Today’s church is not quite as old as the others in the previous articles in the series but it is a beautiful church with a long history in Old Town Alexandria. Not as famous as its neighbor Christ Church the Washington Street Church has its place in Alexandria history as well.
The cornerstone for the Washington Street Church was laid in September 1850. However, the history of the church actually began almost 40 years before when a split erupted in the Methodist Church over the issue of slavery occurred. The church split into two factions, just as the country did, a North Group and a South Group. Prior to the split the congregation was meeting in the Trinity Church built in1803. When the congregation split a bitter battle for the church property ensued and finally the original site church was awarded to the North (Trinty)Group and the South Group formed the Washington Street Church right across the street.
During the Civil War the church was taken over by Union troops and used as both a hospital and a stable causing considerable damage to the interior of the building. After the war the church underwent renovations to make it useable again and the congregation returned in 1865. The small church cemetery has headstones of a number of soldiers and congregation members who died during the war years.
The most amazing features in the church today are the incredible stained glass windows. The windows teamed with the Gothic architecture of the original church (newer editions to the building came in the 1950’s) the amazing organ and olden wood pews make this church worth stopping to see why looking at other historic sites in Old Town Alexandria.
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