Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

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107 South Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, USA

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum Alexandria Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
110 reviews
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum Dec 20, 2012
In 1792 Quaker minister Edward Stabler opened an apothecary shop at the corner of King and Fairfax Streets in Alexandria. By the 1820s he owned or rented several surrounding buildings for his growing business that he passed on to his son William. When William died in 1852, his brother-in-law John Leadbeater took over. Leadbeater and his descendents ran the shop until 1933. The rise of the pharmaceutical industry and increasing government oversight led to declining sales for the medicines that were produced on site. Though the Great Depression forced the Leadbeaters to abandon the store, it reopened as a small museum in 1939.

The first floor contains numerous examples of the products sold in the shop, including eyeglasses, their own line of paint, bloodletting devices, and various medicines (bottles of Pepto Bismol and Vicks Vapor Rub from the 1920s sit in one display case). Receipts from famous customers Martha Washington and Robert E. Lee are on view. The second floor holds storage cabinets and equipment used to make pills and medicinal remedies, such as a machine that heated up cork to inject into bottle tops - when the cork dried, it expanded to seal the bottles.

The Apothecary Museum charges $5 for a half-hour tour, though more extensive tours can be booked for large parties. Closed on Mondays (and Tuesdays during the winter), the shop allows photography. It's worth checking out if you live in the area, especially since the museum is located just off King Street near Market Square. I was surprised at the range of items that were for sale in the 19th and early 20th centuries - the apothecary shop was much like the modern drug store in the variety of non-medicinal products that were hawked.
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary …
Historical marker
Old fashioned shoe polish
Eyeglasses and a baby bottle
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Zagnut66 says:
It is north of Virginia Beach.
Posted on: Feb 25, 2015
cotton_foam says:
Is it North of VA Beach or South?
Posted on: Feb 25, 2015
Zagnut66 says:
It's pretty far off from either Virginia Beach or Portsmouth, about a three-hour drive. Alexandria was once part of the city of Washington until it was restored to Virginia in the 1840s.
Posted on: Feb 25, 2015
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