The Foundation acts as a catalyst for private-sector community preservation action, in conjunction with other like-minded community organizations, such as or neighborhood citizen associations, the Alexandria Association, and the Alexandria Historical Society.
Learning about your community, and the old house that you have chosen to live in, requires research about its past. There are many resources available to you, starting with the HAF publication, Historic Alexandria: Street by Street, which includes a brief history of the city and summarizes what has been gleaned from deed research on many old buildings in downtown Alexandria. There is more extensive information in archives at the Alexandria Public Library and on-line (but as we all know not all information that can be brought up by a computer search engine is comprehensive or even vetted). A dedicated research effort can lead to many resources, which reveal fragmentary clues during your quest for information.
Advocacy takes many forms. Anyone can become an advocate for historic preservation, and if you are reading this, you are ready to begin. Understanding the issues that Historic Alexandria confronts in its ongoing preservation initiatives does not require scholarly expertise in local history and architecture. But it does require a passionate interest in that history, architecture and built environment, as well as willingness to donate time and effort to speak up about the importance of our community heritage.
The Foundation acts as a catalyst for private-sector community preservation action, in conjunction with other like-minded community organizations, such as our neighborhood citizen associations, the Alexandria Association, and the Alexandria Historical Society. Unfortunately, local news media, both print and broadcast, rarely offer in-depth coverage of local preservation issues. Our city government administers several programs that recognize the value of preservation in our community, including staffing two Boards of Architectural Review, our urban archeology program, that was founded during the Urban Renewal era, and the Office of Historic Alexandria, which directs city-owned museum properties, including Gadsby’s Tavern, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop, the Friendship Fire House, Fort Ward, the city’s history museum at the Lyceum and the Black History Museum. But preservation spending must compete against all other spending priorities which confront the city, all of which have their own vocal constituencies. Thus, the private preservation sector must assume a proactive role in promoting broad heritage issues, as well as arguing specific preservation threats, concerns and opportunities. HAF in its advocacy role tracks the plans and policies of local, state and national agencies and officials and how proposed actions will impact historic preservation in the city. The Foundation attends and speaks at Board of Architectural Review hearings, City Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals meetings, as well as at City Council meetings, when deemed appropriate.