More Alexandria History Tours and Talks

Are you looking to travel deeper into the past? This page showcases Guided Alexandria History Tours, ranging from premium full-day tours and engaging on-site talks to private custom experiences beyond our signature Alexandria walks to fully immerse you in pivotal moments shaping the nation’s trajectory.

Led by historian David Heiby, with over 25 years of guiding tours, these specialty offerings take you to Civil War battlegrounds, hidden landmarks, and more – unforgettable journeys of discovery waiting to transport you through time.

Meet Your Guide: David Heiby, Public Historian

Meet tour guide and public historian David Heiby. For over 25 years, David has led tours of important American history sites including battlefields, landmarks, and the path of Lincoln’s assassination conspirators after leaving Ford’s Theatre.

As Superintendent of Alexandria’s historic Presbyterian Cemetery for over a decade and member of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House congregation (established 1772), David provides regular weekend walking tours of the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex showcasing two centuries of the city’s heritage.

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Meet Public Historian David Heiby
As Superintendent for over a decade of the historic Presbyterian Cemetery, David serves as Public Historian across Alexandria’s treasured Wilkes Street Complex.
David’s dedication has garnered acknowledgment as the area’s foremost burial grounds expert. He leads weekend walking tours resurrecting powerful history buried across centuries.
Let David’s profound knowledge guide you through interred narratives spanning over two centuries of the city’s intricate past.

His leadership as an Alexandria Historical Society and Lee-Fendall House Museum board member further enriches David’s engagement in preserving Northern Virginia legacies.

Join one of David’s tours to gain insight into impactful past events that still shape our present. When not leading tours, he continues historical research and writing for publications, seeking to educate readers on the nation’s early character along the Potomac River tidewaters.

Old Presbyterian Meeting House Tour

Old Presbyterian Meeting House

Take your Alexandria history exploration further with a tour of the iconic Old Presbyterian Meeting House, a National Historic Landmark.

Maintaining classic eighteenth century Georgian architecture, details like enclosed slip pews secured warmth on cold days as occupants brought heated coal tins inside. The rear gallery houses the original clock, its time frozen at 10:20 pm marking when George Washington drew his last breath. This cherished landmark witnessed that passing firsthand, as the Meeting House bell solemnly tolled those four intervening December nights leading to his funeral hosted within the sanctuary walls, a final tribute of this community so devoted to Washington’s life and leadership.

Today, that same clock and bell stand as enduring memorials, still central fixtures harmonizing with the well-preserved materials, layout, and atmosphere of heritage worship spanning over two centuries.

Join us to travel back through this portal where little separation exists between Alexandria’s formative years and the present, still calling parishioners to these pews each Sunday morning as an active congregation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Kindly contact us to arrange your visit and glimpse this living history.

Bring Alexandria’s History to Your Group

In addition to our signature walking tours, we also offer captivating history talks for local organizations, senior centers, clubs, and event venues.

Our expert guides will travel to your site to present a customized talk tailored to your group’s interests.

Talks typically range from 30-90 minutes including a Q&A session with your attendees.

This is a wonderful way to stage a one-of-a-kind experience for your members right in your own event space or community location. Their journeys into Alexandria’s storied past begin as our guide transports them with vivid tales and trivia.

Contact us to check available dates and book a history talk that promises to engage and inspire!

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Public historian David Heiby captivates the Daughters of the American Revolution while delivering one of his signature engaging history talks tailored for local organizations. David’s customized lectures spanning early Alexandria or broader American heritage promise an eye-opening memorable experience at member group gatherings.

Antietam Battlefield Tour

Full-day tour of Antietam National Battlefield and sites. Can be combined with South Mountain battlefields for an in-depth experience.

Tour Itinerary Includes:

  • Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center – orientation & museum
  • North Woods – initial Union assault jumping off point
  • East Woods – location where General Joseph Mankfield was mortally wounded
  • Miller’s Cornfield – bloody early morning fighting amidst tall corn stalks
  • The West Woods – National Park trail follows fighting’s intense ebb & flow here
  • Bloody Lane – site of savage combat leaving casualties piled high along sunken roadbed
  • Burnside’s Bridge – landmark arched stone bridge visitors can walk across
  • National Cemetery – final resting place for many Civil War soldiers

With so much history to take across this preserved sacred ground, our expert Antietam battlefield guide leads your group to help reflect on the enormous toll inflicted 150 years ago during America’s Civil War.

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Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield
The pivotal battle scene captured in this historic painting centers around Burnside’s Bridge. This limestone arched crossing still stands as an iconic landmark in Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Visitors can explore this bridge spanning Antietam Creek, the site of intense fighting on September 17, 1862, during the Civil War’s bloodiest single-day battle. This National Park Service protected area memorializes the struggle to control Burnside’s Bridge and other strategic locations across the open fields and woodlands now preserved as hallowed ground.

South Mountain State Battlefields

Climb to commanding views from the rugged mountain landscape that first sparked the Antietam conflict. Visit the Washington Monument State Park perched on South Mountain’s crest, which Union forces utilized as a key signal station during the 1862 Maryland Campaign. From that striking stone tower’s peak on clear days, one can see miles westward across Pleasant Valley to the Antietam battlefield that became the pivotal conflict’s bloodiest stage.

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The Washington Monument in Washington Monument State Park, Boonsboro, Maryland
This stone tower monument on South Mountain was used as a Union Army signal station during the 1862 Maryland Campaign of the Civil War. Hike up the mountain for panoramic views across to Antietam National Battlefield and other preserved grounds that saw fighting leading up to the pivotal Battle of Antietam. This state park offers walking trails through the wooded and historical mountain gaps of Fox’s, Turner’s, and Crampton’s.

Tour pathways wind through the wooded mountain gaps and historical fields where fighting occurred such as:

  • Crampton’s Gap, the main Union attack to relieve Harper’s Ferry
  • Fox’s Gap and Turner’s Gap, serving as feint distractions

We will also visit:

  • McClellan’s Headquarters, where the General observed Brigadier General Gibbon’s Western brigade of soldiers advances up the pike toward Turner’s Gap on September 14th. These troops fought with such valiant determination in combat to take the gap that McClellan exclaimed “They must be made of iron.” This action marked the first reference to these units gaining fame as “The Iron Brigade.”

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia Tour

Journey to the historically pivotal town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, site of John Brown’s famed 1859 raid, the largest pre-Civil War U.S. armory, and intense 1862 battle.

Tour Stops Include:

  • Kennedy Farm House – John Brown’s secret militant abolitionist headquarters for planning the raid
  • John Brown’s Fort – Fire Engine House pivotal in Brown’s standoff before surrender
  • The Point – Historic lower town merge of Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers
  • Bolivar Heights – Panoramic overview of Harpers Ferry landscape and 1862 battle events
  • Jefferson’s Rock – Scenic outlook across river passage traveled by Lewis & Clark
  • Jefferson County Courthouse – Site of the trial and hanging sentences post-raid

And more intriguing historically significant sites and stories that continue revealing Harpers Ferry’s outsized role in shaping mid-19th century America.

Expert guide David Heiby, sharing over 25 years of Civil War history insights, traces these epochal events, sites, and personalities like John Brown that still echo through Harpers Ferry’s restored landmark districts settled in the shadow of Appalachian peaks.

Lincoln Assassination Tour

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Ford’s Theatre remains an active playhouse and a somber museum memorializing Lincoln’s last hours within its storied walls over 150 years ago.

Full-day guided tour tracing the escape route of John Wilkes Booth after assassinating President Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.

Tour Stops Include:

  • Ford’s Theatre – Site where Booth fatally shot Lincoln during a play performance
  • Baptist Alley – Path of Booth’s initial escape behind theater
  • Herndon House – Hotel where conspirators awaited the stalking murder plan’s enactment
  • Surratt Boarding House – Stopover linked to development of sinister plot elements
  • Kirkwood House Hotel – Site associated with one on Booth’s intended failed attempts that same night to also kill VP Andrew Johnson
  • Surratt’s Tavern – Where Mary Surratt had arranged earlier that day for waiting guns to support the plot, not knowing her role facilitating weapons at this stopover soon thereafter implicated her as a key co-conspirator.
  • Dr. Mudd House – Where co-conspirator Samuel Mudd infamously provided medical aid to Booth the next day
  • Local stops in Maryland’s southern route of flight from Federal troops
  • Various remote locales – thickets, meadow clearings – reflecting a meandering 12-day escape path fully relived on this dramatic tour…

The journey culminates at Pope’s Creek along the Potomac River in Maryland. There, your guide recounts the dramatic capture, with Booth refusing to surrender when Union soldiers surrounded the tobacco barn hideout across the river in Virginia. After being shot trying to flee, Booth was dragged dying to the adjacent Garrett farm yard.

From Pope’s Creek’s shoreline vantage, take in the sunset over this historic stretch of Potomac while celebrating the revelatory 12-day odyssey with included dinner at the nearby Captain Billy’s Crab Shack. If time allows on the route back, we’ll visit a quintessential Southern Maryland soft serve ice cream stand for more tasty treats to conclude your unforgettable assassination escape tour!

Reserve Your Spot on an Unforgettable Tour

Travel through time and American history by reserving your spot on one of these expert-led tours today.

Contact us at (703) 869-0872, or to inquire about:

  • Pricing and transportation details
  • Custom combination full-day tour packages
  • Options for half-day experiences
  • Group discounts
  • Recommended tours based on your interests

Or fill out the form below with your name, email, requested tour, number of spots, date range, and we’ll contact you to begin planning an amazing history adventure!

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