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The gravestones in Alexandria National Cemetery.

Alexandria Cemeteries Walking Tour

Uncover the enthralling stories preserved within this sacred ground.

  • 2 hours
  • From 29 US dollars
  • Starting from the gates of Alexandria National Cemetery at 1450 Wilkes Street.

Tour Description

WALKING DISTANCE: 1.5 MILES Step back in time with tour guide Nathaniel Lee as we walk through the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex located in the fashionable Carlyle neighborhood of Alexandria. Street parking is available on both Wilkes Street and South Payne Street. If coming from the Carlyle neighborhood, limited parking is also available on Jamieson Avenue. Over time, Alexandrians were buried farther from their homes. In 1755, while accompanying Braddock's troops, a Mrs. Brown reported that people were buried in their gardens throughout the town. By the 1780's, many churches had adjoining burial grounds. But soon, more space was needed. This area contains twelve cemeteries today, which were started between 1795 and 1933. In 1804, the Common Council outlawed new cemeteries within the corporate limits of Alexandria. Many churches purchased land here in Spring Gardens Farm, just outside the town's boundary, for new burials. Traverse paths where Alexandria’s past residents, from Revolutionary War heroes to civil rights advocates, found their final rest. Encounter pivotal moments and enigmatic stories. Learn about Wilmer McLean’s Civil War significance, the mystique of the Female Stranger, and an Army doctor’s experiences post-Battle of Little Bighorn. Reflect on the journey towards national unity. This cemetery honors over 3,900 Union soldiers and 249 U.S. Colored Troops, symbolizing America’s path to reconciliation and equality. Traverse the intertwined legacies of revolutionaries and leaders. Explore the stories of Major Samuel Cooper, a Boston Tea Party participant, and General Samuel Cooper, a high-ranking Confederate. Unveil the histories of the influential Lee and Mason families, including James Murray Mason, a key figure in the Trent Affair. Visit the Home of Peace Cemetery (established circa 1860) and Agudis Achim Cemetery (established circa 1933), where some of the town's Jewish population, which began to grow in the 1830's, are buried. Visit Douglass Cemetery, considered to be the oldest black burying ground until two others were discovered by recent archaeological investigations; only a few African American graves have been identified in other cemeteries. Visit Penny Hill Cemetery, which was generally used to bury the poor, but most of the gravestones were discarded down a well. Not only are infants and the poor less likely to have permanent markers, but gravestones also have been lost to weather, vandalism and lawn mowers.


Accessibility and Cancellation Policy

Some of our tours are marked as active walking tours; guests are advised that they should be physically capable and prepared to walk around an urban environment for the time and distances listed. ASSISTANCE DOGS: All assistance dogs are welcome on our tours including registered guide dogs, hearing dogs and medical alert dogs. Please make us aware of this beforehand by email at franconiahistory@gmail.com WHEELCHAIRS AND MOBILITY VEHICLES: Any guests who use a wheelchair must be capable of travelling throughout the length of the relevant tour, some parts of which will be on uneven terrain. Manual wheelchair users are likely to need to bring a personal assistant with them. Self-propelled wheelchair users even with assistance are likely to struggle in some areas and as a result may experience difficulty on some areas of tours. Guests who use an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter must ensure they have sufficient battery power for the duration of a tour. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries on the suitability of a tour. TOILET FACILITIES: As we host outdoor tours, we are not able to provide permanent toilet facilities for visitors. We however try to ensure our tours are designed to pass via publicly accessible toilets as a rest break for visitors. We are however not able to guarantee that these will be open at all times during our tours. Our guides will always try to direct visitors towards open facilities if required. TOUR CANCELLATION POLICY: Franconia History LLC understands that schedules change, especially while you are on vacation or with family. You are welcome to cancel or reschedule your tour with us at no additional charge up to twelve hours prior to the scheduled start time of your tour. If cancellation is required, you are requested to notify us no later than twelve hours before your scheduled tour start time. Please note that any cancellations you make within twelve hours of your scheduled tour start time will cause the forfeiture of one-half of the fee you paid for the tour. Franconia Museum LLC cannot be held responsible for delays or cancellations of customer trips that result from weather, traffic, mechanical difficulties or circumstances beyond our control. If Franconia History LLC is forced to cancel your tour due to reasons outside of company control, all prior payments will be refunded to you within ten business days.


Contact Details

franconiahistory@gmail.com

Franconia Museum, Inc., 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA 22310, USA


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