When Virginia joined the Confederacy, Union troops occupied Alexandria and most municipal functions were assumed by the U.S. Army. The “We’ve Been Burned: Alexandria Firefighters During the Civil War” walking tour this Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM will explore firefighting during the Union occupation. How were volunteer fire companies treated by Federal authorities? Were firefighters allowed out after curfew? What happened to the firehouses and equipment? These questions will be answered as tour participants visit the sites of four of the five fire houses, and learn what happened if there was a fire in the occupied city.
The tour is for age 10 and older and costs $6 for adults, $4 ages 10-17. Reservations are required, as space is limited. Telephone 703.746.4994, or visit this link.
The Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774, was the first fire company in Alexandria. Friendship members were volunteers – motivated by their concern for the property and well-being of the community.
Today the Friendship Firehouse, built in 1855, is a museum open to the public. Buckets, hose, axes, and Friendship’s mid-19th century suction engine – elaborately decorated with the company’s clasped-hands insignia – are on view. Visitors also see their ornate hose reel carriage that was made in Alexandria, and learn about the company as a fraternal organization and its larger role in the community. In addition to fighting fires, Friendship members participated in parades and performed ceremonial duties for civic events. In the firehouse Meeting Room ceremonial artifacts such as helmets, capes and other regalia, are exhibited alongside the room’s original furniture.
Friendship Firehouse Museum is located at 107 South Alfred Street in Old Town, Alexandria. The site is open from 1-4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays; closed on major holidays. The museum is owned and operated by the City of Alexandria, and managed by the City’s Office of Historic Alexandria. Special programming is offered throughout the year.
For more information, visit this link, or contact the museum by calling 703.746.3891.