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Alexander-Withrow House

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1786; 1851, 1859 alterations; 1966 restoration, Thomas C. Craven. 3 W. Washington St.
  • (Photograph by Tim Buchman)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)

This is one of the oldest buildings in Lexington, and one of the most distinctive. Built by William Alexander, a prosperous merchant, it served as his store and residence. The four corner chimneys are a local feature of the eighteenth century, and the glazed brick diapering pattern is particularly fine. The house is one of only two buildings that predate the town fire of 1796. In 1851, when the town lowered the streets, the house was underpinned to create a new ground-story level. The doors, which had previously been on street level, were either bricked up or made to open onto balconies. In the late 1850s, the original steep gable roof was replaced with a low decked one with a heavy overhang and decorative brackets. In 1966, the Historic Lexington Foundation, working with Charlottesville architect Craven, restored the building's exterior as one of the community's first preservation projects. They named it for Alexander, the original owner, and for the Withrow sisters, who ran a school here in the early twentieth century and whose family owned it from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. The upper stories now serve as a country inn.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Alexander-Withrow House", [Lexington, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 122-123.

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