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Digital Journal Reports

article imagePhoto essay: Step back in time at Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Special

Alexandria - The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is a historical business in Alexandria, Va. There are many terrific tours to take in the Old Town section of the city, and the apothecary is a great option.
In Old Town Alexandria, a few blocks away from the riverfront, is the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.
Founded in 1792 by Edward Stabler, the business was continuously operational by the same family for 141 years. The Leadbeater name came later, in 1831, when another family member was brought into the business. The company was involved with retailing, wholesaling, and manufacturing, and over the years its space expanded to several buildings in Old Town.
Entering the museum is truly a step back through time. One amazing part about this piece of history is the owners had simply locked the doors in 1933 when the company could no longer sustain and entered bankruptcy.
Remarkably, the building that remains today has stayed the same for all these decades. The building and contents were preserved by the Landmarks Society of Alexandria early on and opened as a museum. The museum was donated to the City of Alexandria in 2006.
Visitors enter the building in the gift shop and tours can be purchased here. Once the tour begins, you're led into the main room where everyday business transactions took place for well over a century.
First visitors to the museum walk into to a "shop" that is set up almost exactly as it would have looked like so many years ago. In addition, much, if not all, of the mirrors and exquisite glass work are originals from when the business was operational.
An image taken in the apothecary shop. Here customers could buy a range of products from medicines t...
An image taken in the apothecary shop. Here customers could buy a range of products from medicines to perfumes and many items in between.
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A selection of old glass baby bottles on display at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
A selection of old glass baby bottles on display at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
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This is what behind one of the shop s counters looked like from a customer s perspective in this lon...
This is what behind one of the shop's counters looked like from a customer's perspective in this long-running business.
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Various products that were sold over the history of the business are on display at the apothecary s ...
Various products that were sold over the history of the business are on display at the apothecary's museum.
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The apothecary carried a wide range of products  eventually going wholesale. Listed items in its sto...
The apothecary carried a wide range of products, eventually going wholesale. Listed items in its stock included a variety of bloodletting devices, which were commonly used in earlier eras.
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Throughout its history, many customers came through the Stabler-Leadbeater doors, including Martha Washington and Robert E. Lee. Orders from these two individuals are on display at the museum. Additionally, from what docents have described, the family kept very detailed records over the years and staff is still going through the many boxes.
A snapshot of history. This image is on display at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary and shows what ...
A snapshot of history. This image is on display at the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary and shows what the shop looked like when it was operational. The business claimed bankruptcy in 1933 and the owners simply locked the doors and walked away.
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There is also a second floor, which at the time of operation was off-limits to customers, but today visitors are led up to this floor as part of the tour. This is the manufacturing room, and it looks as it would have so many years ago. In a word, amazing. The jars, tins and drawers even contain original ingredients and supplies; a couple of the drawers are typically left open for visitors to peer inside.
Upstairs in the manufacturing room  the space looks remarkably untouched. Even various ingredients a...
Upstairs in the manufacturing room, the space looks remarkably untouched. Even various ingredients and supplies are still in drawers, as you can see in this image.
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An image taken upstairs in the manufacturing room where products were made. You can see the Leadbeat...
An image taken upstairs in the manufacturing room where products were made. You can see the Leadbeater name on many of these items.
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Supplies and storage in the manufacturing area of the former apothecary shop.
Supplies and storage in the manufacturing area of the former apothecary shop.
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This device was used to cut and shape pills. A snapshot in time  it shows a time as the industry mov...
This device was used to cut and shape pills. A snapshot in time, it shows a time as the industry moved from tea-based remedies to pill forms.
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Upstairs in the Stabler-Leadbeater Museum  visitors can see all of the supplies used to create produ...
Upstairs in the Stabler-Leadbeater Museum, visitors can see all of the supplies used to create products. In addition to medicinal remedies, the company also sold some household goods, including paint.
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A desk remains that once belonged to the owners of the apothecary. Here it is on display in the manu...
A desk remains that once belonged to the owners of the apothecary. Here it is on display in the manufacturing room, along with office records and supplies.
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Located at 105-107 South Fairfax Street, tours are available of the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Reservations are not necessary as walk-ins are welcomed. While you can drop in, it should be noted that hours are limited and it is a good idea to check to see what times the museum is open before planning a visit.
If you're visiting Old Town Alexandria, this 30 minute museum tour is truly a gem in this writer's opinion. For more information on the history of the business, please visit the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum website.
article:338429:24::0
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