to detail and probably admire the lovely period pieces of furniture so many of our homeowners have collected over the years."

On the day of the tour, tickets will be sold beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Twig Thrift Shop, at The Arcade, 320 King St., and at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., both in Alexandria.