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Photo essay: 'A Soldier's Christmas' at Carlyle House Special

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 2, 2012 in Travel
Alexandria - Alexandria, one of the earliest cities in Colonial America, is rich in history. There are many original landmarks in the city, one of which is Carlyle House. On Dec. 1, Carlyle House held a living history event, "A Soldier's Christmas".
On Saturday, Carlyle House Historic Park held a special holiday-themed event, "A Soldier's Christmas". This program showcased life for First Virginia Regiment soldiers during the American Revolution in living history.
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority website describes conditions for soldiers during Revolutionary times:
The air is chilly and the scent of wood smoke and cider rises in the air. Greenery bedecks homes around Alexandria, signaling that the holiday season is well and truly here. However, this was not so for soldiers in the American Revolution, many of the winters during the war were hard for the American armies. A lack of ready supplies meant hunger and cold. Even with their meager goods in the longest stretches of the war, though, soldiers could find reasons to celebrate.
Celebrations came with food and beverages, music, and other festivities.
Carlyle House served as an important property throughout America's history as several notable political and military members have passed through its doors. It is believed soldiers from the First Virginia Regiment likely camped out on the front lawn during the Revolution.
Carlyle House is one of the numerous notable properties in Northern Virginia that have survived over centuries and/or have been restored to Colonial times; many of which are open to the public. In terms of homes located in Old Town Alexandria, Va., Carlyle House is one of its most prominent dwellings.
Built by British merchant John Carlyle in the 1750s for his new bride, Sarah Fairfax, the 18th-century Palladian-style house almost didn't survive to modern day. Despite the property's rich connection to early American history, it's relevance wasn't noticed for over a century. In 1827, the home left family hands and over time fell into a deteriorated condition. The structure served as a hospital during the Civil War, and at one point a hotel had been built in the front yard, keeping the home away from sight.
In 1970, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority took ownership of Carlyle House and have been working to preserve its rich history and share it with the public.
Carlyle House is located at 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, Va. 22314. In addition to regular tours, many special events are held throughout the year.
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