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Carlyle House Historic Park

The Carlyle House Historic Park, located in the heart of Alexandria’s Old Town, was created to commemorate one of the city’s oldest and most historically significant buildings. The original mansion of John Carlyle, one of Alexandria’s first trustees, has been preserved onsite for the public to enjoy as part of Alexandria’s colonial heritage.

Carlyle’s stately residence was completed in 1753, standing then as it does now as the only example of 18th century Georgian stone architecture in Alexandria. The grand design of the house was a testament to the Scottish merchant’s ambition and success, which he earned through trade with the colonies as a member of William Hicks’ mercantile house in the coastal English town of Whitehaven. It was common in Carlyle’s day for men like himself to seek their fortune in the burgeoning colonies of the New World, and a young Carlyle quickly established himself as a sharp businessman, counting among his contacts a young George Washington.

Upon its completion, the Carlyle House quickly became a preeminent destination for social gatherings hosted by Carlyle and his wife, Sarah Fairfax, herself a scion of one of the most influential families in Virginia. It is worth noting that Lady Fairfax’s background has been the subject of some intrigue; sources describe her as “dark-skinned” and indicate that her mother may have been either a slave or a free woman of color. If such was the case, the residency of the Carlyle House was indeed a remarkable example of upward mobility in a nascent America. 

In April 1755, Major-General Edward Braddock, then commander-in-chief of the British Army in North America, arrived in Alexandria to commence a meeting with five colonial governors. The meeting, known in history as the Congress of Alexandria, was hosted at the Carlyle House. Over the course of two days, the assembled leaders (Braddock, Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia, Horatio Sharpe of Maryland, Robert Hunter Morris of Pennsylvania, James DeLancey of New York, and William Shirley of Massachusetts) discussed the Crown’s military strategy for that year’s campaign in the French and Indian War. Braddock called the Carlyle House meeting the “Grandest Congress” that had yet been assembled in North America. Despite the auspicious words from Braddock, the campaign ended in failure that summer. The result of the war itself helped set a series of events in motion that led to the American Revolution – notably, it was at the Carlyle House that the idea was first conceived to tax the colonies to raise funds for the war.

The estate remained within the possession of Carlyle’s descendants until 1827, when John Carlyle Herbert sold it to pay off an uncle’s gambling debt. In 1848, Alexandria furniture maker James Green completed numerous renovations and added the Mansion House Hotel at the front of the property. During the Civil War, the house served as a hospital for Union soldiers. Earnest Wagar purchased the house in 1906 and completed its first major modern restoration. In 1970, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority took ownership of the property and converted the grounds into the historical site which stands today. Modern-day visitors can embark on daily tours and attend special exhibits, open-houses, and lectures on life in John Carlyle’s colonial Alexandria

History of Carlyle House: A Historic Residence in Alexandria, Virginia

Carlyle House, built in 1881 and named after the Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle, is an iconic historic residence in Alexandria, Virginia.  Carlyle House is home to the Carlyle-Tredwell Family, who have owned and lived in Carlyle House for more than six generations.  Carlyle House has been a residence and an inn as well as a social center for many people over the past one hundred and fifty years. Today, the Carlyle-Tredwell Family continues to preserve and care for the historic house. Currently, the Carlyle-Tredwell Family is the only family still living in Carlyle House, and they are the stewards of its history. Another top site here.

History of Carlyle House

Carlyle House is located at 1422 King Street in Alexandria, Virginia, and was built in 1881. The house is named after the famous British author, Thomas Carlyle, who was one of the most notable Scottish essayists. Carlyle House is one of many historic homes in Alexandria, and its history dates back to before the American Civil War.  The Carlyle House story begins with James Tredwell, an Alexandria merchant, who built the house in 1881. Tredwell was born in 1840 in New York City and was a descendant of the Scottish immigrants who settled in Alexandria in 1763. Tredwell returned to Alexandria in 1868, where he began his professional career as a dry goods merchant. In 1872 he married Louisa P. Tredwell, and the couple had two daughters, Lulu and Laura.

Why is Carlyle House a Historic Site?

Carlyle House was designated a National Historic Site in 1971 because of its architecture and the unique history of the Carlyle-Tredwell Family who have lived there. Carlyle House is significant as a fine example of a late Victorian period building, and it is also significant because it is the home of the Carlyle-Tredwell Family, who have lived there for over two hundred and fifty years. The Carlyle-Tredwell Family has been involved in many historic moments in Alexandria, including the founding of the city in 1749, the Civil War, and World War I. The Carlyle-Tredwell Family has a rich connection to the history of Alexandria and to the United States. The Carlyle-Tredwell Family is significant because of its connection to the historic events that have occurred in Alexandria.

Carlyle House Today

Today, the Carlyle-Tredwell Family manages Carlyle House, which is open to the public on certain weekends through the year. The house includes six bedrooms and six bathrooms, as well as a three-bedroom apartment. The house is furnished with antiques and is available for weddings and other special events. The Carlyle House Inn is a popular gathering spot for Alexandria residents and tourists. The Inn is located at the corner of King and Duke Streets, and guests have access to the Inn’s large deck and gardens. During the summer months, Carlyle House hosts a variety of events including concerts and dinners.

Inside the Historic Residence

Inside the historic residence, visitors can learn more about the Carlyle-Tredwell Family’s history and special connections to Alexandria. Visitors can also explore the gardens that surround the house. The gardens include a formal parterre and a variety of seasonal flowers and shrubs. The historic residence has been fully restored and is decorated with antiques, many of which are owned by the Carlyle-Tredwell Family. The historic residence is open to the public through special events. Learn more here.

Carlyle House Today: A Home for the Future

Carlyle House is located within the Downtown Historic District. The Downtown Historic District is one of Alexandria’s most popular destinations and includes numerous restaurants, museums, antique shops, and other attractions. The Downtown Historic District is also home to the Alexandria Waterfront, which is a hub of activity in the summer months. The waterfront includes parks, walking trails, and a marina that offer spectacular views of the Potomac River and the Washington, DC skyline. Carlyle House is a central part of the Alexandria community, and it has the potential to serve as an important gathering space for the community. Carlyle House can continue to play an important role in Alexandria and can serve as a home for the future.

Alexandria's Historic Residences

The Carlyle-Tredwell Family is not the only family who has lived in Carlyle House. The Carlyle-Tredwell Family is one of many families who have lived in Carlyle House over the years, and the historic home has been in the care of many different families. The Carlyle-Tredwell Family is one of the most prominent families, but there have been other families who have lived in Carlyle House, including descendants of Benjamin Stoddert. Benjamin Stoddert was the first United States Secretary of the Navy. The Carlyle-Tredwell Family is one of several families who have lived in Carlyle House and have a rich history of service to the Alexandria community.

If you’d like to learn more about Alexandria, click here to read about The Torpedo Factory Art Center.

VISIT The George Washington Masonic National Memorial

Start: Carlyle House Historic Park

121 N Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314, United States

Follow Cameron St to King St

6 min (1.1 mi)

Head north on N Fairfax St toward Cameron St

135 ft

Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Cameron St

0.3 mi

Turn left onto N Columbus St

52 ft

Turn right onto Cameron St

0.7 mi

Continue straight

174 ft

Turn right onto King St

41 s (0.1 mi)

Drive to your destination

2 min (0.3 mi)

Turn left onto Callahan Dr

253 ft

Turn right

112 ft

Turn left

The destination will be on the left

0.2 mi

End:  The George Washington Masonic National Memorial

101 Callahan Dr, Alexandria, VA 22301, United States


Start: Carlyle House Historic Park

121 N Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314, United States

Head south on N Fairfax St toward Ramsey Alley

0.2 mi

Turn right onto Duke St

 Pass by Midas (on the left in 2.2 mi)

2.4 mi

Turn left onto S Quaker Ln

469 ft

Turn left onto Colvin St

 The destination will be on the right

174 ft

End: Simply Doors and Closets

3248 Colvin St, Alexandria, VA 22314, United States

Simply Doors and Closets


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