Old Presbyterian Meeting House
323 South Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, USA
www.opmh.org - (703) 549-6670
Old Presbyterian Meeting House Alexandria Reviews
Old Presbyterian Meeting House Jan 21, 2013
Just off Duke Street near the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria sits the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. The first building for worship on the site opened in 1775 with a congregation of primarily Scottish immigrants. At the time the Anglican Church was the official church of Virginia, hence the name "meeting house" as the Presbyterians did not have official sanction. The first building was destroyed by fire in 1835 and rebuilt in 1837, with a bell tower added in 1843.
The memorial services for George Washington were held in the original meeting house in 1799 due to muddy roads impeding traffic to Washington's Episcopal congregation at Christ Church elsewhere in Alexandria. In the small burial grounds behind the church are buried James Craik, the chief physician of the continental army in the American Revolution, and John Carlyle, whose still-standing house served as British headquarters in the French and Indian War (or Seven Years War).
When St. Mary's Catholic Church next door was under constructiona in the 1820s, the unidentified remains of a Revolutionary War soldier from Kentucky still in uniform were discovered and reburied in the meeting house cemetery. A century later the burial spot was recognized as a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the American Revolution, though the one in Philadelphia is far more well known.
I stopped by for a visit around noon on a weekday. Scores of young children were playing in a small playground that backs up into the burial ground (apparently the Catholic church runs a daycare center). Some of the adults gave me strange looks as I snapped photos, so I didn't spend too much time outside. Though the church is locked, the kind ladies in the office next door gave me the key to wander around inside at my leisure. The surrounding neighborhood is full of Victorian-era houses that make for a nice afternoon stroll, but if you want to eat you will have to walk a few blocks over to King Street to find a restaurant.
Part of the list Northern Virginia Day Trips
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