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“Where Martha Washington got her castor oil” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
105-107 S. Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA
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Ranked #9 of 38 attractions in Alexandria
Type: Museums, History Museums
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Attraction Details
Owner description: The Apothecary served local customers, including the Washingtons and Robert E. Lee, between 1792 and 1933. The shop was transformed into a museum shortly after its closing and visitors can still view the original ingredients, products, and documents left behind by this 141-year-old family business.
ALEXANDRIA va
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Where Martha Washington got her castor oil”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

As a general rule, I avoid museum tours like the plaque. But this wonderful gem of an 18th century apothecary is the exception that proves the rule. Walking through old Town, the modest storefront at 105-107 South Fairfax Street has limited hours so check the official Alexandria government web site http://alexandriava.gov/historic/apothecary/default.aspx?id=36940
The cost of the docent guided 30 minute tour is only $5. What is amazing is how the owner had to walk away from his business during the Depression and just locked everything up. The four story warehouse just sat there until the City took it over. The first floor is just full of curious bottles but after the gift shop cashier turns into your tour guide, you get to cross of the roped area and go upstairs also. There you can see stuff like A written request from Martha Washington for some castor oil before she died. Even more intriguing are drawers labelled with exotic concoctions like ""Dragon's Blood"! - but they are out of stock of it for the last hundred years. Regular stuff for the 18th century is there like opium, mercury and sulfur
Truly a fascinating and informative tool with all kinds of cool medical tidbits. Take a walk back in time and see what Harry Potter would have seen.
Charm

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

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English first
Middlebury, Vermont
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Very Unusual”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

We thought this place was very cool. It's an 18th Century apothecary that barely changed from the time it opened until it closed its doors in the 1930s. The retail section downstairs is all as it was, including a handwritten order from Martha Washington. Upstairs, the company ran a large mail order business for their own products. The medicinal ingredients are still in their storage containers, along with pill rollers, etc. Very interesting. We had an engaging woman guide us around. She knew her stuff. The young director is doing a good job, too.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Amazing Find”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stumbled onto this place as we were paying for parking. My partner thought we should go inside, and I am quite glad we did. This old pharmacy is the same as it was 100 years ago. As a matter of fact, it was sealed up and kept exactly the same as it was left in 1933 (I believe). The guide was so knowledgeable and answered all the questions we had. I won't spoil it for you, but the second floor is amazing! There's even a registry that lists Robert E Lee and Martha Washington as clients! Definitely make a stop here for a different kind of experience.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington Park, Maryland
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“very cool”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

everything was left in its state from the 1800's. Very cool to see the place almost just as it was from the period. Make sure to get a key to the city book at the visitors center if you are going to other museums. cost was $9 and worth if you so 2 or more tours.

Visited March 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“good tour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

this was an interesting tour and guide was very knowledgeable, and answered all the kids questions happily!

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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