George Lewis Seaton House
The George L. Seaton House is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and resides in the second oldest African American neighborhood in this area, Hayti. This two-story brick building was built around 1861-1866. The property is named after prominent African-American community leader George Lewis Seaton, who purchased the house on April 14, 1866. Historical artifacts representing the community of Hayti have been discovered by archaeologists. The property, along with its artifacts, resemble the life of free blacks in Alexandria in the mid-19th century. In 2004, this property was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
The location of this property eludes to its significance in African American history. In the mid 1800s, the free black community of Alexandria was rapidly increasing. Within the city of Alexandria, the neighborhood of Hayti was founded in the 1800s on the 400th block of South Royal Street. Its name was derived from the only country with a successful slave revolt in the western hemisphere up to this point, Haiti. The property in this neighborhood was sold to free African American families by the Quakers; George Seaton was to become the owner of this specific Alexandrian property in 1866.
In 1822, George Lewis Seaton was born a free black man in Alexandria. He was well-known in the community as an architect and master carpenter, responsible for the construction of several buildings throughout the town around 1850s into the 1860s. Seaton grew to become an important leader within Alexandria, respected by both whites and blacks in the area. In 1869, George L. Seaton became the first African American on the Virginia General Assembly and devoted his position to advancing life for the black community and breaking racial barriers. He would go on to build two schools for the African American children in Alexandria and served as a founding member of the Colored YMCA, the Colored Building Association, and the Old Fellows Society. These were among the major accomplishments Seaton would accomplish for the community.
From 1866 until his death in 1881, the property on 404 South Royal Street served as the home of George Lewis Seaton. He dedicated his life laboring to improve the lives of African American within Alexandria, leaving his mark on the city. George L. Seaton’s family continued to live in the house long after he passed, and the property has undergone many alterations since. Today, the house is a Virginia Historic Landmark that stands in memory of a man devoted to his city and a better life for African Americans.
Roberts, Jay. Old Town Alexandria Commemorative Plaques: George Lewis Seaton House. Jaybird's Jottings. June 24, 2010. Accessed November 26, 2017. http://jay.typepad.com/william_jay/2010/06/old-town-alexandria-commemorative-plaques-george-lewis-se....