Historic Alexandria: An Illustrated History

An Illustrated history of Alexandria, Virginia, paired with profiles of local companies and organizations that make the city great.

An Illustrated history of Alexandria, Virginia, paired with profiles of local companies and organizations that make the city great.


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The Story of Raleigh & Wake County<br />


by K. Todd Johnson<br />

<strong>An</strong> <strong>Illustrated</strong> <strong>History</strong><br />

by Ted Pulliam<br />

A publication of the<br />

City of <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Office of <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong>

Thank you for your interest in this HPNbooks publication. For more information about other<br />

HPNbooks publications, or information about producing your own book with us, please visit www.hpnbooks.com.



<strong>An</strong> <strong>Illustrated</strong> <strong>History</strong><br />

by Ted Pulliam<br />

Commissioned by City of <strong>Alexandria</strong> Office of <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network<br />

A division of Lammert Incorporated<br />

San <strong>An</strong>tonio, Texas

❖<br />

A Finnish ship unloading large rolls of<br />

newsprint (visible in front of the ship’s main<br />

superstructure as they are hoisted above the<br />

deck) in the 1950s at the south dock of the<br />

Robinson Terminal Warehouse Corporation.<br />



First Edition<br />

Copyright © 2011 <strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network<br />

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing from<br />

the publisher. All inquiries should be addressed to <strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network, 11535 Galm Road, Suite 101, San <strong>An</strong>tonio, Texas, 78254. Phone (800) 749-9790.<br />

ISBN: 978-1-935377-41-2<br />

Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 2011924432<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong>: <strong>An</strong> <strong>Illustrated</strong> <strong>History</strong><br />

author: Ted Pulliam<br />

cover artist: John M. Barber<br />

contributing writer for “Sharing the Heritage”: Joe Goodpasture<br />

<strong>Historic</strong>al Publishing Network<br />

president: Ron Lammert<br />

project manager: Barry Black<br />

administration: Donna M. Mata<br />

Melissa G. Quinn<br />

book sales: Dee Steidle<br />

production: Colin Hart<br />

Evelyn Hart<br />

Glenda Tarazon Krouse<br />

Omar Wright<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />




5 CHAPTER I the first peoples<br />

11 CHAPTER II a new town, 1749-1764<br />

11 CHAPTER III the American Revolution, 1765-1782<br />

23 CHAPTER IV the golden age, 1783-1799<br />

27 CHAPTER V <strong>Alexandria</strong>, District of Columbia, 1801-1847<br />

33 CHAPTER VI war approaches, 1848-1861<br />

39 CHAPTER VII Civil War, 1861-1865<br />

45 CHAPTER VIII reconstruction & recovery, 1865-1925<br />

51 CHAPTER IX new direction, 1925-1945<br />

57 CHAPTER X change and preservation, 1946-2010<br />



96 SPONSORS<br />

C O N T E N T S<br />



I am indebted to many people for helping to pull this book together: My special thanks to Rita Holtz for her extremely skillful work<br />

finding, obtaining, and assembling the photographs, drawings, and other images for the book. Thanks also to Diane Riker and Bob<br />

Madison for reading early versions of the text and for their incisive comments and to Bob for encouraging me to write the book. I also am<br />

grateful to: Wally Owen, Jim Johnston, George Combs, Bunny Jacob, Jim Mackay, and Pam Cressey for reading parts of the text and their<br />

very helpful suggestions; Pam Cressey, Steve Shephard, Fran Bromberg, Barbara Magid, and Ruth Reeder of <strong>Alexandria</strong> Archaeology for<br />

their help and encouragement; George Combs, Leslie Morales, Mark Zoeter, and Julie Downie of the Local <strong>History</strong>/Special Collections<br />

Branch of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Library for their very capable help with research and images; Marilyn Whiteman, Chrystal Willet, and Frimble<br />

Smith for their research on particular subjects; Jackie Cohan in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Archives and Records Center; Lance Malamo and Amy<br />

Bertsch of the Office of <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong>; and T. Michael Miller and all the men and women who have written on the history of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> before me. Most of all, my thanks to Molly for whom I have the greatest love.<br />

Ted Pulliam<br />

September 2010<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


C H A P T E R<br />


I<br />

In August 2007, archaeologists working for the City of <strong>Alexandria</strong> were digging at the site of the<br />

Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery at the intersection of Church and South Washington Streets.<br />

Although their main task was to locate graves of the more than eighteen hundred runaway slaves<br />

and free African Americans buried there during and immediately after the Civil War, they soon<br />

found signs that part of the site was used much earlier.<br />

<strong>An</strong> archaeologist searching where such signs were found used a trowel to scrape dirt from a<br />

designated square and place it into a bucket. Later someone sifted through the dirt for artifacts,<br />

found several stone points (mainly spear points), and put them aside. One had its tip broken off.<br />

Only later, when Fairfax County Senior Archaeologist Mike Johnson examined the points, was<br />

it discovered by its shape and workmanship that the broken one was the oldest yet found in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, a Clovis Point estimated to be thirteen thousand years old, the earliest sign of human<br />

presence in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area.<br />

In that extremely remote time, the Indian who made the point would have been one of a small<br />

band of hunter-foragers moving through the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area grasslands (there were as yet no<br />

forests there) searching for food. The Indian must have sat down, and while forming a bit of<br />

quartzite into a point, broke off its tip. The point now was ruined. He discarded it, got up, and<br />

moved on.<br />

This Indian was a predecessor of the Algonquians who lived in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area when the<br />

first Englishmen appeared and a predecessor of the Europeans, Africans, and people from many<br />

parts of the world who eventually came to live in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

❖<br />

The photograph on the left shows the spear<br />

point (actual size approximately 1 1/4<br />

inches long, 3/4 inches wide, and 1/4 inch<br />

thick). The drawing on the right shows how<br />

the point would have looked if whole.<br />



C H A P T E R I<br />


A L E X A N D R I A ’ S<br />

A L G O N Q U I A N S<br />

❖<br />

Above: Some different Algonquian fishing<br />

techniques: wooden fish trap, spear fishing,<br />

and fishing with poles, plus a canoe filled<br />

with big fish and a fire to cook them.<br />



Below: This portrait of Captain John<br />

Smith appeared in the corner of a map in<br />

Smith’s Description of New England<br />

published in 1616 when Smith was thirtysix<br />

years old, eight years after he passed by<br />

the future <strong>Alexandria</strong> on a boat trip on the<br />

Potomac River..<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

6<br />

Today it is little noticed that the City of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> is bordered on three sides by water<br />

—on the east by the Potomac River, on the<br />

south by Great Hunting Creek and Cameron<br />

Run, and on the north by Four Mile Run.<br />

However, this characteristic would not have<br />

gone unnoticed by the Algonquians who had<br />

established homes in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area by<br />

the late 1500s. In fact, to them this border<br />

would have been the most important<br />

geographical fact of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area.<br />

The Algonquians sought home sites that<br />

offered several advantages. They wanted<br />

fresh-water marshes where women could<br />

gather plants—reeds for making houses and<br />

tuckahoe for food—and shallow fresh-water<br />

creeks where men would catch spawning fish.<br />

They liked level ground along a river for<br />

planting crops. Home sites with forests nearby<br />

were valued for deer, nuts, and firewood. The<br />

Algonquians also sought rounded stones from<br />

creek bottoms that they could use to form a<br />

variety of tools, including arrowheads and<br />

spear points.<br />

Once Algonquians found a suitable site,<br />

they would raise houses by inserting into the<br />

ground the ends of several flexible young<br />

trees, bending them over, and tying the other<br />

ends together in the form of an upside down<br />

bowl or stubby rectangle. Then they would<br />

cover these forms with layers of bark or with<br />

mats made from reeds sewn together. A hole<br />

would be left in the roof for smoke from an<br />

interior fire to exit, and an opening left in a<br />

side for a door that could be covered with<br />

reed mats for warmth. Archaeological traces<br />

of such a house site dating back to a pre-<br />

Algonquian era have been found on Jones<br />

Point in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. It probably was used<br />

during the spring and summer fishing season.<br />

T H E F I R S T<br />

E U R O P E A N S A R R I V E<br />

In July 1608 the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area Algonquians<br />

would have seen a strange water craft coming up<br />

the Potomac River. It was a small, open boat<br />

propelled by a sail and oars, called a barge or<br />

shallop, and on board were 28-year-old Captain<br />

John Smith and 14 Englishmen from<br />

Jamestown, the first Europeans to come to the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> area.<br />

They did not land here but proceeded on<br />

up the river to the falls just above present-day<br />

Georgetown. There they disembarked and<br />

walked the banks of the river searching in<br />

vain for the “glistering metal,” gold.<br />

In proceeding back down river, Smith<br />

noted on a carefully-prepared map the<br />

Algonquian village of Assaomeck (“middle<br />

fishing place”) at what appears to be just south<br />

of Great Hunting Creek. As its name suggests,

Smith did find one commodity on the<br />

Potomac that would benefit future European<br />

occupants of <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The river teemed<br />

with fish. As he recorded “in divers places that<br />

aboundance of fish, lying so thicke with their<br />

heads above the water, as for want of nets (our<br />

barge driving amongst them) we attempted to<br />

catch them with a frying pan, but we found it<br />

a bad instrument to catch fish with.”<br />

For a number of years after Smith’s visit,<br />

there were few other European visitors to the<br />

upper Potomac other than a handful of<br />

traders who came by ship to trade for the<br />

Indians’ corn and furs.<br />

Then in the late 1640s a wealthy refugee<br />

from religious and personal conflicts in<br />

Maryland, Giles Brent, crossed the river with<br />

his teenaged Piscataway Indian wife and<br />

established his home at Aquia Creek, about 35<br />

miles south of the future <strong>Alexandria</strong>, and<br />

became the northernmost European on the<br />

Virginia side of the Potomac. Soon joining him<br />

was his formidable sister Margaret. In<br />

Maryland Margaret Brent had been a close<br />

associate of Governor Leonard Calvert and had<br />

appeared so often in the local courts handling<br />

business matters, which was particularly<br />

unusual for a woman, that she was listed in<br />

some court records as “Mistress Margaret<br />

Brent, Gentleman.”<br />

Around the time of the Brents’ arrival, there<br />

was a land rush along the Potomac. A treaty<br />

Virginia signed in 1646 with the remnants of<br />

Powhatan Indians, Algonquians who had long<br />

controlled a vast area of the colony, prohibited<br />

colonists from traveling north of the York River,<br />

but Virginia unilaterally nullified it effective<br />

September 1649, opening the Potomac River<br />

for settlement. The historian Robert Moxham<br />

estimated that between 1651 and 1679, “nearly<br />

a hundred colonial patents [land grants] were<br />

given, conveying rights to many thousands of<br />

acres of the Potomac waterfront from the<br />

Occoquan River to Great Falls.”<br />

One of those many patents went in 1654 to<br />

Margaret Brent, then in her early 50s, for 700<br />

acres on Great Hunting Creek. Hers included<br />

much of present-day Old Town <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

and was the town’s first land grant.<br />

Fifteen years later, in April 1669, a<br />

landowner from Stafford county named John<br />

Alexander sailed upriver to survey land just<br />

south of Great Hunting Creek for John<br />

Washington (George Washington’s greatgrandfather),<br />

land that later became Mount<br />

Vernon. After completing his survey, he<br />

probably directed his boat a little further upriver<br />

past the future <strong>Alexandria</strong> site and around the<br />

bend to see what was there.<br />

Apparently he liked what he saw but lacked<br />

sufficient headrights, credits given at the rate of<br />

fifty acres for each person transported to<br />

Virginia, that were necessary then to acquire<br />

land belonging to the colony. However, a<br />

neighboring tobacco merchant, Robert<br />

Howson, did have the needed headrights.<br />

On October 21, 1669, Howson used his<br />

headrights to patent the land from the<br />

Governor of Virginia, and within a month,<br />

John Alexander purchased it from him for<br />

6,000 pounds of tobacco. John Alexander’s<br />

new purchase included not only the future site<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, but also what would become<br />

Reagan Washington National Airport, the<br />

Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery.<br />

It also included the seven hundred acres<br />

Margaret Brent had purchased earlier, although<br />

for a while no one noticed. After her death,<br />

however, her heirs discovered John Alexander’s<br />

purchase and in 1675 forced Alexander to pay<br />

them 10,500 pounds of tobacco for their interest<br />

in the property, more than he earlier had<br />

paid Howson for his whole grant. Finally, how-<br />

❖<br />

Farmers of small holdings who first lived at<br />

the site of the future <strong>Alexandria</strong> in the late<br />

1600s may have lived in houses that<br />

resembled this one painted by Sidney King<br />

for the 350th anniversary of the founding<br />

of Jamestown.<br />



C H A P T E R I<br />


❖<br />

Farmers and their slaves harvesting tobacco<br />

in the 1600s.<br />



ever, John Alexander owned the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

area and much more.<br />

By this time, many of the Algonquians who<br />

had lived so long in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> area were<br />

there no longer. Diseases they contracted from<br />

contact with European traders and settlers and<br />

to which they had no immunity took a significant<br />

toll. Also a factor in their disappearance<br />

were attacks by the Iroquoian-speaking<br />

Susquehannoks, fierce warriors whom Captain<br />

John Smith thought in 1608 to be much more<br />

impressive than the Algonquians (“Such great<br />

and well proportioned men are seldom seene,<br />

for they seemed like Giants to the English, yea<br />

and to the neighbors”).<br />

The first clear indication that there was a<br />

European living in the area that is now<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was when John Alexander wrote<br />

his will on October 25, 1677. He left 200<br />

acres to Elizabeth Holmes (as well as a bed,<br />

but not “the best bed”) and described the<br />

200 acres as being on land “where John<br />

Coggins lives.” Later deeds and maps locate<br />

the 200 acres in an area in present-day<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> bounded on the east by Hooff’s<br />

Run, the north by Duke Street, the south by<br />

the old channel of Great Hunting<br />

Creek/Cameron Run, and the west about half<br />

way to Telegraph Road. (In another hundred<br />

years, this area would be called “West End”<br />

and now is called “Carlyle.”) There Coggins<br />

had a house, possibly made of logs, that stood<br />

near a spring.<br />

Nothing is known about Coggins other than<br />

his name. He probably was a tenant or employee<br />

of John Alexander. However, he did not stay<br />

there permanently but was driven away in the<br />

early 1680s by incursions and alarms of hostile<br />

Indians, mainly Susquehannoks from<br />

Pennsylvania and Maryland and the fierce<br />

Iroquois from upstate New York.<br />

Settlers did not return to the area until the<br />

late 1680s. In 1686, Robert Alexander, a<br />

descendant of John Alexander, conveyed to<br />

Ralph Platt land on a channel (shown on early<br />

maps as “Ralph’s Gut”) that flowed through a<br />

marsh and into what is now Oronoco Bay.<br />

About the same time, on other Alexander land<br />

Robert Alexander established quarters that<br />

probably consisted of a few buildings, slaves,<br />

and an overseer.<br />

Gradually, other settlers joined them. In<br />

some cases, the new households were headed<br />

by women—Judith Ballenger and Sarah Amos<br />

rented land from Robert Alexander below<br />

Four Mile Run in the early 1730s.<br />

How did these early settlers survive? Once<br />

they had cleared fields, some with the help of<br />

slaves, they focused on the time-consuming<br />

process of growing tobacco, the crop that<br />

made them the most money. In fact, tobacco<br />

was used as money through notes from one<br />

planter to another giving the possessor of the<br />

note the right to a certain quantity of tobacco.<br />

Like money, such notes passed from hand to<br />

hand to pay debts. Settlers also raised cattle<br />

and hogs and let them run “wilde in the<br />

woods” that grew between their widely scattered<br />

homes.<br />

T O B A C C O I N S P E C T I O N<br />

S T A T I O N<br />

In 1730 there were enough settlers in the<br />

area that when the Virginia General Assembly<br />

established a system of tobacco inspection<br />

stations throughout the colony that year, it<br />

established an inspection station “upon<br />

Broadwater’s land” on the south bank of Great<br />

Hunting Creek near its mouth. Two years<br />

later, however, the General Assembly found<br />

this site to be “very inconvenient,” and it<br />

established a new inspection station at the<br />

point of land that once belonged to Ralph<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


Platt but was then owned by Simon Pearson,<br />

who already had built a warehouse there.<br />

This point, located at the foot of presentday<br />

Oronoco Street, was the northern point of<br />

a shallow bay that to the south curved inward<br />

and back out again to another point at the<br />

foot of present-day Duke Street. Although this<br />

new site was located about a mile from the<br />

first warehouse site, it still was known as<br />

Hunting Creek Warehouse.<br />

Sometime between 1735 and 1739,<br />

Pearson deeded this land and the warehouse<br />

to Hugh West, from Stafford County. Hugh<br />

West took over the public warehouse and<br />

expanded his holdings on the point to include<br />

a ferry to Maryland and an ordinary (tavern).<br />

The point soon became known as West or<br />

West’s Point.<br />

About the same time, a small community<br />

called Cameron began to develop at the head<br />

of Great Hunting Creek (roughly where now<br />

Telegraph Road crosses the beltway) where<br />

the main north-south roads crossed the creek<br />

and met a road heading west. Great Hunting<br />

Creek was then navigable by ships at high tide<br />

some way up toward its head, giving the community<br />

commercial connections by both<br />

ground and water. Soon it could boast of an<br />

ordinary and a few houses, and soon also it<br />

would rival West’s Point as the possible site<br />

for a new town.<br />

S E E K I N G A N E W T O W N<br />

In the 1740s, Fredericksburg was the<br />

northern-most town along the Potomac River<br />

in Virginia. However, the powerful Fairfax<br />

family, young Scottish factors (business<br />

agents), and influential planters living in the<br />

northern part of Virginia thought this situation<br />

should change. They realized that western<br />

Virginia was opening up for settlers, and<br />

these newcomers needed a port on the upper<br />

Potomac where they could sell their crops and<br />

buy the goods they needed and desired.<br />

Thus the Journal for the House of<br />

Burgesses reported that on November 1,<br />

1748, “Inhabitants of Fairfax [County]” petitioned<br />

the General Assembly (composed of an<br />

elected House of Burgesses and an appointed<br />

Governor’s Council acting in its legislative<br />

capacity) to establish a town “at Hunting-<br />

Creek Warehouse, on Patowmack River,” that<br />

is, at West’s Point.<br />

The petition has not survived, but it probably<br />

specified that the new town be built on land<br />

owned by Hugh West, John Alexander, and<br />

Philip Alexander. The petition’s signers very<br />

likely included Thomas, Lord Fairfax, owner of<br />

the vast amount of land between the<br />

Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers all the way<br />

from the Chesapeake Bay to the rivers’ headwaters,<br />

and his relations: his cousin and land agent<br />

William Fairfax; William Fairfax’s son-in-law<br />

Lawrence Washington, a burgess from Fairfax<br />

County; and John Carlyle, an energetic merchant<br />

and William Fairfax’s son-in-law to be.<br />

The Fairfax petition was supported by a<br />

petition from the “Inhabitants of Frederick<br />

County” (Winchester). Lord Fairfax owned<br />

much of the land in Frederick County and<br />

likely was behind this petition also, along<br />

with a burgess from Frederick County,<br />

William Fairfax’s son, George William Fairfax.<br />

Around the same time Lawrence<br />

Washington’s sixteen year old half-brother<br />

George drew a map of the land around the<br />

crescent bay on which the new town was to be<br />

built. He inscribed on the map the type of<br />

❖<br />

Thomas, the sixth Lord Fairfax, baron<br />

of Cameron.<br />


NO. 22, A.F. & A.M.<br />

C H A P T E R I<br />


❖<br />

George Washington’s map of the future site<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong> in 1748 showing the crescentshaped<br />

bay and the Hunting Creek<br />

Warehouse complex on the point to the<br />

right. Unlike modern maps, which are<br />

oriented so that north is at the top, this map<br />

places west at the top. At that time, much<br />

travel was by boat or ship, thus maps<br />

frequently were oriented to be viewed as if<br />

approaching from water, in this case the<br />

Potomac River.<br />


H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

10<br />

lines a modern real estate agent would<br />

applaud: “Note that in the Bank fine Cellars<br />

may be cut from thence wharfs may be extended<br />

on the Flats without any difficulty & Ware<br />

Houses built thereon as in Philadelphia.”<br />

As the petitioners learned, however, one of<br />

the owners of the land where the town was to<br />

be built, Philip Alexander, had no desire to<br />

sell his property. He immediately submitted to<br />

the House of Burgesses a petition that<br />

opposed the West’s Point location and favored<br />

instead locating the town at Cameron, the<br />

small community at the head of Great<br />

Hunting Creek.<br />

The three petitions, the ones from Fairfax<br />

and Frederick counties and the one from Philip<br />

Alexander, were referred to a House committee.<br />

When the committee finally reported to<br />

the House on April 5, 1749, it recommended<br />

rejecting all three. Philip Alexander appeared<br />

to have won.<br />

The Fairfax family’s influence, however,<br />

ultimately proved too strong. Burgess<br />

Lawrence Washington probably led the fight<br />

for the Fairfax County petition in the House<br />

of Burgesses, which rejected the committee’s<br />

recommendation and instead ordered a bill to<br />

be prepared creating a town at Hunting Creek<br />

Warehouse. On April 22 the bill passed the<br />

House and, two days later, Lawrence<br />

Washington presented the bill to the<br />

Governor’s Council. After inserting a few<br />

amendments, the Council agreed to the bill,<br />

which undoubtedly had Council member<br />

William Fairfax’s strong support. The House<br />

later agreed to the amended bill, and May 11,<br />

1749, the Governor signed the bill into law.<br />

The West’s Point supporters had a new<br />

town where they wanted it. Possibly as a sop<br />

to Philip Alexander, it was called <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Appointed by the Assembly as the new<br />

town’s first trustees and founders were: the<br />

influential nobleman landowner, Thomas<br />

Lord Fairfax; Governor’s Council member<br />

William Fairfax; his son Burgess George<br />

William Fairfax; Lawrence Washington and<br />

Richard Osborn, the two burgesses from<br />

Fairfax County; John Carlyle, factor for an<br />

English shipping firm; Hugh West, proprietor<br />

of the Hunting Creek warehouse and West’s<br />

Point; John Pagan and William Ramsay, young<br />

Scottish factors; Gerrard Alexander, brother of<br />

John Alexander, one of the town’s landowners;<br />

and lastly, Philip Alexander. All but the<br />

last had supported the bill. They now set out<br />

to build a town.

C H A P T E R<br />

A NEW TOWN, 1749-1764<br />

I I<br />

T H E F I R S T A U C T I O N<br />

On July 13, 1749, a group of men, and likely some women, gathered at the site of the future<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> for an auction of the new town’s eighty-four lots.<br />

The site was some 60 acres of worn out tobacco fields bordered on the east primarily by 15- to<br />

20-foot bluffs that dropped sharply down to the shores of a shallow bay of the Potomac River. The<br />

bay itself curved gradually inward from its southern point (Point Lumley) and then curved<br />

gradually back out again to a northern point (called West’s Point after its owner Hugh West). Only<br />

at West’s Point did the land slope down from the bluffs to water level. On that point stood the<br />

official Hunting Creek tobacco warehouse, Hugh West’s house, a ferry landing, a tavern, and a few<br />

other bare wooden buildings.<br />

The site had been surveyed earlier by John West, Jr., Hugh West’s son and deputy surveyor of<br />

Fairfax County. West also staked the lots and drew a map of the future town. (Young George<br />

Washington later copied West’s map, probably for his half-brothers, Lawrence and Augustine.)<br />

West’s and Washington’s maps showed the town lots and grid with seven streets running west,<br />

away from the Potomac, and three streets running north and south, parallel to the river. The street<br />

names honored royalty, nobility, and the influential Fairfax family, except for Water Street, the<br />

street closest to the river (now Lee Street), and Oronoco, named after a type of tobacco.<br />

On that July day, auctioneer John West, Jr., struck off the first lot, lot 36, to John Dalton, a 26-<br />

year-old merchant originally from Gloucester County, Virginia. The lot was well located on the<br />

edge of the bluffs overlooking the river and on the north side of Cameron Street. Dalton later also<br />

bought adjoining lot 37 on the corner of Cameron and Fairfax Streets.<br />

<strong>An</strong>other young merchant, 29-year-old John Carlyle from a Dumfrieshire family, bought two lots<br />

on the same side of Fairfax Street as Dalton and just across Cameron Street from him. Thirty-three-<br />

❖<br />

General Braddock shown as he is shot in his<br />

battle with the French and Indians. George<br />

Washington is depicted grasping the bridle<br />

of Braddock’s horse as Braddock falls<br />

mortally wounded.<br />



C H A P T E R I I<br />

1 1

❖<br />

The remodeled John Dalton House, 207<br />

North Fairfax Street.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

12<br />

year-old William Ramsay, originally from the<br />

Galloway district of Kircudbrightshire,<br />

bought lots adjoining John Carlyle, Fairfax<br />

Street, King Street, and the waterfront. These<br />

three men, who lived in a line along<br />

Fairfax Street, soon would become the new<br />

town’s leaders.<br />

Before the auction, these three, along with<br />

Lawrence Washington and Nathaniel<br />

Chapman, secretly bought the part of the new<br />

town site that belonged to Philip Alexander.<br />

Alexander had never wanted the town on his<br />

land and feared he would receive little for it at<br />

auction, so he made his deal with the five men<br />

earlier. Then at the auction, each of the five<br />

bought lots, and afterward they divided<br />

among themselves the profits from the sale of<br />

Alexander’s land after discounting the price of<br />

the lots each purchased.<br />

The auction lasted two days. The two<br />

points at each end of town, West’s Point and<br />

Point Lumley, plus a market square on half<br />

the block bordered by King, Royal, Cameron,<br />

and Fairfax Streets purposely were not sold<br />

but were reserved for public use. Although<br />

not all the lots were sold then, the new town<br />

was off to a good start.<br />

A T O W N G R O W S<br />

The trustees required a lot owner to build<br />

a house on his lot within two years of purchase<br />

or lose it (a requirement loosely<br />

enforced). Most lot owners met the requirement<br />

by erecting small, wooden structures on<br />

their lots. Around 1751, John Dalton built a<br />

clapboard house on his Fairfax Street lot. (It<br />

may still exist behind the facade of the house<br />

at 207 North Fairfax Street.) Soon after the<br />

auction, William Ramsay likely used boards<br />

and other material from older buildings to<br />

construct a new home at 221 King Street. (A<br />

1956 reconstruction is now the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Visitors Center)<br />

John Carlyle, however, built between<br />

Dalton’s and Ramsay’s a different home, a<br />

Palladian-style, two-story house with unusual<br />

sandstone outer walls that stood back on his<br />

lot on Fairfax Street. When he moved into it<br />

in August 1753, it was the grandest in town.<br />

(It still stands today).<br />

Carlyle, a town trustee, a justice of the<br />

Fairfax County Court, and the son-in-law of<br />

the influential William Fairfax, was a man on<br />

the move. Possibly as early as 1753, he and<br />

Dalton went into business together, mainly<br />

exporting tobacco and selling goods from<br />

incoming ships’ cargo. It would be a long-lasting<br />

and successful partnership. Similarly,<br />

Ramsay teamed up with John Dixon to export<br />

tobacco and sell imported goods.<br />

Carlyle and the other town leaders began<br />

to use their influence. In February 1752 the<br />

Virginia General Assembly allowed <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

to have two fairs a year, in May and October,<br />

“for the sale and vending of all manner of cattle,<br />

victuals, provisions, goods, wares, and<br />

merchandizes.” Only two months later, the<br />

Assembly ordered the Fairfax County courthouse<br />

and jail moved from near present-day<br />

Tysons Corner to <strong>Alexandria</strong>, where the Court<br />

met for the first time in May.<br />

Market Square became the site of the county<br />

courthouse, jail, stocks, and pillory, and an<br />

open market where farmers sold horses,<br />

chickens, vegetables, meat, and fruit. It also<br />

may have been the place where in 1750<br />

Dalton sold 25 slaves that he imported, probably<br />

from Barbados. If so, it was the first sale<br />

of slaves in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

For spiritual matters, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns gathered<br />

every third Sunday to hear a parson<br />

preach an <strong>An</strong>glican service at a chapel probably<br />

located at Pitt and Princess Streets.

T R A I N I N G G R O U N D<br />

F O R W A R<br />

In 1753, Britain’s long-time enemy France<br />

began building a chain of forts south from<br />

Canada down the Allegheny River in order to<br />

block British colonists in Pennsylvania and<br />

Virginia from expanding westward into the<br />

Ohio Country. Robert Dinwiddie, acting governor<br />

of Virginia, responded by sending 21-<br />

year-old George Washington to the French to<br />

inform them that Virginia claimed the Ohio<br />

and to persuade them to halt. Young<br />

Washington, however, spoke no French and<br />

had no diplomatic experience. The French<br />

were unimpressed and continued building.<br />

In January 1754 Washington reported the<br />

dismissive French response to Governor<br />

Dinwiddie. The affronted governor ordered<br />

Washington immediately to gather militia units<br />

at <strong>Alexandria</strong> and there to “train & discipline<br />

them in the best Manner You can” in preparation<br />

for a return to the Ohio to build British<br />

forts to block the French.<br />

Governor Dinwiddie also commissioned<br />

John Carlyle as commissary in charge of providing<br />

Washington’s forces with supplies (“a<br />

sufficient Quantity of Flower, Bread, Beef and<br />

Pork for 500 Men for six or eight months”).<br />

Carlyle made his headquarters in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Washington, however, had little time to drill<br />

his new troops on <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s Market Square.<br />

The French were moving south faster than<br />

anticipated, and on March 15, Governor<br />

Dinwiddie ordered Washington to leave<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> for the Ohio Country as quickly as<br />

possible with “what Soldiers You have enlisted.”<br />

On April 2, Washington marched out of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> with only about 120 soldiers, several<br />

officers, and “one Swedish Gentleman, who<br />

was a Volunteer.” One of the officers was John<br />

West, Jr., the deputy surveyor of Fairfax County<br />

who laid out the <strong>Alexandria</strong> lots. Also accompanying<br />

Washington was Dr. James Craik, later<br />

an <strong>Alexandria</strong> resident and Washington’s lifelong<br />

friend, and a sergeant named Thomas<br />

Longdon, an ancestor of Samuel Snowden, later<br />

editor of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette.<br />

On May 28, Washington, now in<br />

Pennsylvania and reinforced by a few additional<br />

soldiers, attacked and defeated a small party of<br />

Frenchmen. Although he did not know it, he had<br />

fired the first shots of the French and Indian War.<br />

Soon after this initial success, Washington<br />

and his men were themselves attacked at a hastily<br />

erected fort at Great Meadows, which the<br />

inexperienced Washington called “a charming<br />

field for an Encounter.” There they were soundly<br />

defeated and surrendered. On July 4, 1754,<br />

the French, not officially at war with Great<br />

Britain, allowed them to return to Virginia.<br />

Meanwhile, Carlyle had trouble supplying<br />

Washington’s soldiers. His trouble only<br />

increased after Washington and his men<br />

returned and Virginia began to recruit troops<br />

to fight the French again. Governor Dinwiddie<br />

wrote to Carlyle in June, August, September,<br />

and December 1754 to pass on from the<br />

Governor’s Council and several officers,<br />

including Washington, complaints of his “not<br />

having discharged your duty…with the<br />

Exactness and Dispatch expected.”<br />

Carlyle realized he had taken on a huge<br />

task. He wrote to his family in England that it<br />

was “the most Troublesome one I ever had.”<br />

Then in January 1755, Carlyle received word<br />

that his task was to become even more troublesome—an<br />

entire British army under General<br />

Edward Braddock was coming to <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

G E N E R A L<br />

A R M Y<br />

B R A D D O C K ’ S<br />

A R R I V E S<br />

In March 1755, the first of 17 ships loaded<br />

with British soldiers and their supplies and<br />

❖<br />

The William Ramsay House, 221 King<br />

Street, c. the 1920s.<br />



C H A P T E R I I<br />

1 3

❖<br />

Above: A sketch of John Carlyle’s House,<br />

121 North Fairfax Street, as it would have<br />

appeared when General Edward Braddock<br />

made it his headquarters.<br />



Below: “A Charming Field for an<br />

Encounter.” George Washington’s soldiers<br />

aligned in front of Fort Necessity at Great<br />

Meadows in western Pennsylvania before<br />

their defeat there by the French and<br />

Indians. The red uniforms look the same as<br />

those worn later by General Braddock’s<br />

British troops, except that the wide lapels<br />

and turned-back cuffs of Braddock’s men<br />

were different colors to denote their<br />

different regiments.<br />



weapons docked at the landing at West’s Point<br />

at the foot of Oronoco Street. Immediately the<br />

48th Regiment of Foot began to disembark<br />

and form into ranks.<br />

They must have made a striking scene with<br />

each man wearing his long, bright red coat<br />

with its dull yellow lapels and wide, dull<br />

yellow cuffs and his bright red breeches whose<br />

legs were tucked into white leggings that<br />

buttoned over his knees, half-way up his thigh.<br />

On his head a private wore a flat, black tricorn<br />

hat edged in white, and a special grenadier<br />

wore his distinctive tall, narrow hat shaped like<br />

a tombstone with a thin metal plate in front.<br />

Once they had formed up, they began to<br />

march up Oronoco and down Fairfax Streets.<br />

Townsmen, housewives, children, and<br />

servants stood in front of log or wood-frame<br />

houses to watch and cheer as the redcoats,<br />

their fifes squealing, drums beating,<br />

regimental flag flapping, passed up the<br />

dusty streets scattering hogs, geese, and dogs<br />

from their path.<br />

Before arrival of the army, the town’s<br />

population was a little over five hundred. The<br />

British soldiers tripled that number, and with<br />

the arrival of new recruits for the British and<br />

Virginia forces, the population increased<br />

further, vastly overcrowding the town’s few<br />

available rooms. Mrs. Charlotte Brown, a<br />

nurse traveling with Braddock’s army, wrote in<br />

her diary that she went to every house in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> in search of lodging and “at last<br />

was Obliged to take a Room but little larger<br />

than to hold my Bed, and not so much as a<br />

Chair in it.”<br />

One of Braddock’s soldiers walking<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s streets was Lt. Col. Thomas Gage.<br />

Twenty years later, in April 1775, Gage would<br />

be royal governor of Massachusetts and send<br />

British troops to Lexington and Concord,<br />

causing Paul Revere to ride and the minutemen<br />

to rally and helping to precipitate the<br />

American Revolution.<br />

General Braddock himself did not reach<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> until March 26, arriving with<br />

Governor Dinwiddie in the governor’s handsome<br />

coach. The general quickly obtained for<br />

himself the best house in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, John<br />

Carlyle’s stone mansion. It was here on April<br />

14 that he assembled what John Carlyle<br />

labeled “the Grandest Congress…ever known<br />

on This Continent.” The colonial governors of<br />

Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and<br />

Maryland, along with Dinwiddie of Virginia,<br />

met there with Braddock to discuss military<br />

and financial strategy.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


The principal action they agreed on over the<br />

three-day conference was to attack the French at<br />

four points: Fort Duquesne at the confluence of<br />

the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers (the<br />

site of present-day Pittsburgh and Braddock’s<br />

initial objective) and forts in New York (at<br />

Niagara and Crown Point) and in Nova Scotia.<br />

Yet who would pay for these operations?<br />

Not the colonies, at least not voluntarily, the<br />

governors reported. Their legislatures would<br />

refuse to provide the funds. Instead, the ministers<br />

in London should find a way to compel<br />

them to do so. As a result, in his letter to<br />

London about the conference, Braddock<br />

reported that London must levy “a Tax” directly<br />

upon the colonies for the needed funds.<br />

Some historians have wondered whether<br />

this report could have led to the British Stamp<br />

Act of 1765. As historian Lawrence Henry<br />

Gipson noted, however, a stamp tax for the<br />

colonies had been suggested as early as 1722,<br />

and suggested again in 1754, the year before<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> conference. The <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

conference’s recommendation may have added<br />

to the cumulative effect of earlier and later<br />

similar suggestions, but its influence likely was<br />

not great.<br />

Yet <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns were justly proud of the<br />

conference. It was the largest assembly of royal<br />

governors ever held in the colonies, and it<br />

would not be until 1774, when the Continental<br />

Congress met in Philadelphia, that another<br />

broad assembly of such influential colony<br />

representatives gathered to discuss their future.<br />

Braddock’s mission, however, proved to be<br />

a disaster. By April 27, Braddock and his army<br />

had left <strong>Alexandria</strong>, and on July 9, 1755, after<br />

a long and difficult march and only ten miles<br />

short of their objective, Fort Duquesne, they<br />

were routed by a smaller number of French<br />

and Indians. Over 65% of the British engaged<br />

were killed or wounded, and General<br />

Braddock himself was killed. The Virginia<br />

troops were hit particularly hard. Of three<br />

companies of Virginians, not more than 30<br />

men still lived. One of those killed was<br />

Sergeant Thomas Longdon of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Young George Washington, who earlier<br />

had resigned his commission in the Virginia<br />

forces, accompanied Braddock as a volunteer<br />

aide. He survived unharmed, but during the<br />

battle, two horses were shot out from under<br />

him and four bullets tore holes in his coat.<br />

Braddock and his men had made a poor<br />

impression on <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns. John Carlyle wrote<br />

that “they used us Like an Enemy Country &<br />

Took everything they wanted & paid Nothing<br />

or Very little for it.” (This was not to be the only<br />

time in its history that <strong>Alexandria</strong> was treated<br />

harshly by an unfriendly army.)<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns were ahead of other colonists<br />

in experiencing the arrogance of British soldiers.<br />

But they and others throughout the<br />

colonies had learned that the British could be<br />

defeated—knowledge that would have its<br />

effect in the future.<br />

T H E T O W N E X P A N D S<br />

A N D E N T E R T A I N S<br />

In October 1759, <strong>An</strong>drew Burnaby, Vicar of<br />

Greenwich, England, stopped in <strong>Alexandria</strong> during<br />

his tour of the middle colonies and described<br />

the town as “a small trading place in one of the<br />

finest situations imaginable…. The town is built<br />

upon an arc of this [large circular] bay; at one<br />

extremity of which is a wharf; at the other a dock<br />

for building ships; with water sufficiently deep to<br />

launch a vessel of any rate or magnitude.”<br />

The wharf he mentioned was built by<br />

Fairfax County at the public area at West’s<br />

Point just before General Braddock’s forces<br />

arrived. The shipbuilding operation was that<br />

❖<br />

The April 2010 re-enactment of General<br />

Braddock welcoming royal governors to a<br />

conference he hosted at John Carlyle’s house<br />

255 years earlier to plan the first major<br />

campaign of the French and Indian War.<br />


C H A P T E R I I<br />

1 5

❖<br />

Above: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront as it<br />

probably appeared c. 1760-1775.<br />



Below: A section of the Carlyle-Dalton<br />

wharf excavated in 1982 by <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Archaeology. It was re-buried and now is<br />

underneath the south side of the 100 block<br />

of Cameron Street.<br />


H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

16<br />

of Thomas Fleming at Point Lumley at the<br />

foot of Duke Street, the first of many<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> shipbuilding enterprises.<br />

The public wharf soon was joined by the<br />

first private wharf in the town, that of Carlyle<br />

& Dalton extending out from John Carlyle’s<br />

property in late 1759 or early 1760. Carlyle &<br />

Dalton continued to prosper. Each man also,<br />

like many other <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, from time to<br />

time formed partnerships with other businessmen,<br />

pooling their capital for a particular venture,<br />

such as importing slaves, rum, or sugar.<br />

(There was as yet no bank in all of Virginia.)<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> had its share of smaller businesses<br />

also, like that of dyer Paul Irmill, who took<br />

in “great quantities of woolen, Cloths,<br />

Stockings, yarn in hanks, and also all Kind of<br />

Linnens, Silks, and Brocades for Ladies velvets,”<br />

according to court documents and who<br />

posted a black spaniel hunting dog at the door<br />

of his shop to “defend the said Cloths from<br />

Thieves and Robbers.”<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was not all business and civic<br />

affairs. On February 15, 1760, George<br />

Washington, age twenty-seven, recorded in<br />

his diary attending a ball in <strong>Alexandria</strong> where<br />

there was music, dancing, and “in a convenient<br />

Room detached for the purpose abounded<br />

great plenty of Bread and Butter, some<br />

Biscuets with Tea, & Coffee,” and he named<br />

this entertainment “the Bread & Butter Ball.”<br />

In 1761 <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns selected the gregarious<br />

William Ramsay its honorary Lord Mayor,<br />

decorating him with a golden chain and persuading<br />

him to lead a “grand procession” composed<br />

of “Sword and Mace bearers” and “many<br />

gentlemen of the town and country, wearing<br />

blue sashes.” Bands played, and ships in the<br />

harbor flew banners. After the procession,<br />

according to the Maryland Gazette, came a<br />

brilliant ball, a “sumptuous repast,” and “fireworks,<br />

bonfires, and other demonstrations.”<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns continued to improve their<br />

“finest situation imaginable.” In 1759, a one<br />

and a half story brick town hall was built on<br />

Market Square not far from the courthouse,<br />

and in 1760, room was found on its lower<br />

floor for a school. In November 1762 the<br />

General Assembly authorized the expansion<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong> by a street to the south (Wolfe),<br />

a street to the west (Pitt), and 58 new lots.<br />

The trustees auctioned the new lots on May 9,<br />

1763, to many willing bidders.<br />

In the 1760s, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns began exporting<br />

quantities of flour and wheat, and by<br />

1775 they exported more flour and wheat<br />

than tobacco, diversifying their trade and<br />

foreshadowing real prosperity. But before<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> prospered, it needed to survive the<br />

cataclysm of the American Revolution.

C H A P T E R<br />

I I I<br />


1765-1782<br />

R E V O L U T I O N<br />

A P P R O A C H E S<br />

On March 22, 1765, the British Parliament and George III enacted the Stamp Act requiring<br />

revenue stamps costing from a few pence to several pounds to be affixed to almost all printed<br />

documents in the colonies—law pleadings, bills of lading, newspapers, deeds, even playing cards.<br />

The act’s purpose was to raise funds to defray the expenses of defending the colonies. Instead, it<br />

became the first giant step leading to the American Revolution.<br />

When a session of the General Assembly began in Williamsburg on May 1, the old leaders of the<br />

House of Burgesses were uncertain what to do about the act’s threat to the colonies. As a result, they<br />

dealt with other matters. By late May the session was almost over, and some burgesses, probably<br />

including George Washington, then a burgess for Frederick County (Winchester), had gone home.<br />

Those staying included George Johnston, a burgess from Fairfax County, an <strong>Alexandria</strong>n (his home<br />

was at 224 South Lee Street), and a first class lawyer. At 65 he was somewhat old to be a revolutionary,<br />

but on May 29, with only about a third of the Assembly still present, Johnston moved that the House<br />

of Burgesses begin consideration of resolutions opposing the Stamp Act, resolutions that he, young<br />

Patrick Henry, and two other Burgesses had drafted. Patrick Henry seconded the motion.<br />

During the next two days’ impassioned debate on the resolutions, Patrick Henry is reported to<br />

have said: “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First had his Cromwell, and George the Third….”<br />

“Treason,” shouted the Speaker. “…may profit by their example.”<br />

Henry then concluded, “If this be treason, make the most of it.”<br />

The House of Burgesses passed four anti-Stamp Act resolutions, although the three most<br />

incendiary resolutions of the seven drafted were defeated or not offered. <strong>Alexandria</strong>n George<br />

Johnston’s contribution to the debate was key. Thomas Jefferson, then a law student, stood at the<br />

❖<br />

Row galleys, like the one shown here on the<br />

Ohio River during the Revolutionary War,<br />

were built in <strong>Alexandria</strong> by John Dalton<br />

and George Mason to defend the Potomac<br />

River against the British.<br />



C H A P T E R I I I<br />

1 7

❖<br />

George Johnston.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

18<br />

door of the Assembly listening to the debate.<br />

About George Johnston’s role he later wrote:<br />

“by him the learning and the logic of the case<br />

were chiefly maintained.”<br />

Later, however, all seven of the Virginia<br />

Resolutions were printed in northern colonial<br />

newspapers as though all had been adopted,<br />

including one resolution not even offered that<br />

read: “Resolved, That any person who<br />

shall…assert or maintain that any person or<br />

persons other than the General Assembly of this<br />

Colony have any right or authority to lay or<br />

impose any tax whatever on the inhabitants<br />

thereof, shall be deemed an enemy to this His<br />

Majesty’s colony.”<br />

People in other colonies read of Virginia’s<br />

apparent boldness and were inspired to their<br />

own bold actions in opposition to the Stamp<br />

Act. As a result, in March 1766, Parliament<br />

repealed it. After the repeal, John Carlyle<br />

wrote his brother “nothing Appears but that<br />

our Mother Country intends well for us which<br />

we are Obliged to her for.”<br />

Carlyle’s optimism was short lived. Still<br />

needing money and now wanting to stress its<br />

authority, Parliament in 1767 passed the<br />

Townshend Act duties on importing into the<br />

colonies items such as tea, wine, glass, lead, and<br />

quality paper. Although all the Townshend<br />

duties but that on tea were eventually repealed,<br />

that remaining duty led in December 1773 to<br />

colonists in Boston dressed as Indians boarding<br />

ships loaded with tea and dumping it into the<br />

harbor. In response, Britain angrily closed<br />

Boston Harbor, which in turn set in motion a<br />

chain of events in Virginia and <strong>Alexandria</strong> that<br />

had severe consequences.<br />

V I R G I N I A A N D<br />

A L E X A N D R I A R E S P O N D<br />

The General Assembly was meeting in<br />

Williamsburg in May 1774 when it learned of<br />

Boston port’s closing. The House of Burgesses,<br />

deeply impressed with “the great Dangers to be<br />

derived to British America” from the example<br />

of the closure, passed a resolution setting aside<br />

June 1 “as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and<br />

Prayer.” The royal governor, John Murray,<br />

fourth earl of Dunmore, promptly and<br />

unexpectedly dismissed the House.<br />

Immediately most House members, including<br />

George Washington (elected a burgess from<br />

Fairfax County when the out-spoken George<br />

Johnston became terminally ill), walked down<br />

the street to the Raleigh Tavern to plan their<br />

next steps. Among other actions, they decided<br />

to call a special convention in Virginia to be<br />

held on August 1. Washington later wrote “god<br />

only knows what is to become of us.”<br />

Meanwhile on May 29, 1774, a group of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> citizens, probably as yet unaware<br />

of the happenings in Williamsburg but “deeply<br />

interested as we are, in the fate of Boston,”<br />

formed a committee of correspondence to<br />

communicate with neighboring towns “in the<br />

most speedy manner” about the present<br />

“Alarming situation.” The first three names on<br />

the list of members of the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

committee were the three Fairfax Street<br />

neighbors, Carlyle, Dalton, and Ramsay.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> then had no newspaper.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns obtained information about the fate<br />

of Boston and the larger world generally through<br />

newspapers printed in <strong>An</strong>napolis and<br />

Williamsburg, letters from friends, incoming<br />

ships’ captains, stagecoach travelers, and now,<br />

semi-official correspondence with other towns.<br />

They discussed this information energetically,<br />

then and during the Revolution, on street<br />

corners, in churches (the new Christ Church had<br />

just been completed in 1773 and the Old<br />

Presbyterian Meeting House would be in 1775—<br />

almost as if <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns built stable houses of<br />

worship to sustain their faith and themselves<br />

through the turmoil they sensed coming), and<br />

over a pipe of tobacco, a tankard of ale, or bowl<br />

of rum punch in taverns like Arell’s on Market<br />

Square or the widow Hawkins’ on Royal Street<br />

(near where Gadsby’s Tavern stands today).<br />

T H E F A I R F A X R E S O L V E S<br />

On July 14, 1774, Fairfax County elected<br />

George Washington and Charles Broadwater<br />

as its delegates to the Virginia Convention,<br />

chose Washington to head a committee to<br />

draft instructions for the delegates, and set<br />

July 18 as the date for the county to meet in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> to discuss the instructions.<br />

The night before the instructions were to be<br />

presented at <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Fairfax County

esident George Mason stayed at Mount Vernon<br />

with Washington. It is generally agreed that<br />

Mason was the lead drafter of what next day<br />

became the Fairfax Resolves. Mason, then 50<br />

years old, and Washington, then 42, had<br />

known each other for years and had consulted<br />

frequently about farming techniques, served<br />

together as <strong>Alexandria</strong> trustees, and, in 1769,<br />

worked together on Virginia’s first nonimportation<br />

agreement.<br />

The following morning the county met in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, probably in the courthouse on<br />

Market Square (which likely was packed with<br />

people). Washington, as chairman of the<br />

drafting committee, probably proposed the<br />

resolutions with comments in support that were<br />

short and to the point. (Thomas Jefferson wrote<br />

that he never heard Washington speak more<br />

than ten minutes at a time and then always “to<br />

the main point that was to decide the question.”)<br />

After some discussion, his and Mason’s<br />

resolutions, slightly amended, were adopted.<br />

The adopted resolutions proposed that the<br />

colonies refuse to import most goods from Great<br />

Britain or to export certain American goods to<br />

Great Britain, and most importantly, that all<br />

colonies attend a congress to prepare “for the<br />

Defense and preservation of our Common<br />

rights.” The resolutions also beseeched the king<br />

“not to reduce his faithful Subjects of America to<br />

a State of desperation, and to reflect, that from<br />

our Sovereign [the king], there can be but one<br />

Appeal.” Although not stated explicitly, the only<br />

appeal remaining was war.<br />

Of the several Virginia counties that proposed<br />

resolutions, Fairfax County’s were “the<br />

most detailed, the most influential, and the most<br />

radical” according to historian Jeff Broadwater.<br />

The meeting also appointed a county committee<br />

of 25, including Washington, Mason,<br />

Ramsay, Carlyle, and Dalton as well as John<br />

West, uncle of Hugh West of the Hunting<br />

Creek Warehouse, and two Alexanders, Philip<br />

and Charles, to address “any emergency.”<br />

Washington and Broadwater carried the<br />

Fairfax resolves to the Virginia Convention. As<br />

the resolves proposed, the Convention banned<br />

importing British goods and exporting goods<br />

to Great Britain, although the export ban<br />

would not become effective for a year. It also<br />

elected delegates, including George<br />

Washington, to the First Continental Congress<br />

meeting in Philadelphia in September.<br />

A P L O T R E V E A L E D<br />

Events quickly escalated. At a second Virginia<br />

Convention in March 1775, Patrick Henry gave<br />

his “give me liberty or give me death” speech; on<br />

April 19, Massachusetts minutemen and British<br />

regulars exchanged gunfire at Lexington and<br />

Concord; on June 8, royal governor Dunmore<br />

fled Williamsburg to a British warship off<br />

Yorktown; on June 16, at the Second<br />

Continental Congress, George Washington<br />

accepted the position of commander-in-chief of<br />

the Continental forces; and in the fall of 1775,<br />

Dunmore took control of Norfolk and offered<br />

freedom to any slave who joined him.<br />

Following these momentous events, there<br />

appeared in the Virginia Gazette of December 22,<br />

1775, a transcript of some very disturbing papers<br />

found on a loyalist, Major John Connolly, captured<br />

at a tavern near Hagerstown, Maryland.<br />

According to those papers, Connolly planned to<br />

gather a force of Ohio and Detroit Indians, backwoods<br />

loyalists, “serviceable French,” and British<br />

soldiers and artillery, transport them from Detroit<br />

to Fort Pitt (earlier Fort Duquesne and now<br />

Pittsburgh), and march them down Braddock’s<br />

Road to <strong>Alexandria</strong> (a Braddock’s march in<br />

reverse). In <strong>Alexandria</strong> he would rendezvous<br />

with Governor Dunmore’s ships and soldiers,<br />

and then, as one of his confederates wrote,<br />

“sweep all the Country before him.”<br />

❖<br />

A watercolor of a molded German<br />

stoneware tankard, c. 1760-1775, and a<br />

late eighteenth century clay pipe that were<br />

uncovered at the site of Arell’s Tavern on<br />

Market Square and now are part of the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Archaeology collection<br />



C H A P T E R I I I<br />

1 9

❖<br />

Patrick Henry delivering his speech before<br />

the House of Burgesses in May 1765 in<br />

which he said: “If this be treason, make<br />

the most of it.”<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

20<br />

Earlier, with Dunmore’s approval, Connolly<br />

had sailed to Boston to obtain the approval of<br />

General Thomas Gage, commander-in-chief of<br />

the British land forces. Gage was familiar with<br />

part of the route, having been with General<br />

Braddock in <strong>Alexandria</strong> and on the road to Fort<br />

Pitt (then Fort Duquesne), and he approved.<br />

Major Connolly was on his way to the backcountry<br />

in disguise to execute his plan when he<br />

was captured. It was a long-shot scheme at best,<br />

and Connolly was an unlikely man to execute it<br />

successfully (one modern historian referred to<br />

him as “a local blowhard”), but its discovery<br />

unnerved <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns.<br />

Their uneasiness increased when a month<br />

later Dunmore, driven out of Norfolk to his<br />

ships, shelled the city, starting a fire that burned<br />

much of Norfolk to the ground. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns<br />

found themselves with nothing between them<br />

and the enemy but an open river and a company<br />

of militia armed mainly with clubs. As the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns wrote in December 1775: “The<br />

Sword is drawn, the Bayonet is already at our<br />

Breasts, therefore some immediate Effort is necessary<br />

to ward off the meditated Blow.”<br />

Lund Washington, George Washington’s<br />

cousin who managed Mount Vernon in<br />

Washington’s absence, on January 17, 1776,<br />

wrote Washington in Cambridge, Massachusetts:<br />

“The <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns expect to have their Town<br />

burnt by the Enemy soon.”<br />

L O Y A L I S T S<br />

In such an atmosphere, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns were<br />

forced to choose sides. Were they with the<br />

mother country or with their home?<br />

In December 1775, <strong>Alexandria</strong>n Enoch<br />

Hawksworth, not wanting to renounce his loyalty<br />

to king and country, “sold his goods, settled<br />

his debts, closed his store that stood on North<br />

Fairfax Street adjoining Col. John Carlyle’s<br />

house,” and sailed away from <strong>Alexandria</strong> “to<br />

become ‘a wandering and forlorn Refugee,’”<br />

wrote author Marian Van Landingham.<br />

He was not alone. In late 1776, Harry<br />

Piper, a tobacco agent in <strong>Alexandria</strong> for the<br />

firm of Dixon and Littledale of Whitehaven,<br />

England, left for his mother country. He had<br />

been an outstanding <strong>Alexandria</strong> citizen—<br />

bought a lot in the first auction in 1749,<br />

served as a town trustee, and even signed an<br />

early non-importation agreement—and his<br />

letters make it clear that he had no real desire<br />

to leave. He knew, however, as he wrote his<br />

employer, once the Continental Congress’s<br />

ban on exports to Great Britain, including<br />

tobacco, took effect (as it soon would), “my<br />

stay here can neither be of advantage to you<br />

or agreeable to me.” So he sailed away.<br />

Members of the Fairfax family each made<br />

his or her own decision. Old Lord Fairfax, 82<br />

in 1775, continued to live unmolested west of<br />

Winchester, “a silent, inactive bystander” as a<br />

biographer recorded, until his death in<br />

December 1781. His old land agent, William<br />

Fairfax, had died in 1757. William’s son, and<br />

George Washington’s great friend, George<br />

William Fairfax, and his wife Sarah had gone<br />

to England in 1773 to deal with the family<br />

estate and see doctors. They never returned.<br />

T H E D E F E N S E<br />

O F A L E X A N D R I A<br />

The defense of <strong>Alexandria</strong> and the Potomac<br />

River was such a concern that George<br />

Washington wrote in November 1775 from<br />

Massachusetts to William Ramsay (Ramsay and<br />

Washington were close—Washington even<br />

helped support Ramsay’s son William at “the<br />

Jersey College,” now Princeton) asking Ramsay<br />

to investigate places along the Potomac where<br />

derelict ships could be sunk and shore batter-

ies erected to block the passage of British warships.<br />

Ramsay investigated, but unfortunately<br />

found that the channel was too deep and the<br />

river too wide for that to be practical.<br />

At the urging of <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns Carlyle,<br />

Dalton, Ramsay, and others, however,<br />

Virginia’s revolutionary government furnished<br />

them funds to buy three armed ships, build<br />

two row galleys (fairly small sailing vessels<br />

with oars, thick gunwales, and several cannons),<br />

and equip them for use on the Potomac<br />

against “Lord Dunmore’s Pirates.”<br />

The government placed George Mason and<br />

John Dalton in charge of the vessels’ acquisition.<br />

Mason was ill and rarely left Gunston<br />

Hall, so it fell to Dalton to do most of the work.<br />

Mason wrote of Dalton: “He is a steady diligent<br />

Man, & without such Assistance I could not<br />

have undertaken it [procuring and building the<br />

vessels].” Ships, including one called the<br />

American Congress, were bought but finding<br />

gunpowder, cannon, even sail cloth for them<br />

and for the galleys proved difficult. By May<br />

1776, however, a spy for Dunmore reported<br />

the vessels were mostly ready and were “fully<br />

Manned with desperadoes.”<br />

In an effort to remedy the shortage of gunpowder,<br />

muskets, and ammunition,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>n Robert Townshend Hooe, his business<br />

partner from Maryland, Daniel of St.<br />

Thomas Jennifer, and a young future<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>n, Richard Harrison, developed contacts<br />

with the French in Martinique and opened<br />

up a channel of supply, trading <strong>Alexandria</strong>n<br />

flour and bread for French arms. Dodging<br />

British ships was dangerous, but ships chartered<br />

by Jennifer and Hooe, like the sloop Molly, were<br />

successful enough to help the patriot cause.<br />

In late July 1776, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns had a scare<br />

when Dunmore’s ships came up the Potomac<br />

searching for fresh water. Just below Dumfries<br />

the British burned several buildings and routed<br />

a militia unit but sailed no further upriver.<br />

Many <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns did not wait for the<br />

British to come to them. Men from <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

with names like Arell, West, Conway, and<br />

Lynn fought from Massachusetts to South<br />

Carolina in Virginia regiments. <strong>Alexandria</strong>n<br />

Robert Hanson Harrison served for five years<br />

as an aide to Washington. John Fitzgerald of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was another Washington aide.<br />

Doctor James Craik, who had been with<br />

General Braddock, was Chief Physician and<br />

Surgeon of the Continental Army. <strong>Alexandria</strong>n<br />

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Simms succeeded<br />

Colonel James Hendricks, also of <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

as second-in-command of the 6th Virginia<br />

Infantry regiment when Hendricks became<br />

commander of the 1st. Moreover, fifteen-yearold<br />

George William Carlyle, John Carlyle’s<br />

only son, was killed in South Carolina only<br />

three weeks before the Battle of Yorktown.<br />

Finally, in early August 1776, Dunmore sailed<br />

away from the Chesapeake for New York. His<br />

leaving did not mean <strong>Alexandria</strong> was free to<br />

resume its usual shipping. At unpredictable<br />

times British warships appeared at the mouth of<br />

the bay and seized vessels leaving and coming,<br />

much to <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s and all Virginia’s detriment.<br />

E S C A P E A N D A T T A C K<br />

On May 1, 1777, a notice appeared in the<br />

Maryland Gazette offering a reward of $100<br />

for apprehending nine Loyalist prisoners who<br />

had escaped from the <strong>Alexandria</strong> jail. Aiding<br />

their escape was Nicholas Cresswell, a young<br />

Englishman who had come to <strong>Alexandria</strong> to<br />

seek his fortune. Seven of the escapees<br />

made their way to a British warship in the<br />

Delaware Bay, but two, discouraged earlier,<br />

returned to <strong>Alexandria</strong>. There the two hoped<br />

to help their cause by accusing six townsmen<br />

of planning to burn the town and murder<br />

its inhabitants.<br />

❖<br />

A scene in the yard of Christ Church after<br />

Sunday services, c. 1775.<br />


C H A P T E R I I I<br />

2 1

❖<br />

Above: John Murray, fourth earl of<br />

Dunmore, the last royal governor of<br />

Virginia, copied from the original by<br />

Joshua Reynolds.<br />


Below: The home of successful <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

merchant Robert Townshend Hooe, who<br />

helped <strong>Alexandria</strong> obtain powder and<br />

muskets during the Revolution, was the first<br />

mayor of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, and was one of the<br />

justices of the peace whose appointment led<br />

to the famous Supreme Court case of<br />

Marbury v. Madison. This house at 200<br />

Prince Street and 201 South Lee Street was<br />

built c. 1780. Its second floor parlor was<br />

sold during the Great Depression to a St.<br />

Louis museum, but a replica of the parlor is<br />

on display at the Lyceum in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />


H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

22<br />

The six accused <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, including<br />

<strong>An</strong>drew Wales and William Hepburn, were<br />

sent to Williamsburg for trial, where Wales,<br />

Hepburn, and two others were acquitted and<br />

freed. Wales owned a brewery, and present-day<br />

Wales Alley was named after him. Hepburn<br />

later became a successful export-importer, and<br />

as the owner of a mill, distillery, and extensive<br />

property, one of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s wealthiest men<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns’ last and closest brush with<br />

combat came in the spring of 1781 when a<br />

British sloop of war, the Savage, came to Mount<br />

Vernon and seized a boat and 17 slaves. Martha<br />

Washington was not present then, and it is not<br />

clear whether the British knew to whom Mount<br />

Vernon belonged.<br />

Lund Washington, General Washington’s<br />

cousin and estate manager, went on board the<br />

Savage with refreshments in an effort to regain<br />

the Washington property. The only thing his<br />

visit accomplished, however, was to infuriate<br />

the General when he heard about it.<br />

Washington wrote Lund that rather than giving<br />

those “plundering scoundrels” refreshments,<br />

“it would have been less painful” to<br />

him if “they had burnt my House, and laid my<br />

Plantation in ruins.”<br />

In the dark early morning only days later, a<br />

British vessel, probably the Savage, sailed into<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> harbor. There its men boarded a vessel<br />

from Baltimore loaded with tobacco, confined<br />

the vessel’s seamen, and prepared to sail<br />

her down river. At this point, men on a nearby<br />

vessel discovered them and gave the alarm. The<br />

British immediately abandoned the Baltimore<br />

ship, climbed into a boat alongside, rowed back<br />

to their own ship, and sailed hurriedly back<br />

down river. However, an armed schooner pursued<br />

and captured them at Boyd’s Hole off King<br />

George County. <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s defenses finally<br />

had been tested and had proven effective.<br />

T H E B R I T I S H V A N Q U I S H E D<br />

At Yorktown in October 1781, Washington’s<br />

Continentals, Count Rochambeau’s French<br />

army, and Count de Grasse’s French navy eliminated<br />

the British from Virginia for good. The<br />

following July, Rochambeau’s soldiers marching<br />

back north camped just outside <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

There, as an observer reported, “the most<br />

elegant and handsome young ladies of the<br />

neighborhood” danced with the French<br />

officers “in the middle of the camp, to the<br />

sound of military music; and…the circle was<br />

in a great measure composed of soldiers, who,<br />

from the heat of the weather, had disengaged<br />

themselves from their clothes, retaining not<br />

an article of dress except their shirts, which in<br />

general were neither extremely long, nor in<br />

the best condition; nor did this occasion the<br />

least embarrassment to the ladies, many of<br />

whom were of highly polished manners, and<br />

the most exquisite delicacy; or to their friends<br />

or parents.”<br />

Perhaps through their dancing, these<br />

young <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns celebrated the freedom<br />

and release they now felt after the stifling<br />

British threat had ended.

C H A P T E R<br />

I V<br />


1783-1799<br />

The Revolutionary War formally ended with the Peace of Paris signed in 1783. <strong>Alexandria</strong> then<br />

grew rapidly in almost every way—in population, geographical expanse, variety of businesses, new<br />

institutions, number of brick buildings, and sophistication of its governmental structure.<br />

By the end of the century <strong>Alexandria</strong> was no longer “a small trading place” as the good Vicar Burnaby<br />

described it in 1759. It was not even the same as General Washington found it in December 1783 when<br />

he returned to <strong>Alexandria</strong> from the war (welcomed by a huge feast and the firing of thirteen cannons).<br />

The most obvious change was on the waterfront. The effort to push the town out into the Potomac<br />

begun by the Carlyle-Dalton wharf had been greatly expanded. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns built additional wharves<br />

and used dirt obtained from leveling the bluffs to fill in the bay’s shallow tidal flats, a process called<br />

“banking out,” to reach the river channel that ran between the two points, West’s Point and Point<br />

Lumley. By the mid 1780s the two ends of Water Street had been joined in the middle and Union Street<br />

had been added along the waterfront. By the beginning of the new century, the waterfront was a curve<br />

no longer but a rough straight line, as it is today.<br />

Not only had the width of the waterfront increased but also its business. New warehouses sprang up,<br />

like the four-story granite and brick warehouse built around 1796 by John Fitzgerald at the southeast<br />

corner of King and Union Streets. From these warehouses, wharves stretched out into the river, and<br />

beside the wharves bobbing up and down were tall-masted schooners, sloops, brigs, snows, and larger<br />

vessels—a few built in <strong>Alexandria</strong> at John Hunter’s boatyard. Lund Washington wrote in 1790: “[T]he<br />

port of <strong>Alexandria</strong> has seldom less than 20 Square Rigged Sale of Vessels in it and often many more.”<br />

❖<br />

Gadsby’s Tavern, later known as City Hotel,<br />

c. the early 1920s, looking south from the<br />

intersection of Cameron and Royal Streets.<br />

The tavern consists of the two buildings on<br />

the southwest corner of the intersection. The<br />

older building is the smaller one on the left.<br />



C H A P T E R I V<br />

2 3

❖<br />

Above: The Fitzgerald Warehouse, c. 1937.<br />

The warehouse was built by John Fitzgerald<br />

at the southeast corner of King and Union<br />

Streets. At the far left is King Street and at<br />

the right is Wales Alley.<br />


Below: A shipping ad placed in the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette in 1785 by the firm of<br />

Hooe and Harrison advertising merchandise<br />

imported into the port of <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The<br />

firm’s store was at the corner of Duke Street<br />

and The Strand where the Robinson<br />

Terminal Warehouse Corporation’s office is<br />

now. Osnaburgs, duck, cambricks, and<br />

lawns were types of cloth.<br />



Ships sailed from <strong>Alexandria</strong> to Europe, the<br />

West Indies, and coastal America. They still<br />

carried tobacco, but more and more often their<br />

holds were filled with Indian corn, wheat, and<br />

flour, particularly flour. <strong>Alexandria</strong> was an official<br />

Virginia flour inspection station, and flour<br />

merchants maintained offices in town and partnerships<br />

with mills further west. Wagon after<br />

wagon traveled the dirt roads from Fauquier,<br />

Loudon, and Prince William Counties to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s waterfront. There they off-loaded<br />

cargoes of flour, wheat, rye, and corn to be carried<br />

by slaves on board ships and sent abroad.<br />

Ships returning to <strong>Alexandria</strong> brought wine,<br />

raisins, olive oil, nuts, and straw mats from<br />

Spain; dessert wines from Portugal; pins, frocks,<br />

cloth, and an array of manufactured goods from<br />

England; quills, artificial flowers, and tiles from<br />

Holland; and rum, oranges, brown and white<br />

sugar, turtles, and coffee from the West Indies,<br />

according to historian Betty Harrington<br />

Macdonald. Some of these goods were carried<br />

by smaller boats to local ports along the coast,<br />

but much was sold out of waterfront stores.<br />

Merchant and shipping firms bore <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

names like Hooe & Harrison, Herbert, Harper,<br />

Ramsay, Conway, Hartshorne, Muir, and Adam.<br />

Although economic prosperity was uneven<br />

during this period, by 1795, according to<br />

historian T. Michael Miller, <strong>Alexandria</strong> ranked<br />

as the seventh largest seaport in the United<br />

States and the third largest exporter of flour.<br />

The increase in shipping was due partly to<br />

the General Assembly’s appointing <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

an international port of entry in 1779. In the<br />

early 1780s, Charles Lee, brother of General<br />

Light Horse Harry Lee and future uncle of<br />

Robert E. Lee, was the town’s first customs officer<br />

and maintained a customs office at 305<br />

Cameron Street.<br />

and scheduled a meeting for <strong>Alexandria</strong> in March<br />

1785. Thus began a series of meetings that step<br />

by step led to the convention in Philadelphia that<br />

wrote the U.S. Constitution.<br />

The Maryland commissioners arrived in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> on time, but there had been a mixup<br />

in notifying the Virginia commissioners of their<br />

appointment. No Virginian was there to meet<br />

them. Again at a key time, George Washington<br />

acted. Learning of the situation, he sent his carriage<br />

to one of the Virginia commissioners,<br />

George Mason, and conveyed him to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. There Mason rounded up another<br />

Virginia commissioner, Alexander Henderson,<br />

an <strong>Alexandria</strong> and Dumfries merchant, and they<br />

promptly met with the Marylanders (possibly in<br />

Gadsby’s Tavern). It was cold, however, and<br />

snowing, and Washington soon invited them all<br />

to the more comfortable Mount Vernon. There<br />

the two states’ commissioners signed a compact<br />

guaranteeing free navigation of the Potomac.<br />

The meeting was so successful that Maryland<br />

and Virginia agreed to meet again in <strong>An</strong>napolis<br />

in early September 1786 and invited all the<br />

former colonies to join them to discuss<br />

regulating interstate trade.<br />

Only five states attended the <strong>An</strong>napolis<br />

meeting, but the delegates from those states<br />

were acutely aware of the weakness of Congress<br />

under the Articles of Confederation, the interstate<br />

agreement under which the country was<br />

governed. The meeting ended with the delegates<br />

noting “the embarrassments which characterize<br />

the present state of our national affairs”<br />

and issuing a ringing call for a convention of all<br />

T H E N E W S T A T E S M E E T<br />

After the Revolution, however, this prosperity<br />

was threatened by a conflict between Virginia<br />

and Maryland concerning who regulated trade<br />

on the Potomac. Maryland claimed jurisdiction<br />

over the entire width of the Potomac River, from<br />

bank to bank, under its 1632 charter from King<br />

Charles I, a claim Virginia contested. Both states<br />

appointed commissioners to resolve the issue<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


states in Philadelphia in May 1787 to address<br />

concerns about the national government. That<br />

convention produced the Constitution.<br />

A L E X A N D R I A ’ S<br />

D I F F E R E N T L O O K<br />

In the meantime, in October 1785, the<br />

General Assembly authorized <strong>Alexandria</strong> to<br />

extend its town limits to Great Hunting Creek<br />

in the south, Four Mile Run to the north, and<br />

one mile from Market Square to the west. By<br />

1798, as shown on George Gilpin’s map of<br />

that year, the town had established or planned<br />

new streets westward across Washington<br />

Street to both sides of West Street, northward<br />

to Montgomery Street, and south all the way<br />

to Great Hunting Creek.<br />

The appearance of the town itself also had<br />

changed. By the mid-1790s many of the dirt<br />

streets were paved with cobblestones. There<br />

were new brick buildings, such as a new Market<br />

House on Market Square built in 1785 and the<br />

Gadsby’s Tavern buildings (the smaller, Georgian<br />

building to the south built around 1785, and the<br />

larger Federal-style north building built in<br />

1792). New churches were constructed—the<br />

first Methodist church was built in Chapel Alley<br />

in 1791 and St. Mary’s Catholic Chapel<br />

completed near the present Washington Street<br />

entrance to St. Mary’s Cemetery around 1796.<br />

New houses were constructed, like the Lee-<br />

Fendall House in 1785. A visitor to <strong>Alexandria</strong> in<br />

1795 was struck by “the vast number of houses<br />

which I saw building as we passed through the<br />

street. The number of people employed as<br />

carpenters and masons. The hammer and trowel<br />

were at work everywhere….”<br />

New institutions were started, such as<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s first newspaper, The Virginia Journal<br />

& <strong>Alexandria</strong> Advertiser in 1784 (later known by<br />

various names but referred to below as the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette). The cornerstone was laid in<br />

1785 for the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Academy, a “Seminary<br />

of learning” for the children of <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Masonic Lodge was chartered by the<br />

Grand Lodge of Virginia in 1788. The Stabler-<br />

Leadbeater Apothecary Shop first opened its<br />

doors in 1792. The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Library<br />

Company was founded as a subscription library<br />

(annual fee $4) in 1794. The first fire company,<br />

the Friendship Volunteer Fire Company, had<br />

been started in 1774, and by 1799, there were<br />

four fire companies in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. But perhaps<br />

most important for <strong>Alexandria</strong> traders and<br />

merchants—the Bank of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, the first<br />

bank in Virginia, was chartered in 1792.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> could boast of a variety of businesses,<br />

like a ropewalk owned by Samuel<br />

Harper near Washington and King Streets,<br />

which consisted of a low building some twelve<br />

hundred feet long inside which a man walked<br />

backward spinning fibers into rope and paying<br />

the rope out as he walked. Also in <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

were coopers, such as George Hill, who rented a<br />

space off Water Street to make barrels, nail kegs,<br />

buckets, etc.; potters like Henry Piercy at the<br />

northeast corner of Duke and Washington<br />

Streets; and silversmiths like Adam Lynn, Jr., on<br />

King Street, who in 1796 advertised “all kinds of<br />

gold and silver work, such as coffee pots, tea<br />

pots, cream pots, sugar dishes, salts, spoons,<br />

etc.” Commercial bakers like James Adam provided<br />

seamen with ship bread, and John<br />

Fitzgerald, <strong>An</strong>drew Wales, and James Kerr operated<br />

breweries.<br />

With all of this activity, the population of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> in 1790 was 2,748, including 543<br />

slaves and 52 free black men and women. By<br />

1800 it had risen to 4,971. Some of the slaves<br />

and free blacks were trained artisans who,<br />

along with others, did the “hammer and trowel”<br />

work on the new buildings. The population<br />

also included Quakers, who had been persecuted<br />

in the northern colonies for their pacifism<br />

and began arriving during the Revolution<br />

after the passage of the Virginia Declaration of<br />

Rights in 1776.<br />

N E W G O V E R N M E N T S ,<br />

N E W L E A D E R S<br />

On October 4, 1779, Virginia replaced the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> trustees with a new form of city<br />

government, a mayor-council system. Twelve<br />

members of a board of aldermen and common<br />

council were elected by voters, and they<br />

selected the mayor from among themselves.<br />

The town also had new leaders. John Dalton<br />

and John Carlyle had died before the end of the<br />

Revolution, and William Ramsay died in 1785.<br />

The new mayors were men like Robert<br />

❖<br />

This house at 220 South Lee Street is called<br />

a “flounder house” because, like the fish, it<br />

has a flat side on the property line that has<br />

no “eyes” (windows). Built mainly in the<br />

late 1700s and early 1800s, flounders were<br />

ideal for <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s deep but narrow lots,<br />

and sometimes were built back from the<br />

front property line as a temporary home<br />

until the owner could acquire enough money<br />

to build a nicer house in front, at which<br />

time the flounder became the typical service<br />

ell for the main house. Occasionally, that<br />

main house was never built.<br />


C H A P T E R I V<br />

2 5

❖<br />

Above: A large slip-decorated earthenware<br />

dish (actual diameter 13 inches) found in a<br />

privy behind Henry Piercy’s retail shop in<br />

the 400 block of King Street. The “slip,” a<br />

mixture of clay and water, was applied to<br />

the dish using a cup and hollow quills,<br />

somewhat like applying decorative icing<br />

to a cake.<br />



Below: Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick<br />




H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

26<br />

Townshend Hooe, Colonel James Hendricks,<br />

Richard Conway, John Fitzgerald, and Dennis<br />

Ramsay, son of William Ramsay, many of whom<br />

had served in the Revolution or aided the patriot<br />

cause as civilians.<br />

April 15, 1791, was the symbolic beginning<br />

of perhaps an even greater change in the<br />

governmental structure of <strong>Alexandria</strong>. At Jones<br />

Point on that date was laid the first cornerstone<br />

of the new District of Columbia in which<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was to be included, effective in<br />

1801. (The work of surveying the district had<br />

begun earlier, in February, also at Jones Point,<br />

with the assistance of Benjamin Banneker, the<br />

sixty-year-old son of a white woman and a<br />

black slave. Largely self-taught, he had become<br />

an excellent astronomer and surveyor.)<br />

Officiating at the cornerstone ceremony<br />

were two of the three commissioners who were<br />

to supervise construction of the federal city,<br />

accompanied by <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s mayor, aldermen,<br />

and councilmen. Offerings of corn, wine, and<br />

oil were laid atop the stone in a Masonic ritual<br />

symbolizing nourishment, refreshment, and joy.<br />

Earlier at Wise’s Tavern in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, the company<br />

had raised a glass of wine and offered an<br />

optimistic toast: “May the Stone which we are<br />

about to place in the ground remain an<br />

immoveable monument of the wisdom and<br />

unanimity of North America.”<br />

T H E F U N S I D E O F<br />

A L E X A N D R I A<br />

Not everything about <strong>Alexandria</strong> was serious,<br />

however. <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s first theater was built in<br />

1799 at 406 Cameron Street. (Only the year<br />

before a company of players from Philadelphia<br />

were forced to act in a nearby barn.)<br />

Native <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns knew how to entertain<br />

agreeably. The young Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick,<br />

who was skillful on several musical instrument<br />

and sang “with great power and sweetness,”<br />

once sent a dinner invitation that began:<br />

If you can eat a good fat duck,<br />

Come with us and take pot luck.<br />

Of white ducks we have a pair<br />

So plump, so round, so fat, so fair,<br />

A London Alderman would fight<br />

Through pies and tarts to get a bite.<br />

At least one visitor thought <strong>Alexandria</strong> had<br />

gone too far in its modes of entertainment. A<br />

strait-laced carpenter passing through town,<br />

wrote: “<strong>Alexandria</strong> is one of the most wicked<br />

places I ever beheld in my life; cockfighting,<br />

horse racing, with every species of gambling<br />

and cheating, being apparently the principal<br />

business going forward. As a proof of this, you<br />

may judge of the extent of this dissipation when<br />

I inform you, this little place contains no less<br />

than between forty and fifty billiard tables….”<br />

G E O R G E<br />

W A S H I N G T O N<br />

When George Washington returned to<br />

Mount Vernon in 1783, he planned to stay<br />

there. Yet in 1789, without campaigning, he<br />

was elected President of the United States. <strong>An</strong><br />

overflow crowd of <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns at Wise’s<br />

Tavern at the northeast corner of Cameron and<br />

North Fairfax Streets sent him off with heart-felt<br />

speeches. Washington, to his embarrassment,<br />

needed more than speeches. He had to borrow<br />

money from a former mayor of <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

Richard Conway, to pay his debts in Virginia<br />

before leaving for New York, then the U.S.<br />

capital, in order to assume the presidency.<br />

Eight years later George Washington<br />

returned to Mount Vernon, and, on December<br />

14, 1799, he died there. In this last illness, he<br />

was attended by three doctors, two of whom<br />

were <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns: Dr. James Craik, his old<br />

friend from French and Indian War days, and<br />

Dr. Elisha Cullen Dick. A month before his<br />

death, on November 17, Washington attended<br />

church in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, his last visit to the town.<br />

He was buried at Mount Vernon on<br />

December 18, with <strong>Alexandria</strong> town officers<br />

and many <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns attending. In the<br />

funeral oration delivered to the U.S. Congress<br />

and other mourners in Philadelphia,<br />

Washington’s dashing and controversial<br />

Revolutionary War general Light Horse Harry<br />

Lee, future <strong>Alexandria</strong> resident and future<br />

father of Robert E. Lee, said of Washington:<br />

“First in war, first in peace, and first in the<br />

hearts of his countrymen.”<br />

The new nineteenth century began for<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> without George Washington but<br />

with the hope of increased prosperity as part<br />

of the new District of Columbia.

C H A P T E R<br />


1801-1847<br />

V<br />

T H E S U P R E M E C O U R T , A L E X A N D R I A N S , A N D<br />

T H E L E E S O F V I R G I N I A<br />

Officially <strong>Alexandria</strong> became part of the new District of Columbia on February 27, 1801, much<br />

to the joy of <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, who believed that their inclusion in the new capital area would expand<br />

their success of the previous decade.<br />

Time would tell, but almost immediately inclusion in the new District led to the involvement of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, including a member of the distinguished Lee family, in one of the most famous court<br />

cases in U.S. history.<br />

In March 1801, during the last hours of John Adams’s presidency, Adams signed and sealed<br />

commissions naming three prominent <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns: Robert Townshend Hooe, William Harper,<br />

and Dennis Ramsay, and one Georgetowner, William Marbury, justices of the peace in the newly<br />

created District of Columbia. The commissions, however, were undelivered when Thomas Jefferson<br />

took office. President Jefferson then refused to deliver the commissions, and the four almost-justices-of-the-peace<br />

filed suit to compel him to deliver them..<br />

The case, Marbury v. Madison, came before the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice John Marshall<br />

delivered the court’s opinion. In that opinion for the first time the court invalidated a law passed<br />

by Congress and signed by the President as being contrary to the Constitution. As Marshall wrote:<br />

“It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department [and by implication, not that<br />

of the Congress or the President] to say what the law is.”<br />

Arguing the case on behalf of the plaintiffs was Charles Lee, a member of the prominent Lee clan.<br />

He had settled in <strong>Alexandria</strong> late in the last century and had served as a Potomac River customs officer<br />

then as Attorney General of the United States under both Washington and Adams.<br />

❖<br />

The tide lock of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Canal at the<br />

foot of First Street during the Civil War.<br />



C H A P T E R V<br />

2 7

❖<br />

Above: Charles Lee.<br />




Below: Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home, 607<br />

Oronoco Street, c. the 1870s or 1880s.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

28<br />

With his wife, <strong>An</strong>ne Lee, who was also his<br />

cousin, Charles was the first of what would<br />

become a community of Lees living in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. (Charles Lee briefly rented the Lloyd<br />

House then moved to 407 North Washington<br />

Street.) Following him to <strong>Alexandria</strong> were three<br />

brothers, a sister, and several cousins. They<br />

established a small enclave on the 400 block of<br />

North Washington Street and 600 block of<br />

Oronoco. Charles’ sister, Mary Lee Fendall, lived<br />

in the Lee-Fendall house, at 614 Oronoco, with<br />

husband Richard Fendall, also a Lee descendant.<br />

The fifth generation of a family that had prospered<br />

in Virginia since the mid-1600s, the Lees<br />

brought to <strong>Alexandria</strong> a new touch of elegance.<br />

One of Charles’s brothers was General Henry<br />

“Light Horse Harry” Lee, who moved to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> in 1810 with his second wife <strong>An</strong>n<br />

Carter Lee and their four children, including<br />

three-year-old Robert Edward Lee. (The family<br />

lived first at what is now 611 Cameron Street,<br />

then moved to 607 Oronoco Street.)<br />

Unfortunately, few firsthand accounts of<br />

Robert Lee’s childhood in <strong>Alexandria</strong> exist.<br />

However, his older brother Carter had “vivid<br />

recollections of [his own] boyhood spent trapping<br />

squirrels and rabbits, stealing the neighbors’<br />

apples, playing ‘marbles, hopscotch….’”<br />

activities that Robert likely shared, as Robert’s<br />

biographer Elizabeth Brown Pryor wrote. Also,<br />

Robert undoubtedly felt at home among the<br />

warm community of <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lees.<br />

His childhood, however, also had its darker<br />

side. His father General Harry Lee had been a<br />

soldier and a hero in the Revolution who fought<br />

with George Washington. Afterward, however,<br />

he was constantly and heavily in debt. In 1813,<br />

to escape his numerous creditors and ease his<br />

spirits, Harry Lee sailed to the West Indies, leaving<br />

Robert without a father and his family virtually<br />

without funds. Five years later, the general<br />

died on his way home to <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

In a letter home, the elder Lee had written<br />

about his youngest son: “Robert was always<br />

good, and will be confirmed in his happy turn<br />

of mind by his ever-watchful and affectionate<br />

mother.” That turned out to be true.<br />

Robert Lee was educated at the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Academy and at Quaker Benjamin Hallowell’s<br />

fine school at 609 Oronoco Street. In July<br />

1825, he left <strong>Alexandria</strong> to enter West Point.<br />

W A R C O M E S T O T O W N<br />

The evening of August 27, 1814, men and<br />

women standing silently on wharves on the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront could look north and<br />

see the smoke rising from the remains of the<br />

Capitol burned by the now-departed British<br />

soldiers and at the same time hear from the<br />

south the even more disturbing sounds of cannon<br />

fire. Although the British Army that<br />

caused so much suffering in Washington had<br />

neglected them, they realized they might not<br />

be so lucky with the British Navy sailing up<br />

the Potomac River from the south.<br />

The sound of cannons came from Fort<br />

Warburton (now Fort Washington), six miles<br />

down river from <strong>Alexandria</strong> on the Maryland<br />

side, as it was being attacked by a squadron of<br />

British ships under Captain James Gordon that<br />

included two frigates, a rocket ship, and three<br />

bomb vessels. The fort was the last obstacle to<br />

the British on the Potomac. Soon their way<br />

would be clear to sail on to <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

In <strong>Alexandria</strong> no one remained to defend the<br />

citizens but about one hundred overaged, sick,<br />

or unreliable men left after authorities in<br />

Washington had ordered the town’s militia elsewhere.<br />

Even the Washington authorities themselves—military<br />

commanders, heads of governmental<br />

departments, and the president himself—were<br />

now scattered about the countryside.

Two days later, August 29, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns<br />

awoke to find the squadron with its 128 guns<br />

anchored in the harbor “but a few hundred<br />

yards from the wharves, and the houses so situated<br />

that they might have been laid in ashes in a<br />

few minutes,” the Common Council later wrote.<br />

Captain Gordon promised he would not<br />

destroy the town nor molest its inhabitants, if<br />

the Americans would not commence hostilities.<br />

Further, the <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns must surrender all<br />

military stores, all shipping in the harbor, and<br />

all merchandise in town intended for export.<br />

Having no option, the Council agreed to his<br />

terms, and the British promptly began removing<br />

ships and merchandise while dejected<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> merchants stood by “viewing with<br />

melancholy countenance the British sailors gutting<br />

their warehouses of their contents,” one<br />

observer wrote.<br />

On September 1, Gordon’s well-loaded<br />

ships began to leave <strong>Alexandria</strong> and sail back<br />

down the Potomac. Their journey down river,<br />

however, was contested, finally, by American<br />

forces under naval Captain David Porter,<br />

including the <strong>Alexandria</strong> militia. Porter placed<br />

his men and cannons on the hastily fortified<br />

heights four miles below Mount Vernon at<br />

Belvoir, the old William Fairfax estate. From<br />

there for five days they battled the British ships<br />

headed down river. Even though they sunk no<br />

ships, the <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns and other Americans<br />

fought well. Eleven Americans were killed and<br />

19 wounded, while Americans killed seven<br />

British and wounded 35.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was free then from further harm,<br />

but its decision to surrender rather than fight<br />

made it for a while an object of national scorn.<br />

Napoleon in Portugal and Spain. In fact, in 1817<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> reached its high point in quantity of<br />

flour exported—more than 217,000 barrels.<br />

In 1817 the town contained, according to<br />

historian Harold Hurst, “512 brick and 383<br />

frame three-story and two-story residences<br />

and warehouses; 429 one-story and one-half<br />

story houses” plus churches, schools, bake<br />

houses, shipyards, ropewalks, and sheds for<br />

blacksmiths, cabinetmakers, tanners, and<br />

other artisans. Two sugar refineries, one in the<br />

100 block of North Alfred Street and the second<br />

in the 200 block of North Washington<br />

Street, were probably <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s most valuable<br />

manufacturing plants during the early<br />

1800’s. From 1800 to 1820, <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s population<br />

almost doubled, from 4,971 to 8,218.<br />

Construction of the Little River Turnpike<br />

from 1803 to 1819 provided <strong>Alexandria</strong> for the<br />

first time with a well-built link to Western<br />

Virginia, the primary source of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

wheat and flour. The waterfront continued to be<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s main center of economic activity,<br />

yet opening the turnpike led also to the development<br />

of a second such center, the vibrant<br />

community called West End, located west of<br />

Hooff’s Run and south of Shuter’s Hill just outside<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s then boundaries. The community<br />

took its name from John West, who subdivided<br />

his property there in 1796. It served<br />

teamsters who drove wagon loads of wheat and<br />

❖<br />

Above: General Henry “Light Horse<br />

Harry” Lee.<br />




Below: On August 24, 1814, five days<br />

before the British navy reached <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

the British army entered Washington and<br />

over the next several hours put to the torch<br />

the White House, the Capitol, the Treasury<br />

building, the Navy Yard, and other public<br />

and a few private buildings. This engraving<br />

depicting the British taking Washington<br />

appeared in a London publication.<br />


G. THOMPSON.<br />

N E W M E R C H A N T G E N T R Y<br />

In plundering <strong>Alexandria</strong>, the British took,<br />

according to <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, “three ships, three<br />

brigs, several bay and river craft” plus about<br />

1,000 hogsheads of tobacco, 150 bales of cotton,<br />

some $5,000 worth of wine, sugar, and<br />

other articles, and around 16,000 barrels of<br />

flour—substantial losses. Gradually, however,<br />

resilient <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns recovered.<br />

Helping to overcome these setbacks was the<br />

heavy demand for flour in the West Indies, in<br />

England, and for British troops fighting<br />

C H A P T E R V<br />

2 9

❖<br />

Above: This house at 711 Prince Street in<br />

this mid-twentieth century photograph was<br />

the home of William Fowle, who enlarged<br />

and restyled an earlier two-story flounder<br />

house that had been built before 1808.<br />

Fowle, a successful businessman from<br />

Massachusetts, was president of the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Canal Company. The house has<br />

been enlarged and renovated several times<br />

since Fowle’s death.<br />


Below: The two large brick buildings in the<br />

center of this Civil War era photograph<br />

constituted the Jacob Hoffman sugar<br />

refinery complex on the west side of the 200<br />

block of North Washington Street. The<br />

building partially visible to the far right<br />

is the Lloyd House at 220 North<br />

Washington Street..<br />


flour to the mills, bakeries, and docks of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> and drovers who brought cattle to<br />

market. Located there were a blacksmith, coach<br />

maker, wheelwright, shoemaker, and tailor plus<br />

butchers (Hooff’s Run was named for Lawrence<br />

Hooff, a butcher operating along its banks), tavern<br />

keepers, millers, and tanners.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, D.C.’s first prosperity, and this<br />

latest resurgence, were led by a new merchant<br />

gentry similar to Carlyle, Dalton, and Ramsay,<br />

the earlier Scottish-connected gentry. This new<br />

group included the Daingerfield family from<br />

Spotsylvania County (shippers); the orphaned<br />

Smoot brothers from Maryland (coal, lumber,<br />

grocery importers, tanners); the Massachusetts<br />

Fowle family (flour exporters); Englishman<br />

James Green (furniture maker); the Swiss-<br />

Frenchman <strong>An</strong>thony Charles Cazenove<br />

(importer, merchant); and the Quakers:<br />

Phineas Janney (commission merchant),<br />

Pennsylvanian William Hartshorne (dry goods<br />

merchant, wharf and warehouse owner), and<br />

Robert Hartshorne Miller (importer of glass,<br />

china, and other goods).<br />

As an example of its prosperity, <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

could boast of Monsieur Generes, a French<br />

dancing master, who, dressed in a black dress<br />

coat, black breeches, black silk stockings, and<br />

pumps with gold buckles, taught his pupils<br />

on Prince Street, and held “practicing balls”<br />

bimonthly on King Street. Guy Atkinson rented<br />

well-lighted “Portrait and Miniature<br />

Painting Rooms” on 115 and 113 North<br />

Fairfax Street where itinerant artists painted<br />

the portraits of <strong>Alexandria</strong> notables.<br />

Then on the morning of January 18, 1827,<br />

another catastrophe hit the town when shortly<br />

before nine a.m. a fire broke out that rapidly<br />

destroyed the back buildings (kitchens, stables,<br />

outhouses) in the block formed by King, South<br />

Royal, Prince, and South Fairfax Streets. The<br />

fire also consumed 53 homes and warehouses<br />

on Fairfax, Union, Water (now Lee), and Prince<br />

Streets. Lasting five full hours, it did between<br />

$107,000 to $150,000 in damage.<br />

The damage could have been worse if a<br />

performer from a circus that was in town had<br />

not, as the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette reported,<br />

“mounted the highest and steepest roof in<br />

town…and sustaining himself by a shallow<br />

gutter within a few inches of the eaves”<br />

applied water for hours, saving the building<br />

and preventing the fire from spreading.<br />

As <strong>Alexandria</strong> began again to recover, its<br />

economy received a boost from a new enterprise.<br />

F R A N K L I N<br />

& A R M F I E L D<br />

In 1808 importing slaves into the United<br />

States became illegal. Afterwards, anyone who<br />

wanted to purchase a slave legally had to purchase<br />

a slave already in the U.S.<br />

In the area around <strong>Alexandria</strong>, growing<br />

labor-intensive tobacco had been largely<br />

replaced by growing less labor-intensive wheat.<br />

As a result, former tobacco planters had a<br />

surplus of slaves. At the same time, newly developing<br />

areas along the Mississippi River needed<br />

slaves to work labor-intensive cotton fields.<br />

To take advantage of this imbalance, in<br />

1828 the firm of Franklin & Armfield set up<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


operations at 1315 Duke Street to deal in<br />

African-American slaves. With John Armfield<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> buying and transporting slaves<br />

and Isaac Franklin in New Orleans and<br />

Natchez selling them, the firm catered to the<br />

needs of both regions. During the following<br />

almost nine years the firm became the largest<br />

slave dealer in the United States.<br />

In <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Armfield kept his slaves on<br />

Duke Street behind high-walled yards, one for<br />

men and one for women, or chained in the<br />

basement of the main building or in outbuildings.<br />

Between September and May, sometimes<br />

as frequently as once a month, Armfield’s men<br />

chained slaves together in groups called coffles<br />

and led them, frequently at night, down Duke<br />

Street to the waterfront to be shipped to New<br />

Orleans. There Franklin sold them to the highest<br />

bidder. Also, once a year, usually in late<br />

summer, Armfield sent a coffle of as many as<br />

300 slaves walking the more than 900 miles to<br />

Franklin in Natchez.<br />

One of Franklin and Armfield’s coffles was<br />

described by an African-American schooner<br />

captain named George Henry. He and a friend<br />

were walking down a street when they heard<br />

“such screaming and crying, we couldn’t tell<br />

what it meant, so we kept on till we met about<br />

two hundred men and women chained together,<br />

two and two…. [T]he scene was enough to<br />

bring tears into any man’s eyes if he had a heart.”<br />

The firm prospered—a researcher estimated<br />

its gross receipts for 1835 exceeded $24 million<br />

in 1970 dollars. Yet its success did not affect the<br />

inherent cruelty of selling women, men, and<br />

children nor did it make the slave sellers<br />

respectable. Historian Henry Wise pointed out<br />

a paradox: in the South “slave-owning was honorable<br />

but slave-dealing was not.”<br />

In 1836 Franklin and Armfield decided<br />

they had profited enough, began winding up<br />

their partnership, and soon Armfield moved<br />

elsewhere to assume a different occupation<br />

and identity.<br />

F R E E<br />

A F R I C A N - A M E R I C A N S<br />

Slaves were not the only African-Americans<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. In 1830, over half of the black<br />

population of <strong>Alexandria</strong> was free, and many<br />

free men and women had once been slaves. The<br />

Alfred Street Baptist Church, established in<br />

1803, was the home of the first black congregation<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. In the early part of the 19th<br />

Century, the area around the church, between<br />

Duke and Wolfe Streets (later known as “The<br />

Bottoms” and “The Dip”) became one of the<br />

town’s first two free black neighborhoods. The<br />

east side of the 400 block of South Royal Street<br />

was the nucleus of another early neighborhood<br />

of homes rented by free blacks called “Hayti.”<br />

Many free African-Americans had skilled<br />

occupations and were successful businessmen.<br />

Peter Logan was a ship carpenter, ran a boot and<br />

shoe blacking business, and became the Town<br />

Crier. Dominick Bearcroft operated a popular<br />

tavern at 315 Cameron Street across from<br />

Market Square (in a building now gone) famed<br />

for its crabs: “[H]e knew when they were fat and<br />

fresh—knew how to ‘devil’ them—to ‘boil’<br />

them—how to prepare crab soup and crab pie!”<br />

Freedom, however, was precarious. After<br />

the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831, during<br />

which rebelling slaves killed more than 50<br />

white people in southern Virginia, free blacks<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> felt compelled to issue a notice<br />

stating their “abhorrence of the recent outrage”<br />

and asserting that they “would promptly<br />

give public information of any plot, design,<br />

or conspiracy” they learned about that might<br />

harm the community.”<br />

T H E<br />

C A N A L<br />

By the mid-1820s, Baltimore and Richmond<br />

were beginning to take away <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s valuable<br />

trade with the Shenandoah Valley grain<br />

fields. In a bid to regain that trade, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns<br />

subscribed $250,000 toward building the<br />

❖<br />

A coffle of slaves marching in front of the<br />

Franklin and Armfield slave prison at 1315<br />

Duke Street as depicted in an anti-slavery<br />

broadside printed in 1836 by the American<br />

<strong>An</strong>ti-Slavery Society of New York.<br />



C H A P T E R V<br />

3 1

❖<br />

Left: A part of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront<br />

from which a small boat containing slaves is<br />

being rowed out to a ship that will take<br />

them to New Orleans to be sold. From an<br />

anti-slavery broadside printed in 1836 by<br />

the American <strong>An</strong>ti-Slavery Society of<br />

New York.<br />



Right: <strong>An</strong> image of the African-American<br />

neighborhood Hayti, circa 1830-1860,<br />

based upon archaeological research.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

32<br />

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which was to parallel<br />

the Potomac River west from Georgetown<br />

to the Valley. It would be the first of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

monetary pledges to the wrong business—<br />

canals. On the same day in 1828 that the canal<br />

held its groundbreaking ceremonies, the<br />

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad held its own<br />

groundbreaking in Baltimore. The race to the<br />

Shenandoah was on.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns had to build another canal to<br />

connect to the C&O. In 1830, the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Canal Company was chartered by Congress,<br />

and on December 2, 1843, the Pioneer, at the<br />

speed of one and three quarters to two miles<br />

per hour, crossed the Potomac at Georgetown<br />

by a new aqueduct and wove seven miles<br />

through the old John <strong>Alexandria</strong> property to<br />

Washington and Montgomery Streets. It was<br />

the first canal boat to reach <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

although locks were not completed to take the<br />

canal all the way to the river until 1850.<br />

By then the new canal had cost over $1.2<br />

million. The <strong>Alexandria</strong> town government had<br />

borrowed much of that amount, and over the<br />

following years it borrowed additional funds<br />

to maintain both the <strong>Alexandria</strong> and C&O<br />

canals. Meanwhile, the B&O Railroad reached<br />

Cumberland, Maryland, near the Shenandoah<br />

Valley, eight years before the C&O-<strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Canal did.<br />

To help compensate for the loss of trade to<br />

Baltimore, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns expanded their fishing<br />

business. Operating out of a shambling collection<br />

of smelly shacks called Fishtown (which<br />

materialized from March through June along<br />

the waterfront between Oronoco and Princess<br />

Streets), free black women and slaves headed<br />

and gutted shad and herring brought in from<br />

Potomac fisheries, washed them, and then salted<br />

and packed them in wooden casks for sale<br />

by fish brokers. In 1835, the Potomac River’s<br />

total catch was 750,000,000 herring and<br />

22,500,000 shad (demonstrating that fishing<br />

techniques had improved in the 200 years<br />

since Captain John Smith used his frying pan),<br />

much of which was processed by <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns.<br />

Despite this new trade, during most of the<br />

1830s and 1840s, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns operated in what<br />

historian Thomas Duffy described as “generally<br />

declining prosperity.” Still, in 1839, enlightened<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns erected the Greek-Revival-Style<br />

Lyceum on Washington Street to provide space<br />

for literary and scientific lectures and for the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Library Company.<br />

R E T R O C E S S I O N<br />

The great expectations <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns held at<br />

the District of Columbia’s beginning had been<br />

doomed from the start. Federal legislation creating<br />

the District provided (probably to gain<br />

Maryland’s support) that federal buildings could<br />

be located only on the Maryland side of the<br />

Potomac. Thus, the federal complex developed<br />

on that side of the river, and Congress, although<br />

governing the entire District, concentrated on its<br />

side of the river and neglected the federally barren<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> side, except for taxing it.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, with Virginia’s support, petitioned<br />

to return to Virginia, and on March 13,<br />

1847, the town again became part of the<br />

Commonwealth. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, more elated to<br />

leave the District than they were to join it, suspended<br />

business for a day, crowded the streets,<br />

and celebrated by firing salutes and staging a<br />

grand parade.<br />

Along with concerns about taxes and neglect,<br />

some <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns probably wanted to<br />

leave the District because they feared Congress<br />

would abolish slavery there and thus in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. Events soon after retrocession<br />

demonstrated that this fear was justified.

C H A P T E R<br />

V I<br />


1848-1861<br />

T H E T R O U B L E I ’ V E S E E N<br />

At 11 o’clock Saturday night, April 15, 1848, a 65-foot, two-masted schooner named the Pearl<br />

sailed quietly away from a secluded landing on the Washington waterfront loaded with 76 African-<br />

American slaves. Her charterers were not slave traders, but abolitionists determined to publicize<br />

District of Columbia slavery, and she was bound for freedom.<br />

Two of the slaves on board were Emily Edmondson, aged 13, and Mary Edmondson, aged 15,<br />

the cherished daughters of Paul Edmondson, a free black man, and his wife Amelia. Amelia was a<br />

slave, and thus under the applicable law, her children also were slaves. The sisters’ owner had hired<br />

them out to prosperous families in Washington as house servants. Now, however, they were on<br />

board the Pearl sailing, they hoped, to freedom.<br />

The Pearl made good time down the winding Potomac until arriving late Sunday evening at its<br />

mouth. There a storm was blowing from the north making it treacherous to sail up the Chesapeake<br />

to the ship’s planned destination, Frenchtown, Maryland. The Pearl’s captain then made a risky<br />

decision, the schooner would anchor for the night until the storm blew away.<br />

Earlier that Sunday morning back in Washington, word had spread quickly among the<br />

white population attending church services that many of their valuable slaves were missing.<br />

❖<br />

Selling “fancy girls” in New Orleans.<br />



C H A P T E R V I<br />

3 3

❖<br />

Above: The Edmondson sisters. Mary is on<br />

the left and Emily on the right.<br />


Below: Trade card from around 1857<br />

showing Green & Brother Steam Furniture<br />

Works at the southeast corner of Prince and<br />

Fairfax Streets. By then James Green had<br />

turned over the works to his sons. The<br />

building now is a condominium.<br />



They soon discovered that the slaves had<br />

escaped down the Potomac, and a fast steamboat<br />

loaded with armed men set out in pursuit.<br />

Early the following Monday morning, the<br />

steamboat found the Pearl still anchored in a<br />

cove near the Potomac’s mouth. The frightened<br />

slaves and ship’s crew offered no resistance.<br />

Soon they found themselves steaming<br />

wretchedly back to Washington.<br />

There a few of their owners took them<br />

back, but most were sold. Emily and Mary<br />

Edmondson were sold to Joseph Bruin, slave<br />

trader of <strong>Alexandria</strong> (a model for slave owners<br />

in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin),<br />

and transported to his holding pen at 1707<br />

Duke Street, four blocks west on Duke from<br />

the former Franklin & Armfield facility.<br />

Their parents, other free blacks, and area<br />

abolitionists immediately sought to raise<br />

money to buy the sisters’ freedom, but Bruin<br />

had seen the sisters’ good manners and pleasing<br />

appearance and decided they would bring<br />

a good price if sold in New Orleans as “fancy<br />

girls,” attractive slaves bought for sexual purposes.<br />

He was asking the exceptional price of<br />

$2,250 for the two girls together.<br />

This amount was too much for the local<br />

community to raise, and Bruin soon sent the<br />

sisters by boat to New Orleans. There they<br />

were exhibited on a balcony along the<br />

Esplanade and offered for sale in auction<br />

showrooms. The first time Emily was displayed<br />

in the showroom, her face was streaked<br />

with tears. Her angry seller said those tears lost<br />

a sale, promptly slapped her, and threatened<br />

worse if next time she did not smile.<br />

Before either was sold, however, threat of a<br />

yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans and a<br />

promise by the sisters’ sympathizers to purchase<br />

them caused Bruin to ship the sisters back<br />

to <strong>Alexandria</strong>. He gave their family and friends<br />

twenty-five days to raise the money. If they did<br />

not, the sisters would return to New Orleans.<br />

The due date passed. Bruin had received<br />

no money.<br />

A few days later, as historian Mary Kay<br />

Ricks describes in her book Escape on the<br />

Pearl, Emily watched out a small window in<br />

the slave quarters on Duke Street as in the<br />

yard overseers shackled slaves together in a<br />

coffle headed south to New Orleans. She and<br />

Mary waited for the order to join it.<br />

She heard a banjo and fiddle begin playing<br />

to set the pace for the walk. She saw the<br />

prison gates slowly open, and she watched as<br />

the coffle walked out and away. Only then did<br />

she realize that it had left without them.<br />

Their supporters had managed to raise a<br />

satisfactory down payment, and later with the<br />

support of churches and abolitionists in New<br />

York, they raised the entire amount to free the<br />

Edmondson sisters.<br />

When the day came for the sisters finally to<br />

leave 1707 Duke Street, Bruin, in an odd gesture,<br />

placed a $5 gold piece in each girl’s<br />

hand. To Emily and Mary, this gesture mattered<br />

little—they now were free.<br />

After the extensive publicity their cause<br />

received, Congress began seriously to consider<br />

anti-slavery laws for the District of<br />

Columbia. Two years after the Pearl sailed,<br />

slave trading in the District was abolished.<br />

The complete abolition of slavery there had<br />

moved a step closer.<br />

T H E C O M I N G O F S T E A M<br />

A N D P R O S P E R I T Y<br />

The newly opened <strong>Alexandria</strong> Canal brought<br />

to <strong>Alexandria</strong> not only civic debt but also<br />

goods, especially grain, lumber, and flour and<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


later, from Western Maryland, coal. The first<br />

coal-carrying canal barges arrived in <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

from the west on October 17, 1850, and were<br />

met by a hundred-gun salute. By 1860 at least<br />

four coal yards operated at spots along the<br />

waterfront from First Street to Wolfe Street. In<br />

the late 1850s, <strong>Alexandria</strong> exported over<br />

37,000 tons of coal a month. At times in the<br />

1850s there was so much coal waiting at the<br />

city wharves that there were not enough ships<br />

to handle it. Rates for shipping coal dropped<br />

quickly, from about 20 cents per ton in 1817 to<br />

1/4 cents per ton in 1850, with resulting reduction<br />

in the price of coal to consumers.<br />

Before coal came to <strong>Alexandria</strong>, there had<br />

been little industrialization, primarily because<br />

the town lacked sites where water could be<br />

used to generate power. Manufacturing operations<br />

like early biscuit making and sugar<br />

refining involved little machinery and ropewalks<br />

required only manpower. Cheap coal,<br />

however, helped propel <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s industrialization—coal<br />

powered steam engines, more<br />

flexible than water-powered mills, made large<br />

factories feasible. <strong>Alexandria</strong> began to change.<br />

The change actually had begun earlier on a<br />

small scale. In 1831 at its factory on Union<br />

and Wolfe Streets, Thomas W. Smith &<br />

Company produced its first steam engine, a<br />

ten horsepower model used in its own factory.<br />

In 1836 the firm built a 15 horse-power<br />

engine that James Green installed in his new<br />

cabinet factory at the corner of Prince and<br />

Fairfax Streets to run power sawing and turning<br />

machines. Green’s works grew to employ<br />

140-150 people at its height and produce furniture<br />

said to be “as beautiful as the hand of<br />

man can produce.”<br />

Green’s was only one of the new steampowered<br />

factories that opened in <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

in the 1840s and 50s. In 1847, Henry<br />

Daingerfield, William Fowle, Robert Miller,<br />

and others incorporated the Mount Vernon<br />

Manufacturing Company, which constructed<br />

a cotton factory on Washington Street that<br />

manufactured brown cottons, blankets, heavy<br />

sheeting, and similar products. By 1850 it<br />

employed 150 men and women. Its machinery<br />

also was powered by a steam engine built<br />

by the Smith firm. Then in 1854, William H.<br />

and George Fowle and New York investors<br />

built at the foot of Duke Street a steam-driven<br />

flour plant called Pioneer Mill. At six stories<br />

high, it was one of the largest in the U.S. and<br />

used its 250 horsepower steam engine to<br />

make flour at the rate of 800 barrels a day.<br />

The Smith steam engine firm added a partner,<br />

and as Smith and Perkins helped railroads<br />

come to <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

R A I L R O A D S<br />

On May 29, 1851, seven months after the<br />

first canal boat load of coal reached the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront, the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette<br />

reported that the first train loaded with flour<br />

“with an extraordinary scream of the steam<br />

whistle” rolled triumphantly down the tracks<br />

of the Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong> Railroad on<br />

Union Street with an echoing shout of welcome<br />

from the gathered people of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

That first steam-powered locomotive, named<br />

the Pioneer, was built by Smith and Perkins.<br />

Finally <strong>Alexandria</strong> had a railroad.<br />

Once <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns became interested in<br />

railroads, they moved quickly. By 1861, four<br />

railroads had some connection with<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>—two to the west, one to the<br />

north, and one to the south.<br />

In 1847 the first to be chartered was the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> and Harper’s Ferry Railroad. It was<br />

to stretch from <strong>Alexandria</strong> to Harper’s Ferry<br />

and bring coal to <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s docks. Not<br />

❖<br />

The old Mount Vernon Cotton Factory<br />

building at 515 North Washington Street,<br />

c. 1930. It was used as a prison during the<br />

Civil War, a bottling house for the Robert<br />

Portner Brewery until Prohibition, and a<br />

spark plug factory from about 1918-1930.<br />

It now is occupied by the International<br />

Association of Chiefs of Police.<br />



C H A P T E R V I<br />

3 5

❖<br />

Above: The building in the background of<br />

this Civil War era photograph is the Pioneer<br />

Mill. The photograph was taken from near<br />

Union Street looking northeast, and the<br />

Potomac River is just on the other side of<br />

the mill. The site now is occupied by<br />

Robinson Terminal Warehouse<br />

Corporation, South.<br />



Below: A locomotive built in the 1850s.<br />

This is the type of wood-burning train<br />

engine with a ballon-shaped smokestack<br />

that ran on the early <strong>Alexandria</strong> railroads.<br />


Opposite: The ticket (ballot) for the<br />

Democratic Party’s candidates for president<br />

and vice president in the 1860 election. This<br />

ballot was used in Richmond, Virginia, and<br />

the ballot used in <strong>Alexandria</strong> would have<br />

appeared much the same. It has the voter’s<br />

name handwritten on the back and a small<br />

hole in its center where a voting official<br />

placed it on a spindle at the voting place.<br />


until 1859, however, did it, then renamed the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, Loudoun and Hampshire<br />

Railroad, place a train onto tracks. By 1861 its<br />

trains left the terminal near the intersection of<br />

Princess and Fairfax streets and proceeded<br />

out beside Four Mile Run only as far as<br />

Leesburg and transported to and from<br />

Leesburg primarily only passengers and mail.<br />

The second western railroad was the most<br />

successful. By 1861 the Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Railroad, under the capable leadership of<br />

George Smoot, had laid tracks from its terminal<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> at Duke and Henry Streets southwest<br />

through Manassas Junction, Culpeper,<br />

and Orange to Lynchburg, where it connected<br />

to Richmond and Petersburg rail lines. Near<br />

Manassas, it connected with the Manassas Gap<br />

Railroad (also formed in part by <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns),<br />

which linked <strong>Alexandria</strong> with the Shenandoah<br />

Valley by extending west from Manassas,<br />

roughly parallel to today’s I-66, to Strasburg,<br />

then down the Valley, paralleling today’s I-81,<br />

to Mount Jackson. In <strong>Alexandria</strong> itself, Orange<br />

and <strong>Alexandria</strong> tracks extended from its Duke<br />

Street terminal east through the Wilkes Street<br />

tunnel and then north along Union Street.<br />

The Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong> transported<br />

passengers and guano (fertilizer shipped to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> from South America) to western<br />

Virginia and its nutrient-starved fields and<br />

then transported passengers and farm products<br />

back to ships docked along the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront. Wheat was particularly<br />

in demand. In the 1850s, while tobacco<br />

exports were minimal (only four hogsheads in<br />

1857) and flour exports increased but did not<br />

reach the heights of the 1820s, wheat exports<br />

soared. At the peak in 1857, <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

shipped 231,572 bushels of wheat.<br />

The two lines commissioned freight and<br />

passenger cars built by each line’s own facilities<br />

or by Smith and Perkins, John Summers,<br />

or T. S. Jamieson—all located in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

The shortest of the four lines was the<br />

northern one, the <strong>Alexandria</strong> and Washington<br />

Railroad. It extended only from a turntable<br />

near the intersection of St. Asaph and Princess<br />

Streets to the Virginia end of the Long Bridge,<br />

which led across the Potomac to Washington<br />

(located roughly where the 14th Street Bridge<br />

is now). There the line stopped, and passengers<br />

had to disembark and board wagons to<br />

cross the bridge into Washington.<br />

The last, southern line, actually did not<br />

reach <strong>Alexandria</strong>. It was the Richmond,<br />

Fredericksburg, and Potomac, which ran from<br />

Richmond to a terminus at Aquia Creek, on<br />

the Potomac just northeast of Fredericksburg.<br />

There passengers and freight boarded steamboats<br />

that regularly left to and arrived from<br />

Washington and <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

The steam engine was transforming<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. In 1853 a writer for the Rockingham<br />

County Register wrote of the city: “the animation<br />

and occupation which enlivens her railroad<br />

depots, her wharves, and canal basin, as well as<br />

the bustle and hum of her streets, prove that<br />

this worthy daughter of the Old Dominion is in<br />

a fair way to rank, ere long, among the most<br />

prosperous cities of the land.”<br />

This new commercial vitality revived the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> economy. <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s population<br />

increased by 45 percent, from 8,734 in 1850 to<br />

12,652 ten years later in 1860. Some of these<br />

new people were immigrants looking for jobs<br />

and business opportunities, like Irish workers<br />

and Jewish small businessmen from Germany.<br />

In 1860, <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s orthodox Jews joined the<br />

Beth El Hebrew Congregation, established by<br />

reformed Jews the year before.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


But other issues perhaps more emotional<br />

than industrial expansion occupied the minds<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns of all backgrounds as 1860<br />

drew to a close.<br />

U N I O N O R D I S U N I O N ?<br />

On November 6, 1860, Republican<br />

Abraham Lincoln won the election for<br />

president with forty percent of the popular<br />

vote nationwide. In <strong>Alexandria</strong>, however, his<br />

percentage was much smaller. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns<br />

gave Constitutional Union candidate John<br />

Bell, who opposed secession, 911 votes;<br />

Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge,<br />

who favored extension of slavery to the<br />

territories, 619; Northern Democrat Stephen<br />

A. Douglas, who favored allowing territories<br />

to vote whether to be slave or free, 138; and<br />

Abraham Lincoln 2. Many <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns had<br />

Northern business connections and were<br />

unsympathetic to dissolving those ties, yet<br />

they also were leery of “Black Republicans”<br />

like Lincoln.<br />

Out of a population of 12,652, 1,670<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, about 13 percent, voted. This<br />

seems a small number in a heated election,<br />

but the only people permitted to vote in<br />

Virginia then were white males over the age of<br />

21—women, slaves, and free blacks could not<br />

vote. Moreover, voting was not by secret ballot.<br />

On or before election day a voter got a<br />

ballot for the candidate he supported, brought<br />

it with him to the polls, signed it on the back,<br />

and handed it to a voting official.<br />

One of the two <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns who voted for<br />

Lincoln, Judge <strong>An</strong>drew Wylie, later wrote that<br />

the election officials almost refused to allow<br />

his ballot to be cast and that later he was<br />

threatened by a mob. Citizens in Fairfax<br />

County, which had voted heavily for<br />

Breckenridge, seized a Lincoln voter and thoroughly<br />

blackened that “Black Republican’s”<br />

face with printer’s ink.<br />

By February 13, 1861, seven states, led by<br />

South Carolina, had seceded from the Union,<br />

and Virginians were convening in Richmond<br />

to decide whether they also should secede.<br />

The <strong>Alexandria</strong> delegates were two lawyers,<br />

pro-Union George W. Brent and pro-secession<br />

David Funsten.<br />

Brent had beaten Funsten by almost three<br />

to one, and statewide, pro-union convention<br />

delegates outnumbered secessionists two to<br />

one. At the convention, Brent made a wellreasoned<br />

speech favoring Virginia’s staying in<br />

the Union. He rejected the argument that<br />

there existed “an irrepressible conflict of<br />

opposing and enduring forces” between<br />

C H A P T E R V I<br />

3 7

❖<br />

Above: George W. Brent, <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s pro-<br />

Union delegate to the Virginia convention<br />

on secession in 1861, in his Confederate<br />

officer’s uniform.<br />



Below: James Jackson, proprietor of the<br />

Marshall House hotel.<br />



northern and southern states and called on<br />

Virginia to unite with other “Border States” to<br />

arrange a settlement that would preserve the<br />

Union, which in its beginning, after all, “was<br />

pre-eminently a Virginia conception.” On<br />

April 4, secession was voted down 45-88,<br />

with Brent voting against it.<br />

However, after April 12, views changed.<br />

On that date, Southern troops fired on the<br />

United States army at Fort Sumter in South<br />

Carolina, and three days later, President<br />

Lincoln called on the states to furnish 75,000<br />

men to confront the seceded states. This was<br />

too much for Virginia and <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

On April 17, the Virginia convention voted<br />

88 to 55 to secede. (George Brent voted<br />

against secession but later wore the<br />

Confederate uniform and served with<br />

distinction.) The same day, an enthusiastic<br />

crowd in <strong>Alexandria</strong> watched James Jackson,<br />

a tall, tempestuous man (his biographer wrote<br />

that he indulged freely “the rude bent of his<br />

inclinations”), raise a huge Confederate<br />

flag atop the roof of the Marshall House<br />

hotel at the corner of King and Pitt Streets<br />

that Jackson recently had rented and<br />

begun operating.<br />

On April 19, Edgar Snowden, editor of the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette, who had strongly supported<br />

the Union earlier (and whose ancestor was<br />

killed in Braddock’s defeat), castigated “the<br />

madmen at the Federal Capital” in an editorial<br />

and proclaimed that now “[Virginia’s] sons<br />

will rally to her defense, without distinction<br />

of party.”<br />

On the same day as Snowden’s editorial,<br />

Colonel Robert E. Lee was said to have been<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> and read in the Gazette that<br />

Virginia was to secede. When he stopped by<br />

the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary to pay a<br />

bill, he commented to the druggist, “I must<br />

say that I am one of those dull creatures that<br />

cannot see the good of secession.”<br />

The next day, however, he wrote a formal<br />

letter resigning his commission in the United<br />

States Army. The following day was Sunday,<br />

and as Lee was leaving Christ Church, he<br />

was met on the grounds by men from<br />

Richmond who indicated Virginia needed his<br />

services. He soon became the commander of<br />

Virginia’s forces.<br />

Before secession was official, a statewide<br />

vote was taken on May 23 to ratify the convention’s<br />

decision. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns voted for<br />

secession 958 to 48.<br />

In the Gazette’s edition the next day, May<br />

24, one column over from the report of the<br />

secession tally, the first paragraph under the<br />

heading “Washington Items” began: “The fact<br />

that five or six regiments—from New Jersey,<br />

Michigan, the New York Twelfth, and<br />

Ellsworth’s Pet Lambs—and perhaps others,<br />

were ordered to be ready to march at five a.m.<br />

this morning, created a great sensation<br />

throughout Washington…. [T]he nature of<br />

service on which it was proposed to send<br />

them is not yet known to the public.”<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


C H A P T E R<br />

V I I<br />


1861-1865<br />

T H E F I R S T D A Y<br />

In the darkness at 2:00 a.m. May 24, 1861, Union soldiers began crossing into Virginia over the<br />

Long Bridge (located approximately where the 14th Street Bridge is now). Among them was the First<br />

Michigan Infantry Regiment under Colonel Orlando B. Willcox. Its mission was to occupy <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Also that pre-dawn morning, the Eleventh New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, composed of members<br />

of the New York City Fire Department and commanded by 24-year-old Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, a<br />

personal friend of President Lincoln, boarded steamboats at the mouth of the <strong>An</strong>acostia River and headed<br />

for <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The Eleventh was a regiment of Zouaves, distinguished by their uniforms of baggy gray<br />

pants and gray, waist-length jackets (both trimmed in red) topped by red forage hats.<br />

In <strong>Alexandria</strong>, at 5:30 a.m. a Union navy officer from the steamer Pawnee, which was stationed<br />

outside the <strong>Alexandria</strong> harbor, came ashore and found Colonel George H. Terrett, commander of the<br />

southern troops in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The officer informed Terrett that an “overwhelming force” was about<br />

to enter the city and that he had until 9:00 a.m. to evacuate or surrender.<br />

Colonel Terrett’s command included five <strong>Alexandria</strong> militia infantry companies: the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Riflemen, Mount Vernon Guards, Old Dominion Rifles, Emmet Guards, and O’Connell Guards (the<br />

latter two companies composed primarily of Irish-Americans).<br />

Ten days earlier, Terrett had received from General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Virginia forces,<br />

a letter indicating Lee did not believe it possible for Terrett “to resist successfully an attempt to<br />

❖<br />

Union soldiers and sympathizers in front of<br />

the Old Dominion Bank building at the<br />

northwest corner of Prince and Lee Streets.<br />

During the Civil War it was headquarters of<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> branch of the Commissary<br />

Department, and now it is the Athenaeum,<br />

headquarters and gallery of the Northern<br />

Virginia Fine Arts Association.<br />



C H A P T E R V I I<br />

3 9

❖<br />

Above: The Union locomotive Lion on the<br />

east side of the U.S.M.R.R. roundhouse at<br />

the Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong> Railroad yard<br />

near the intersection of Duke and South<br />

Henry Streets. The railroad administrative<br />

offices are on the left, and a discarded<br />

locomotive cab and cowcatcher on the<br />

right foreground.<br />


Below: Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth,<br />

commander of the Eleventh New York<br />

Infantry Regiment, the “New York<br />

Fire Zouaves.”<br />


H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

40<br />

occupy <strong>Alexandria</strong>.” With that in mind, Colonel<br />

Terrett ordered the <strong>Alexandria</strong> militia to assemble<br />

as quickly as possible at the intersection of<br />

Washington and Prince Streets.<br />

As Terrett’s troops were assembling, and<br />

before the 9:00 a.m. deadline, Ellsworth’s<br />

Zouaves landed at the dock at the foot of<br />

Cameron Street and marched quickly up the<br />

street to the intersection of Cameron and<br />

Fairfax. There Ellsworth detailed a squad of<br />

Sergeant Brownell and six to eight men to follow<br />

him to James Jackson’s Marshall House hotel on<br />

King Street where Jackson’s Confederate flag<br />

flew from the roof. While still in Washington,<br />

reportedly Ellsworth had seen the flag and<br />

promised Mrs. Lincoln to take it down.<br />

On the way they passed Joseph Padgett,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s night watchman, who followed<br />

them into the Marshall House and upstairs<br />

until he reached the second floor. Down the<br />

second floor hall, Padgett saw Jackson emerge<br />

from his room wearing his nightshirt. Jackson<br />

sleepily asked Padgett what all the noise was<br />

about. Padgett responded that the Yankees<br />

were on the roof hauling down his flag.<br />

Jackson quickly returned to his room where<br />

his wife was asleep, grabbed a double barrel<br />

shotgun, and ran with it up the stairs. Looking<br />

up, he saw descending the stairs a Union officer<br />

carrying his flag. Quickly he leveled his<br />

shotgun and fired, killing the officer, Colonel<br />

Ellsworth. Immediately, Sergeant Brownell of<br />

the Zouaves, descending behind Ellsworth,<br />

shot and killed Jackson. Reportedly, the<br />

Zouaves then stabbed Jackson’s body repeatedly<br />

with their bayonets.<br />

Each side, North and South, now had its<br />

first martyr.<br />

At Washington and Prince Streets, the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> militia had formed up. By then Col.<br />

Terrett knew that the Pawnee had its twentyfour-pound<br />

guns trained on the city, the<br />

Zouaves had landed, and Willcox’s Union<br />

troops were advancing into town. He ordered<br />

his men immediately to march out Duke Street.<br />

Isabel Emerson, a lively, attractive twentyyear-old<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>n, looked out a window in<br />

her house on Duke Street just in time to see<br />

“our southern boys rushing by with their knapsacks<br />

on their backs and their bayonets glistening<br />

in the bright early sunshine.” Just outside<br />

town, they boarded railroad cars on the Orange<br />

and <strong>Alexandria</strong> line that took them to Manassas<br />

Junction and the Battle of First Manassas.<br />

By the end of the day, Col. Willcox’s Michigan<br />

soldiers and the New York Zouaves had taken<br />

control of the city and began to cover its surrounding<br />

fields with horses, wagons, and soldiers.<br />

Willcox proclaimed martial law, which<br />

required <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns to be indoors by 9:00<br />

p.m. and prohibited them from buying alcoholic<br />

beverages. Soon enforced from the Provost<br />

Marshall’s Office on King Street between St.<br />

Asaph and Pitt Streets, it also required passes, as<br />

historian William B. Hurd recorded, “to enter or<br />

leave the city, to visit the camps, or to be on the<br />

streets after curfew.” In order to secure a pass,<br />

hold office, engage in business, or even fish in<br />

the Potomac, an <strong>Alexandria</strong>n must swear an<br />

oath of allegiance to the United States.<br />

Within a few weeks, a fort named after<br />

Colonel Ellsworth was constructed on<br />

Shuter’s Hill. Its main mission was to guard<br />

the city from a possible Confederate advance<br />

down Little River Turnpike and King Street,<br />

but two of its cannons faced, not west toward<br />

the Confederate soldiers, but east toward<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> and its citizens. For <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns,<br />

the Civil War truly had begun.<br />

T H E U N I O N A R M Y<br />

S E T T L E S I N<br />

After the chaotic battle of First Manassas,<br />

July 21, 1861, General George B. McClellan<br />

assumed command of the Union Army in the<br />

vicinity of Washington and ordered troops<br />

into <strong>Alexandria</strong> in force to make it a Union<br />

supply and transportation base.

For the previous 112 years, the people of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> had governed themselves; conducted<br />

their own businesses from their own<br />

offices, warehouses, and wharves; and moved<br />

about as they pleased. Now, and for the next<br />

four years, they found themselves in an occupied<br />

city, their lives controlled by the Union<br />

Army. That army had minimal interest in their<br />

welfare; its interest was in defeating the South.<br />

The United States Commissary of<br />

Subsistence Department, with its <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

headquarters at the Old Dominion Bank<br />

Building (corner of Prince and Lee Streets, now<br />

the Athenaeum), was in charge of providing<br />

food for all Union soldiers. The Quartermasters<br />

Department, from its <strong>Alexandria</strong> headquarters at<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Loudoun and Hampshire railroad<br />

depot on Fairfax Street, supplied the army<br />

with everything else except ordnance, such<br />

things as horses, mules, wagons, pants, tents,<br />

knapsacks, flags, shovels, bandages, blankets,<br />

and bugles. Quartermasters were responsible<br />

also for transporting all Union men, food, and<br />

supplies, whether by wagon, ship, or railroad.<br />

Before the end of the war, the two departments<br />

had taken over the waterfront. They also<br />

operated in <strong>Alexandria</strong> at least one large bakery,<br />

a slaughter house near Jones Point, a mill, cattle<br />

yard, and horse corral, plus supply depots<br />

and facilities scattered throughout the city.<br />

In March and April 1862, the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Quartermaster Department helped transport<br />

General McClellan’s army and supplies (a total<br />

of approximately 121,000 men, 16,000 animals,<br />

1,150 wagons, 44 artillery batteries, plus<br />

baggage, ammunition, and other supplies) to<br />

the peninsula between the James and York<br />

rivers without serious incident. In <strong>Alexandria</strong> a<br />

British journalist observed “a schooner laden to<br />

the water-line with locomotive engines…a brig<br />

shipping artillery horses by a steam derrick,<br />

that lifted them bodily from the shore and<br />

deposited them in the hold of the vessel.<br />

Steamers…black with clusters of rollicking [soldiers].”<br />

During part of that time, McClellan<br />

himself established his headquarters near the<br />

Virginia Theological Seminary.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s excellent railroad connections<br />

south and west into Virginia were quickly<br />

seized by the Union army. In order to ease the<br />

movement of troops and supplies, the Union<br />

government soon constructed a line (supervised<br />

by 25-year-old <strong>An</strong>drew Carnegie, headquartered<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>) from Washington<br />

across the Long Bridge to connect with the railroads<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, all of which soon were<br />

united into one continuous railroad called the<br />

U.S. Military Rail Road. Its headquarters in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was at the Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

depot on Duke Street (whose roundhouse and<br />

general facilities the U.S.M.R.R. gradually<br />

improved over the course of the war).<br />

As the war progressed, wounded from First<br />

Manassas, the Peninsula, Second Manassas,<br />

Fredericksburg, and other battles near and far<br />

poured into <strong>Alexandria</strong> by wagon, ship, or rail<br />

car. To receive and treat them, the Union army<br />

constructed hospitals and commandeered over<br />

twenty of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s large buildings, including<br />

private residences, and turned them into<br />

hospitals. Before the end of the war these hospital<br />

conversions included the Lyceum, Virginia<br />

Theological Seminary, St. Paul’s Church,<br />

Methodist Episcopal Church, Lee-Fendall<br />

House, Baptist Church, Washington Street<br />

United Methodist Church, homes on Wolfe and<br />

Prince Streets, and the largest hospital in town,<br />

James Green’s Mansion House Hotel on Fairfax<br />

Street. As one resident said, “The whole air was<br />

infected by hospitals.” For those soldiers who<br />

died in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, the army also established<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> National Cemetery, one of the<br />

first official U.S. Civil War cemeteries.<br />

The Union army soon realized that Fort<br />

Ellsworth by itself was insufficient to protect<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s valuable supply and transportation<br />

facilities. From 1861 to 1863, it built near<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Forts Ward (which has been preserved<br />

and restored on West Braddock Road),<br />

Worth, Williams, Lyon, and Blenker, plus connecting<br />

rifle trenches, batteries, and log blockhouses.<br />

The army also added a battery of cannons,<br />

Battery Rodgers, to protect the waterfront.<br />

One other Union organization set up headquarters<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The summer of 1863,<br />

the “Restored Government of Virginia,”<br />

Francis H. Pierpont Governor, established its<br />

capital in the city. The Restored Government<br />

governed only the parts of Virginia under<br />

Union control, not including the westernmost<br />

counties of Virginia that had become the<br />

new state of West Virginia.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Private <strong>An</strong>drew F. Skidmore of the<br />

Mount Vernon Guards, age thirty-one.<br />

Before the war, Skidmore had been a<br />

carpenter and laborer living in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

In May 1862 he was in a Confederate<br />

trench at Yorktown when a sniper’s bullet<br />

went through the neck of a soldier beside<br />

him and into his stomach, killing him.<br />


Below: The Virginia Theological Seminary<br />

in the Civil War era. During the war, it was<br />

used as a Union hospital.<br />


C H A P T E R V I I<br />

4 1

❖<br />

Above: A rosette made by the Knights of the<br />

Golden Circle. The group’s initials are<br />

visible in the rosette’s center.<br />



Below: A scene at a railroad station in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> in early 1862. Soldiers of a<br />

brigade of New York Volunteers wait for<br />

transportation to their camp at Upton Hills,<br />

Virginia, wearing some of the different styles<br />

of uniforms worn by Union soldiers in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> during the war.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

42<br />

U N I O N<br />

S O L D I E R S<br />

On Shuter’s Hill and at various places around<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, encampments of Union soldiers<br />

appeared. One witness described “grain fields<br />

that so short a time ago were looking so beautiful<br />

and flourishing, now covered over with<br />

tents, and trampled over with horses, and wagons,<br />

and soldiers and every thing pertaining to<br />

an army.” In <strong>Alexandria</strong> itself one <strong>Alexandria</strong>n<br />

observed, “Many of the invaders have found<br />

quarters in the various untenanted houses in the<br />

city [those of <strong>Alexandria</strong>n’s who had fled]….”<br />

During the war soldiers from Michigan,<br />

Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and<br />

most northern states camped around<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, some to stay only a short time<br />

before moving on and some to serve in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> guarding supplies, railroad yards,<br />

the waterfront, and headquarters buildings,<br />

manning forts, drilling, and enforcing curfews.<br />

Like many garrison towns, <strong>Alexandria</strong> had its<br />

rough side. People eager to sell liquor to soldiers<br />

were everywhere, and some seventy brothels<br />

flourished with names such as “The Hole in the<br />

Wall” on Prince Street near Pitt and “The First<br />

Rhode Island Battery” at 33 Henry Street.<br />

General John P. Slough became the military<br />

governor of <strong>Alexandria</strong> on August 25, 1862.<br />

(<strong>Alexandria</strong> maintained its own mayor and<br />

municipal government, controlled by Union<br />

sympathizers led by Lewis McKenzie, but it had<br />

comparatively little power.) He found “a reign<br />

of terror…. The streets were crowded with<br />

intoxicated soldiery…. The sidewalks and<br />

docks were covered with drunken men, women<br />

and children.” Slough, “an eccentric and bellicose<br />

man,” as historian William Francis Smith<br />

wrote, managed to quiet the mob.<br />

R E S I S T A N C E<br />

Many residents, particularly<br />

fighting-age men but<br />

also women and children,<br />

left town before the Union<br />

soldiers arrived. One witness<br />

described the scene<br />

near the Orange and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Railroad depot<br />

in early May: “Such a dense<br />

crowd thronged the streets, carriages filled<br />

with people, wagons, carts, drays, wheelbarrows<br />

all packed mountain high with baggage<br />

of every sort, men, women, and children<br />

streaming along to the [railway] cars, most of<br />

the women crying…all looking as forlorn and<br />

wretched as if going to execution.”<br />

Many of those who remained were women<br />

passionately attached to the Confederate<br />

cause—their husbands, sons, brothers, and<br />

special friends were suffering and dying to<br />

oppose the Union occupiers—and they too<br />

wanted to resist them.<br />

Their resistance took different forms. When<br />

Union soldiers hung a Union flag over the front<br />

door of Isabel Emerson’s home, her stepmother,<br />

an ardent Secessionist, insisted that the family<br />

use only the back door. A group of girls aged ten<br />

to twenty formed a secret club they called the<br />

Knights of the Golden Circle. Its members swore<br />

to aid the Confederate government, not to help<br />

the Union, and never to marry anyone who<br />

helped the North or opposed the South. They<br />

crocheted items, such as rosettes, to sell to<br />

Union officers’ wives and happily smuggled<br />

south the funds they received. Rougher women,<br />

according to an English journalist, “used to take<br />

pleasure in insulting the private soldiers with<br />

epithets which will not bear repetition.”<br />

Some remaining men also resisted. One<br />

Sunday during the litany at St. Paul’s Episcopal<br />

Church, the Rev. Kensey J. Stewart omitted the<br />

prayer for the President of the United States.<br />

When a Union officer requested him to say the<br />

prayer, Rev. Stewart ignored him and continued<br />

the service. The irate officer quickly had Stewart<br />

arrested and marched out of the church. Stewart<br />

later was released, but the next day, Edgar<br />

Snowden’s The Local News (Snowden’s newspaper<br />

after his <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette was suspended<br />

because he refused to print the martial law<br />

proclamation) called the incident outrageous.<br />

The following night, soldiers set the paper’s<br />

office on fire, destroying the print shop and two<br />

adjacent buildings.<br />

Both men and women helped provide the<br />

Confederacy with information. Confederate spy<br />

Frank Stringfellow, a frequent visitor to relatives<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> before the war and a graduate of<br />

Episcopal High School, spent over six months<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> early in the war posing as an

assistant to a local dentist, a Confederate<br />

sympathizer. Stringfellow sent through Union<br />

lines to J. E. B. Stuart reports on Union troop<br />

movements obtained by poring over Northern<br />

newspapers. On a later assignment in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, he reportedly was saved from a<br />

pursuer by hiding under the voluminous<br />

hoopskirts of a friend of his mother.<br />

Still, even <strong>Alexandria</strong> women who supported<br />

the South did show concern for suffering<br />

Union soldiers. At daybreak on July 22,<br />

1861, as Union solders streamed into<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> after being routed in the Battle of<br />

First Manassas, young Isabel Emerson at her<br />

house on Duke Street was surprised to find:<br />

“all along the sidewalk the poor fellows were<br />

sitting or lying, worn out completely.” Despite<br />

her family’s strong Confederate sympathy:<br />

“We had great pots of coffee made, and bread,<br />

and we went out and served them ourselves.<br />

They seemed so grateful and refreshed.”<br />

U N I O N<br />

S E R V I C E<br />

Just as many <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns abhorred the<br />

presence of Union soldiers in their city, many<br />

Union soldiers had little desire to be there.<br />

Still, most did their duty, and some even<br />

enjoyed it. Private Lyons Wakeman wrote<br />

home from <strong>Alexandria</strong> to New York: “I have to<br />

go on guard every other day and drill the day<br />

that I am not on guard. I like to drill first<br />

rate.” (Private Wakeman actually was Sarah<br />

Rosetta Wakeman, a twenty-year-old woman<br />

who had enlisted to help support her family.)<br />

Sometimes they did more than just their<br />

duty. As the Second Manassas campaign began<br />

in August 1862, some thirty thousand troops<br />

of General McClellan’s army arrived at the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> docks from the ill-fated Peninsula<br />

venture. They and their supplies were needed<br />

immediately near Manassas Junction.<br />

Brigadier General Herman Haupt, the<br />

dynamic, 45-year-old head of the U.S. Military<br />

Rail Road, took a rowboat out among the fleet of<br />

transport ships in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> harbor to find<br />

General McClellan and request help with the<br />

transfer. Haupt found him, but McClellan<br />

refused him assistance. Haupt still managed to<br />

transport most of the troops and supplies over<br />

the old Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong> line to Manassas.<br />

Haupt also greatly aided the Union cause<br />

before the Battle of Fredericksburg in<br />

December 1862 when the lack of a rail line<br />

between <strong>Alexandria</strong> and Fredericksburg<br />

severely hampered supplying the Union army.<br />

He conceived the idea of loading onto barges<br />

entire railroad cars filled with supplies,<br />

instead of just the loose supplies themselves;<br />

towing the barges down the Potomac to a<br />

landing near Fredericksburg; and then simply<br />

rolling off the cars to trains waiting to take<br />

supplies to the soldiers.<br />

Nurses were Union supporters who came to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> voluntarily to lend their needed services<br />

to the wounded. Early in the war, Dorothea<br />

Dix, superintendent of nurses, selected only<br />

women who were over thirty and “matronly.”<br />

Poet Walt Whitman, who on his own visited the<br />

wounded in hospitals in Washington and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, wrote: “The presence of a good middle-aged<br />

or elderly woman, the magnetic touch<br />

of hands, the expressive features of the mother,<br />

the silent soothing of her presence, her words,<br />

her knowledge and privileges arrived at only<br />

through having had children, are precious and<br />

final qualifications.” One nurse observed, however:<br />

“Society just now presents the unprecedented<br />

spectacle of many women trying to make<br />

believe that they are over thirty!”<br />

Nurses worked long hours and provided a<br />

variety of services depending on their skills:<br />

changed soldiers’ bandages, washed and<br />

dressed their wounds, brought them meals,<br />

wrote letters for them, and generally tried to<br />

raise their spirits. Several nurses left sobering<br />

records of their service in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, including<br />

Jane Woolsey from New York, who<br />

worked at the Virginia Theological Seminary<br />

hospital, and Englishwoman <strong>An</strong>ne Reading at<br />

Mansion House.<br />

C O N T R A B A N D S<br />

F R E E D M E N<br />

&<br />

Besides Union soldiers, there was another<br />

group of people who came to <strong>Alexandria</strong> in great<br />

numbers during the war—runaway slaves. At<br />

first they were primarily young men. Soon,<br />

however, young women and whole families<br />

came through Union lines to <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

searching for freedom.<br />

❖<br />

A portrait of Brigadier General Herman<br />

Haupt, commander of the United States<br />

Military Rail Road.<br />


C H A P T E R V I I<br />

4 3

❖<br />

Above: Contraband and freedmen dock<br />

workers on the <strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront.<br />



Below: Harriet Jacobs, author and former<br />

slave, who helped contrabands and<br />

freedmen in <strong>Alexandria</strong> during the<br />

Civil War.<br />


H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

44<br />

Their presence at first created a<br />

legal problem for the Union. In 1861,<br />

the federal Fugitive Slave Act was still<br />

in force. It punished anyone who harbored<br />

a fugitive slave and thus<br />

deprived the slave’s owner of what at<br />

that time was considered his property. The problem<br />

was solved using the legal concept of contraband,<br />

which allowed one side during a war to<br />

confiscate its enemy’s property. Thus the Union<br />

declared fugitive slaves owned by a Southerner<br />

“contraband” and “confiscated” them.<br />

Many contrabands were employed as stevedores,<br />

wood cutters, laundresses, cooks, teamsters,<br />

bakers, and particularly as workmen laying<br />

track, constructing bridges, and building stockades<br />

for the U.S. Military Rail Road Construction<br />

Corps. General Herman Haupt, commander of<br />

the U.S.M.R.R. wrote: “These Africans worked<br />

with enthusiasm, and each gang with a laudable<br />

emulation to excel others in the progress made in<br />

a given time….” In the summer of 1864 a company<br />

of contrabands and freemen was raised in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> to serve in the Union army.<br />

After the Emancipation Proclamation went<br />

into effect on January 1, 1863, the number of<br />

contrabands increased. (At the end of the war, an<br />

estimated seven thousand freedmen lived in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>.) To house some of them, the army<br />

erected wood-frame barracks at the west end of<br />

Prince Street. Others lived in houses abandoned<br />

by Southern sympathizers. Still others squatted<br />

in crowded shelters built in any available space<br />

from pieces of tent, blankets, barrels, boards, or<br />

whatever else was at hand. Shanty towns sprang<br />

up with names like Petersburg, Richmond,<br />

Contraband Valley, and Grantville.<br />

To help pay for the upkeep of these new<br />

arrivals, the Union army charged both contrabands<br />

and free blacks working in Washington<br />

and <strong>Alexandria</strong> $5 a month. Some “free people<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong>” who had been employed by the<br />

commissary department since the beginning of<br />

the war protested in a letter to the secretary of<br />

war that they had their own families to support<br />

and that the $5 a month to support contrabands<br />

was unfair. Apparently, however, their letter<br />

changed nothing.<br />

Julia Wilbur, a Quaker teacher from New<br />

York, and Harriet Jacobs, a former slave from<br />

North Carolina, worked together tirelessly to<br />

provide clothing, food, shelter, and education for<br />

poor contrabands and freedmen, often fighting<br />

against “the rapacity & cruelty of Contractors,<br />

sutlers, disloyal citizens…” and unsympathetic<br />

Union administrators. (As an example, one hospital<br />

administrator advocated housing contraband<br />

orphans with people suffering from small<br />

pox.) Harriet Jacobs particularly was responsible<br />

for establishing the Jacobs School, a free school<br />

for African-American children staffed and managed<br />

by African-American teachers.<br />

To take care of the medical needs of sick and<br />

wounded black soldiers of the United States<br />

Colored Troops, in February 1864, L’Ouverture<br />

Hospital began operating off Duke Street behind<br />

the former Franklin and Armfield slave pen.<br />

Earlier a hospital for contrabands had been<br />

established on Washington Street between Duke<br />

and Wolfe Streets.<br />

For those soldiers and contrabands who<br />

did not survive, a cemetery was established on<br />

South Washington Street, although the soldiers<br />

later were moved to the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

National Cemetery.<br />

T H E W A R E N D S<br />

General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, to<br />

great celebration among the soldiers and Union<br />

sympathizers in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. Loyal Confederates,<br />

like Isabel Emerson, were both saddened and<br />

relieved. “Thank God the war is over,” she wrote.<br />

Then not a week later, Lincoln was shot and<br />

died. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, even Confederate supporters,<br />

shared in the grief and outrage. As Isabel<br />

Emerson wrote, “Whoever committed the<br />

wicked deed should be dealt with unmercifully.”<br />

A railroad car built in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, probably<br />

for the president’s use, conveyed Lincoln’s body<br />

home to Springfield, Illinois.<br />

On May 23 and 24 the Union victory was<br />

celebrated with a two-day Grand Review in<br />

Washington of General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army<br />

of the Potomac and General William T.<br />

Sherman’s western army. The latter group of<br />

soldiers, who had marched through Tennessee,<br />

Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and<br />

Virginia, fighting most of the way, camped in<br />

the hills and fields around <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Then, after the Grand Review and after four<br />

long years of occupation, the Union army left.

C H A P T E R<br />

V I I I<br />


1865-1925<br />

Confederate soldiers gradually began returning home to <strong>Alexandria</strong>, some with an empty sleeve<br />

where an arm should have been, “many others wounded and scarred,” as Isabel Emerson observed.<br />

Some came from far away, like Dr. William Gregory, who rode a “sorry old horse…all the way from<br />

Georgia.” Some, such as Private Edgar Warfield of the 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment, into which<br />

the militia units that left <strong>Alexandria</strong> four years earlier had been incorporated, had fought from First<br />

Manassas to the surrender at Appomattox. Some never returned. All who returned found their<br />

home greatly changed.<br />

The city’s wharves and warehouses were empty of goods and ships. The railroads were in disarray—engines<br />

and rolling stock exhausted, ownership questioned, and connecting rails, bridges,<br />

and depots in much of Virginia damaged or destroyed.<br />

Many city buildings, like the returning soldiers, were wounded and scarred. At the Methodist<br />

Episcopal Church on Washington Street, used as a Union hospital, “the pews in the basement, and<br />

main part of the church have all been destroyed, the altars pulled down and damaged, and the one<br />

in the main part of the church (a marble altar) has been broken beyond repair” according to a<br />

Union army report.<br />

Moreover, there was little financing available to make repairs and help get businesses started<br />

again. Confederate money was worthless. The city banks had little money, and the city itself, its<br />

revenue base eroded and burdened by earlier canal and railroad debt, was broke. In March 1866,<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette reported that when checks written by the city were presented to the First<br />

National Bank, “the teller politely hands them back to the presenter, with the remark that the city<br />

has no money deposited in that bank.”<br />

<strong>An</strong>other immense change was the presence in <strong>Alexandria</strong> of over 7,000 free African-American<br />

men, women, and children. <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s population in 1865 was nearly fifty percent black, as compared<br />

with twenty percent in 1860. After the Union army left, many African Americans stayed in<br />

neighborhoods that recently had sprung up in the city or moved onto land, such as Fort Ward,<br />

abandoned by the Union army. Many had recently been slaves and were unprepared for freedom.<br />

Finally, most <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns themselves were demoralized over their lost cause and lost sons,<br />

fathers, businesses, and homes.<br />

Still, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns quickly realized they faced two major tasks: bringing new life to the city’s<br />

economy and determining how white and black people in <strong>Alexandria</strong> would live.<br />

❖<br />

A view of part of the Virginia Shipbuilding<br />

Corporation yard located on Jones Point,<br />

c. 1919. The shipways are on the left where<br />

ships’ hulls are being worked on. The<br />

small white building on the river’s edge near<br />

the center of the photograph is Jones Point<br />

Lighthouse.<br />



C H A P T E R V I I I<br />

4 5

W H O C O N T R O L S<br />

A L E X A N D R I A ?<br />

❖<br />

Above: A railroad bridge over Cedar Run<br />

between Manassas Junction and Culpeper<br />

on the Orange and <strong>Alexandria</strong> line wrecked<br />

during the Civil War.<br />


Below: “The First Vote.” African-American<br />

men in line waiting to cast their votes<br />

wearing clothes indicating their different<br />

occupations.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

46<br />

How whites and blacks would live in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> depended on who controlled the<br />

city and the state, and that depended on<br />

whether African Americans and former<br />

Confederates would be allowed to vote.<br />

The recalcitrance of Virginia and other<br />

southern states in granting African Americans<br />

the vote led Republicans in Congress, over<br />

vetoes by President Johnson, to enact<br />

Reconstruction laws in March 1867. These<br />

laws placed southern states under military<br />

government and required them, before being<br />

readmitted to the Union, to adopt new state<br />

constitutions and ratify the 14th amendment,<br />

which provided “equal protection of the laws”<br />

to all U.S. citizens, including African<br />

Americans. Importantly, the Reconstruction<br />

laws also enfranchised African Americans in<br />

southern states and disenfranchised southerners<br />

who had participated in the rebellion.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> held city elections on March 5,<br />

just after enactment of the first<br />

Reconstruction Act on March 2 that enfranchised<br />

African Americans, but before there<br />

had been time to register newly eligible voters.<br />

Still, the day before the election, 200 to<br />

300 black and a number of white Unionists<br />

met at the Lyceum to demand that African-<br />

Americans be allowed to vote in the election.<br />

At the election itself, conducted in “a very<br />

orderly manner,” according to the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Gazette, 1,365 ballots were cast by black voters<br />

but not included in the final tally. Hugh<br />

Latham, candidate of the Conservatives (former<br />

Democrats), was re-elected mayor.<br />

The following year, however, under the new<br />

Reconstruction laws then fully in effect, General<br />

John M. Schofield, commander of Virginia’s military<br />

government, dismissed the old and<br />

appointed a new <strong>Alexandria</strong> government with<br />

Republican William N. Berkley as mayor.<br />

In October 1867, Virginia’s voter registration<br />

lists compiled under the military government<br />

included for the first time almost<br />

106,000 male African Americans (just 14,000<br />

fewer than white registrants) and excluded<br />

probably 20,000 former Confederates. Voters<br />

on those lists elected delegates to a convention<br />

to rewrite Virginia’s constitution and gave<br />

Radical Republicans control of the convention.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s representative to the convention<br />

was white Radical Republican John Hawxhurst.<br />

While African Americans experienced “the<br />

emotional release of being free” and avidly pursued<br />

education and jobs, striving to take part<br />

in the universally hoped for economic recovery,<br />

former Confederates were greatly disturbed by<br />

blacks “casting votes when many whites could<br />

not, sitting beside them in legislative bodies,<br />

strolling the streets without stepping out of the<br />

way, bringing their own crops to market,” as<br />

modern historians wrote in Old Dominion, New<br />

Commonwealth. White conservatives thus<br />

began planning to take back control.<br />

The constitutional convention, under the<br />

close supervision of General Schofield, adopted<br />

a new Virginia constitution. Among other<br />

things, it provided all adult male African<br />

Americans the right to vote, Virginia’s first<br />

public school system, and independent status<br />

for all cities whose population exceeded ten<br />

thousand (which included <strong>Alexandria</strong>).<br />

Before the state-wide vote to ratify the new<br />

constitution, however, a delegation of conservative<br />

and moderate Virginians negotiated a<br />

deal with federal officials and President Grant<br />

to allow two of its key provisions to be voted<br />

on separately, one requiring state and local<br />

office holders to take an oath that they never<br />

supported the Confederacy and the other disenfranchising<br />

anyone who held civilian or<br />

military office under the Confederacy. In<br />

exchange the conservatives pledged support<br />

for the rest of the new constitution, including

the African-American franchise. On July 6,<br />

1869, voters defeated the two anti-<br />

Confederate provisions and ratified the rest of<br />

the new constitution.<br />

Held the same day was the crucial first election<br />

for state officials and legislators under the<br />

new constitution. A skillful combination of<br />

Conservatives and moderate Republicans won<br />

the governorship and controlled the state legislature,<br />

giving old Confederates once again<br />

control of Virginia. As a Lynchburg newspaper<br />

proclaimed: “Shout the glad tidings, Virginia is<br />

free! …Virginians will rule Virginia.”<br />

Still, twenty-seven of the new Virginia<br />

House of Delegates were African Americans,<br />

including <strong>Alexandria</strong> Delegate George Lewis<br />

Seaton, 47 years old, a landowner and builder<br />

who had been born free.<br />

In its session later that year, the newly elected<br />

Virginia General Assembly ratified the 14th<br />

amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As a result,<br />

on January 26, 1870, President Grant signed<br />

legislation abolishing military rule and readmitting<br />

Virginia into the Union. Reconstruction in<br />

Virginia and <strong>Alexandria</strong> was over. Now conservatives<br />

within the commonwealth could proceed<br />

to obtain long-lasting control without the<br />

interference of a military ruler.<br />

The first election in <strong>Alexandria</strong> under the<br />

new constitution was held in May 1870 and<br />

pitted the Conservative former mayor, Hugh<br />

Latham, against Republican Mayor William<br />

Berkley. Latham won by 67 of 2,877 votes<br />

cast. Reverend George Parker, pastor of the<br />

Third Baptist Church, became the first African<br />

American elected to the City Council.<br />

Then in 1872 it was the Republican Berkley<br />

who won in another close election. In 1873,<br />

however, Latham won election again, making<br />

Berkley, up to now, <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s last Republican<br />

mayor. In the 1873 election, John A. Seaton,<br />

brother of George Seaton, became <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

first black alderman, but the Conservatives controlled<br />

the Council and Board of Aldermen and<br />

would continue to do so for years to come.<br />

It took Conservatives a little longer on the<br />

state level. Control of the state went back and<br />

forth until in 1883, Conservatives, reorganized<br />

as Democrats, won final control of the Virginia<br />

government and ended two party rule in<br />

Virginia until well into the next century.<br />

In 1902, another constitutional convention<br />

adopted another new constitution and put it<br />

into effect automatically, without submitting it to<br />

the public for ratification. As prerequisites for<br />

voting, it required paying a poll tax (<strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

had adopted such a measure in 1877) and passing<br />

a literacy and comprehension test that<br />

required voters to explain constitutional provisions.<br />

This constitution’s main purpose, as state<br />

senator Carter Glass stated, was to “cut from the<br />

existing electorate four-fifths of the Negro<br />

voters.” Predictably, local elections boards controlled<br />

by the Democrats enforced these requirements<br />

harshly on prospective black voters.<br />

Earlier, in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court in<br />

Plessy v. Ferguson sanctioned “separate but<br />

equal” state legislation throughout the South.<br />

The Virginia legislature in 1900 passed its first<br />

segregation law, requiring separate railroad cars<br />

for blacks and whites. Eventually, Virginia and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> separated the races for most public<br />

facilities: restaurants, movie theaters, swimming<br />

pools, libraries, and even drinking fountains.<br />

The question of how blacks and whites<br />

would live together had been decided for<br />

many years to come.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Signs like this one appeared<br />

outside bus terminals and railroad stations<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> and throughout the<br />

segregated South.<br />


Below: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Marine Railway &<br />

Ship Building Company at the foot of<br />

Franklin Street where the Ford’s Landing<br />

townhouses are now. In 1880 the company<br />

operated three marine railways extending<br />

into the river.<br />



C H A P T E R V I I I<br />

4 7

❖<br />

Above: The Smoot Tannery seen at the<br />

southeast corner of Wilkes and Washington<br />

Streets looking east, c. 1900. The main<br />

railroad track runs down Wilkes Street<br />

toward the Wilkes Street tunnel. The site<br />

is now partially occupied by a branch of<br />

Capital One Bank.<br />



Below: Robert Ellis “Rob” Kidd, 12 or 13<br />

years old, working as a carrying-in boy at<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Glass Company factory in<br />

1911. A “carrying-in boy” carried molded<br />

glass bottles from the blowing room to an<br />

oven where they would be heated and then<br />

cooled to make them stronger. Glass<br />

workers usually alternated their working<br />

hours weekly, working a night shift one<br />

week and a day shift the next.<br />



T H E N E W S O U T H<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s economy recovered very slowly.<br />

For the first decade after the war,<br />

“<strong>Alexandria</strong> simply withered,” wrote historian<br />

G. Terry Sharrer. There were even attempts by<br />

some <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, principally Union loyalists<br />

and African Americans, to persuade<br />

Congress to re-annex <strong>Alexandria</strong> into the<br />

District of Columbia, attempts that were<br />

opposed by most <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns and failed.<br />

In the spirit of the “New South” movement<br />

developed in Atlanta and Richmond,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns sought recovery through industrial<br />

development. They sought both to increase<br />

production of existing manufacturers and to<br />

attract new, large manufacturing concerns<br />

(frequently financed by Northern capital) that<br />

produced goods for extensive markets.<br />

Despite its overall debilitated condition at<br />

the end of the war, <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s infrastructure<br />

still could support industrial development. Its<br />

waterfront wharves and warehouses, while<br />

roughly used, were intact. The central city<br />

was encircled by railroad tracks that ran along<br />

Union Street to serve the waterfront, ran west<br />

up Wilkes Street, north up Henry and soon<br />

Fayette Streets, and back southeast to the<br />

waterfront. From this rough circle, connecting<br />

lines ran south, west, and north into<br />

Washington and the rest of Virginia.<br />

Money from Maine shipbuilders soon<br />

expanded the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Marine Railroad and<br />

Ship Building Company, which repaired and<br />

built wooden boats and ships on the waterfront<br />

at the foot of Franklin Street. Josiah H.<br />

D. Smoot and Smoot & Perry operated extensive<br />

lumber yards between King and Queen<br />

Street, cutting up wood to make moldings,<br />

shingles, and other building materials.<br />

Yet these were comparatively small-scale<br />

industrial undertakings. The most important<br />

industries in <strong>Alexandria</strong> into the twentieth<br />

century were the large producers of fertilizer,<br />

leather, bottles, and beer.<br />

The Charles Calvert Smoot family had<br />

operated a highly successful tannery in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> since 1820. After the Civil War,<br />

their tannery operations were located at a corner<br />

of Wilkes and Washington Streets conveniently<br />

next to the railroad track. At the tannery<br />

fresh animal hides were soaked in solutions<br />

made from lime, tree bark, and dung,<br />

then let dry in large sheds to produce high<br />

quality leather. Smoot & Sons was the only<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> firm to exhibit its products at the<br />

World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago<br />

in 1893.<br />

Fertilizer was manufactured by the Herbert<br />

Bryant Company, located at the foot of Duke<br />

Street, and the extensive <strong>Alexandria</strong> Fertilizer<br />

and Chemical Company located on the west<br />

side of North Union Street between Queen<br />

and Oronoco Streets and at the present-day<br />

site of Robinson Terminal North. The latter<br />

company used crude phosphate from South<br />

Carolina and Florida, dried blood and raw animal<br />

bone from western states, potash from<br />

Germany, and nitrate of soda from Sicily to<br />

make the fertilizer. It also produced sulfuric<br />

acid using sulphur from the Isle of Sicily and<br />

pyrites from Virginia mines. By rail cars loaded<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


eside its plant and by ships docked at its<br />

wharves, the company sent products to New<br />

York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland,<br />

West Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.<br />

The earliest glass bottling plant was the<br />

Virginia Glass Factory, started in 1893 by a<br />

group of Pennsylvania Germans, and located<br />

in the 1800 block of Duke Street. It was<br />

joined in the early 1900s by three other<br />

plants: the Old Dominion Glass Factory in<br />

the 800 and 900 blocks of North Fairfax<br />

Street, the Belle Pre glass factory on North<br />

Henry Street between Madison and<br />

Montgomery, and the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Glass factory<br />

at the northwest corner of North Henry<br />

and Montgomery Streets.<br />

These factories melted glass ingredients in<br />

their furnaces 24 hours a day, except for July<br />

and August when it was too hot for their<br />

employees, black, white, male, female, and<br />

children, to work near them. A large percentage<br />

of the Virginia Glass Factory’s production<br />

was beer bottles for the Robert Portner<br />

Brewing Company, and the Belle Pre manufactured<br />

unique milk bottles using its own<br />

patent. The four produced glass products<br />

such as green and sometimes amber beer,<br />

soda, and medicine bottles, preservative jars;<br />

olive jars, and flasks.<br />

The most successful of all these manufacturing<br />

companies was the Robert Portner Brewing<br />

Company, started during the Civil War by<br />

Robert Portner, a German immigrant from New<br />

York in his late twenties, and others. Under<br />

Portner’s sole ownership, it grew to become the<br />

largest beer producer in the South during the<br />

mid-1890s and the largest employer in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. At its brewery complex (with its<br />

nucleus on North St. Asaph Street between<br />

Pendleton and Wythe), the company produced<br />

100,000 barrels (about 3.1 million gallons) a<br />

year by 1895. Its beer, called “Tivoli” (spelled<br />

backwards “I lov[e] it”) and “Vienna Cabinet,”<br />

was shipped in insulated railroad cars, painted a<br />

vibrant blue and packed with ice from the brewery’s<br />

own ice plant, to North Carolina, South<br />

Carolina, Georgia, and the rest of Virginia.<br />

Between 1899 and 1909, manufacturing in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> increased by the largest percentage<br />

of any city in Virginia, producing $4,420,000<br />

worth of goods in 1909.<br />

Yet, after the Civil War,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> never seriously<br />

challenged its neighboring<br />

rivals, Baltimore and<br />

Richmond. For example,<br />

in the thirty years<br />

between 1870 and<br />

1900, <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s population<br />

went from 13,570<br />

to 14,528, an increase<br />

of only seven percent.<br />

In contrast, during the<br />

same period, Richmond’s<br />

population increased by<br />

forty percent.<br />

U R B A N<br />

L I F E<br />

Life for city residents gradually improved.<br />

In 1881 the first telephone was installed in<br />

the city, and electricity came to <strong>Alexandria</strong> in<br />

1889. <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns even witnessed an early<br />

flight of the new Wright Brothers airplane. In<br />

1909, Orville Wright and an Army Signal<br />

Corps lieutenant flew a test flight from Fort<br />

Myer to Shuter’s Hill and back, passing over<br />

Shuter’s Hill about 60 to 100 feet above<br />

ground and at nearly 42 miles per hour.<br />

While along <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s borders fire from<br />

glass factories lit the night sky and strange<br />

smells from fertilizer and tanning operations<br />

penetrated city air, much of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

commercial life centered on King Street. Here<br />

shops sold hardware, shoes, jewelry,<br />

❖<br />

Above: The Robert Portner Brewing<br />

Company complex in the late 1800s. A<br />

train runs through the middle of the<br />

complex on a branch line down<br />

St. Asaph Street.<br />


Below: A group of men, boys, and a dog<br />

posing outside the premises of Terrence<br />

McGowan, Tailor, 300 block of King Street,<br />

in the 1890s.<br />



C H A P T E R V I I I<br />

4 9

❖<br />

Above: Kate Waller Barret is seated on the<br />

right in this photograph of the Women’s<br />

Party booth at the Panama Pacific<br />

International Exposition held in San<br />

Francisco in 1915.<br />


Below: The Confederate memorial statute<br />

(known as “Appomatox”) at the intersection<br />

of Prince and Washington Streets with its<br />

back to the north, circa 1932. Standing in<br />

front of the statue is Edgar Warfield, former<br />

member of the Old Dominion Rifles,<br />

Company H, 17th Virginia Infantry, who<br />

first proposed erection of the memorial. He<br />

died in 1934 at the age of ninety-two<br />




H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

50<br />

furniture, bakery goods, and dry goods.<br />

Generally, businesses were on the ground<br />

floors with their owners living above.<br />

Shopping and strolling on King Street “and<br />

observing the shoppers and strollers” became<br />

“the main entertainment for young and old,<br />

men and women, black and white” wrote<br />

Marian Van Landingham.<br />

From the foot of King and Prince Streets,<br />

ferries carried passengers to and from<br />

Washington and Maryland, excursion boats<br />

took sightseers to and from Mount Vernon,<br />

and steamboats carried passengers and freight<br />

to Norfolk, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston,<br />

and New York.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> women played an increasingly<br />

significant role in <strong>Alexandria</strong> and national life.<br />

When she was only 15, Mary Hunter and her<br />

mother opened a small grocery store on South<br />

Lee Street in 1871 that operated for 59 years,<br />

according to the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette, without<br />

being “one cent in debt.” <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s Kate<br />

Waller Barrett was the co-founder of the<br />

international Florence Crittenton Mission that<br />

assisted unwed mothers. In 1919 she was<br />

appointed by President Wilson as an observer<br />

at the Paris Peace Conference that formalized<br />

the end of World War I.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> still was a proud southern<br />

town. On May 24, 1889, the city<br />

memorialized the service of its Confederate<br />

soldiers with a statue erected at the<br />

intersection of Washington and Prince Streets,<br />

the spot where the soldiers from <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

had assembled twenty-eight years earlier on<br />

the day the city was invaded by Union troops<br />

at the beginning of the Civil War.<br />

Of grimmer note, the city, with the legal<br />

sanction of the Supreme Court and the<br />

Virginia constitution, began more formally to<br />

separate blacks and whites in public facilities<br />

and public life. In the 1890s, two lynchings of<br />

black men took place in the city.<br />

&<br />

W O R L D W A R I<br />

P R O H I B I T I O N<br />

In 1916, the city’s large industries began to<br />

disappear. Prohibition became effective in<br />

Virginia that year, and Portner’s Brewery<br />

closed its doors. Prohibition and numerous<br />

fires caused by continuous operation of their<br />

furnaces, also finished <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s glass<br />

bottle factories, only one of which lasted into<br />

the 1920s.<br />

When the United States entered World War<br />

I in April 1917, <strong>Alexandria</strong>, for a time,<br />

received new life. The federal government<br />

contracted with the Virginia Shipbuilding<br />

Corporation to produce 12 cargo vessels for<br />

$1,504,000 on a 47-acres site on Jones<br />

Point. On May 30, 1918, President<br />

Woodrow Wilson visited the plant and<br />

drove the first rivet in the first keel of the<br />

first ship, the Gunston Hall, built on one<br />

of the four shipways in the yard (parts of<br />

which still exist). The yard, whose motto<br />

was “More Tons—Less Huns,” built nine<br />

ships, but in 1921, after the war’s end, it filed<br />

for bankruptcy and went out of business<br />

shortly afterward.<br />

A plant to produce torpedoes for the<br />

government was built on the waterfront at<br />

Cameron and King Streets at a cost of<br />

$1,216,655. No torpedoes were produced by<br />

the plant, however, until November 1920,<br />

two years after the war ended, and the plant<br />

ceased production in June 1923.<br />

The fertilizer business and many small<br />

industrial concerns struggled and frequently<br />

overcame fires, floods, national financial<br />

panic, and other business challenges to<br />

survive well into the twentieth century, but by<br />

the mid-1920s, although unclear at the time,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s period of large industrialization<br />

was largely over. <strong>Alexandria</strong> would need to<br />

look elsewhere for its economic prosperity.

C H A P T E R<br />

I X<br />


1925-1945<br />

W H I C H W A Y A L E X A N D R I A ?<br />

On January 1, 1930, W. B. McGroarty, industrial agent for the Southern Railway and <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

booster, posed a question in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette about <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s future. It was the beginning<br />

of a new decade, and he wondered what would be “the exact line of progress to which the city and<br />

community is destined. Will it be along the industrial lines for which it is so well adapted, or will<br />

it slip naturally, because the more easily, into the purely suburban class which its contiguity to a<br />

large and growing city [Washington] renders possible?” (By 1930, Washington’s population was<br />

486,869; <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s, 24,764, only 5 percent of Washington’s.)<br />

Not surprisingly, McGroarty favored “an industrial <strong>Alexandria</strong>.” This position was completely in<br />

tune with that of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Chamber of Commerce, which for the past several years had been<br />

seeking new industries for the city. Using the slogan “Key To Dixie,” referring to <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s location<br />

as the northernmost southern city, the Chamber sought “manufacturing plants of all kinds.” Its<br />

advertisements listed 13 particular types of industries sought, from shoe factories to iron foundries.<br />

Several small industries had located in <strong>Alexandria</strong> in the late 1920s, but McGroarty himself had<br />

written earlier that <strong>Alexandria</strong> “has not as yet secured any specific industries of the A-1 type.”<br />

In fact, <strong>Alexandria</strong> was slowly proceeding in the other, the suburban direction. On the same day<br />

McGroarty’s article appeared in the Gazette, annexation of the largest territory thus far in<br />

❖<br />

<strong>An</strong> aerial view up King Street from the<br />

Potomac River to the new George<br />

Washington Masonic Memorial, c. the<br />

1930s. The large gray building in the right<br />

foreground is the Torpedo Factory.<br />



C H A P T E R I X<br />

5 1

❖<br />

Above: The town hall and firehouse of the<br />

town of Potomac built in 1926 and still<br />

standing on East Windsor Avenue.<br />



Below: <strong>An</strong> aerial view of Potomac Yard<br />

looking south toward Old Town <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

and Great Hunting Creek, c. the 1920s.<br />


<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s history became effective. By this<br />

annexation <strong>Alexandria</strong> acquired over 3.5<br />

square miles and a population of 5,473,<br />

including the suburban town of Potomac and<br />

the great railway switching facility Potomac<br />

Yard. The annexed property, which was<br />

acquired from Arlington County, extended<br />

north along the Potomac River from the earlier<br />

northern <strong>Alexandria</strong> border at Second<br />

Street to Four Mile Run and west from the<br />

earlier western city border, located slightly<br />

west of today’s Russell Road, to Quaker Lane.<br />

This annexation was a strong indicator that<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> might look in a new direction for<br />

its economic future. By it <strong>Alexandria</strong> acquired<br />

not only the residents of Potomac (which had<br />

been formed in 1908 from two housing developments<br />

just north of the city, St. Elmo and<br />

Del Ray), but also land along both a streetcar<br />

line (running along what today is<br />

Commonwealth Avenue) and the Washington-<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Turnpike (today’s Highway 1) that<br />

provided commuter transportation links<br />

between Washington and <strong>Alexandria</strong>. To<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns, incorporating new rate payers<br />

plus additional land with good transportation<br />

and fine growth prospects made sense.<br />

Acquiring Potomac Yard also made sense.<br />

It was built by a combination of six railroad<br />

companies as a central spot to transfer freight<br />

between the northern and southern railroads—mainly<br />

manufactured goods coming<br />

south and agricultural goods going north. As<br />

the yard superintendent reported in the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette in 1929, “practically every<br />

article manufactured, grown or mined passes<br />

through Potomac Yard.” When it opened in<br />

1906, it had 68 tracks and was designed to<br />

handle 2,200 railroad cars a day. It soon<br />

became the largest railroad freight transfer<br />

yard on the east coast. By 1929 it had 122<br />

tracks and could handle 6,800 cars a day and<br />

employed 1,350 employees, many of whom<br />

lived in the new part of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> also was beginning to place<br />

more emphasis on tourism as a possible source<br />

of economic prosperity. Some of its first<br />

tourists came during the Civil War from<br />

Washington to see a real southern town, the<br />

place where Colonel Ellsworth had been shot,<br />

and Christ Church where George Washington<br />

had worshiped. Washington and colonial history<br />

became particularly good draws.<br />

According to historian William Seale, in the<br />

1880s <strong>Alexandria</strong> and its colonial history<br />

began appearing in popular periodicals like<br />

The Century Magazine. The first part of the<br />

Washington, <strong>Alexandria</strong> & Mount Vernon<br />

electric railway completed in 1892 ran from<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, not to Washington, but to Mount<br />

Vernon to carry visitors to Washington’s home.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


By 1930, new facilities had been completed<br />

or planned that were expected to bring additional<br />

tourists to <strong>Alexandria</strong>. In 1923, President<br />

Coolidge helped lay the cornerstone on Shuter’s<br />

Hill for what would become the dramatic<br />

George Washington Masonic Memorial, a new<br />

and expanded home for mementos of George<br />

Washington’s career. The tallest building in<br />

town was the six-story George Mason Hotel.<br />

Constructed in 1926 at the northeast corner of<br />

Washington and Prince Streets, it cost over<br />

$500,000 and contained 112 rooms. Then later<br />

in 1930, work commenced on the George<br />

Washington Memorial Parkway, which would<br />

pass through <strong>Alexandria</strong> along Washington<br />

Street on its way from Washington to Mount<br />

Vernon and would allow tourists to travel more<br />

easily to <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

T H E D E P R E S S I O N S L O W L Y<br />

H I T S H O M E<br />

Although the New York stock market crash<br />

had occurred in October of the old year, in<br />

1930, <strong>Alexandria</strong> remained comparatively<br />

unaffected. Even at the beginning of 1931, the<br />

Gazette reported that unemployment had hit<br />

the city the previous year “but not seriously.”<br />

At the beginning of 1932, the economic situation<br />

had worsened, but the paper still reported<br />

that <strong>Alexandria</strong> “probably has suffered less<br />

in comparison than most places” due primarily<br />

“to the fact that it is so close to the National<br />

Capital” and (in something of a turnaround<br />

for the Gazette) “that there are no large manufacturing<br />

concerns here.”<br />

On February 22, 1932, the local economy<br />

was bolstered by an estimated 100,000 people<br />

who attended a parade with thirty bands<br />

reviewed by President Hoover marking the<br />

bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. That<br />

night a capacity crowd of over five hundred costumed<br />

guests attended a brilliant celebration of<br />

Washington’s Birthnight Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern.<br />

In May the Masonic Memorial was dedicated<br />

with another large parade and ceremony, again<br />

with President Hoover in attendance. Then in<br />

the fall, the Ford Motor Company opened at the<br />

foot of Franklin Street a plant for assembling<br />

and distributing cars that employed 225 persons.<br />

Despite these encouraging developments,<br />

for the year, as historian Martha Feldkamp<br />

reported,” tax collections were down, tourism<br />

was down, the [George Mason] hotel lost money,<br />

and the city’s budget and salaries were cut.”<br />

The year 1933 opened ominously when<br />

the new Ford plant shut down temporarily in<br />

January because of a strikes at plants of Ford<br />

suppliers in Detroit. In March, however,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s four banks (including Burke &<br />

Herbert Bank, the only bank then that still<br />

exists now) survived the national banking crisis<br />

by honoring payroll withdrawals and even<br />

attracting new depositors.<br />

Yet it was to be <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s worst year of<br />

the Depression. By mid-December, 1,860<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns (15 percent of the workforce)<br />

had registered as unemployed, and on the last<br />

day of 1933, Potomac Yard laid off another 93<br />

workers. Local charities ran short of funds.<br />

The value of new construction permits fell to<br />

less than fifty percent of that in 1932.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s economy stagnated.<br />

Like America’s other Main Streets, King Street<br />

suffered badly. “One day we took in $38 and<br />

were so thrilled we called relatives in Florida to<br />

tell them,” recalled Bess Hayman, who, with her<br />

husband Ben, ran Hayman’s family clothing<br />

store on King Street. On January 1, 1934, the<br />

Gazette thought it necessary to list for its readers<br />

the somewhat grim “ingredients necessary to a<br />

happy New Year.” These were “courage,” “determination,”<br />

“faith,” “hope,” and “luck.”<br />

R E C O V E R Y<br />

In late 1933, new president Franklin<br />

Roosevelt’s New Deal recovery and relief pro-<br />

❖<br />

The Ford distribution plant in 1933. The<br />

large vacant area in front of the houses is<br />

the present Windmill Hill Park, also known<br />

as Lee Street Park..<br />



C H A P T E R I X<br />

5 3

❖<br />

Above: The Old Presbyterian Meeting House<br />

graveyard before being cleaned up by the<br />

American Legion. The intact table<br />

memorial in the foreground marks John<br />

Carlyle’s grave. St. Mary’s Catholic Church<br />

is on the far side of the graveyard.<br />


Below: The home of Dr. James Craik,<br />

Washington’s friend and doctor from before<br />

the French and Indian War until<br />

Washington’s death. The house, located at<br />

210 Duke Street, is shown around 1928,<br />

before it was restored.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

54<br />

grams began to affect <strong>Alexandria</strong>, and the<br />

Gazette reported that during 1934 “employment<br />

and considerable aid” were given<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> “by the Federal Government<br />

through its various agencies.”<br />

Also, as more people came to Washington<br />

to administer President Roosevelt’s New Deal,<br />

its population overflowed to the quieter scene<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The city’s colonial history and<br />

older houses were particularly attractive. As<br />

the Gazette reported at the beginning of 1935:<br />

“Restoration of colonial houses continues<br />

bringing many new families to the city,” much<br />

to the city’s benefit.<br />

Restoration of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, both by<br />

organizations and by individuals, had<br />

begun earlier. In one early restoration effort,<br />

the Second Presbyterian Church began in<br />

1925 successfully restoring the Old<br />

Presbyterian Meeting House. In 1927<br />

American Legionnaires helping to clean up<br />

the Meeting House grounds discovered a<br />

neglected tomb that was later dedicated as the<br />

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the<br />

American Revolution.<br />

Meanwhile, in 1917, the owners of<br />

Gadsby’s Tavern had sold much of the interior<br />

of its ballroom to the Metropolitan Museum of<br />

Art in New York. Nine years later, a travel<br />

book described the tavern as “a mere shell”<br />

with the lower floor being used as a junk shop<br />

and the upper floors “divided into cheap<br />

lodgings.” American Legion Post #24 came to<br />

its rescue in 1929 and bought the tavern for<br />

$18,000. During the Great Depression, the<br />

Legion held onto the property and even<br />

managed some restoration work.<br />

Possibly motivated by this new interest in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s history, an <strong>Alexandria</strong>n whose<br />

name indicates her own connection to the<br />

city’s history, Sarah Carlyle Fairfax Herbert<br />

Hooff, instigated in 1929, with her husband<br />

Charles R. Hooff, the restoration of old houses<br />

in what would become known as Old Town,<br />

starting with the house at 121 Prince Street on<br />

Captain’s Row. The same year, Gay Montague<br />

Moore bought, with the encouragement of<br />

Mrs. Hooff, the rundown brick house at 207<br />

Prince Street and began its restoration.<br />

This process proved attractive to people<br />

coming to Washington. As historian William<br />

Seale wrote: “Newcomers who liked old<br />

houses learned they could buy one in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> for a very low price—sometimes<br />

under a thousand dollars—patch it up,<br />

wall in the back yard…and have a pleasant<br />

living situation.”<br />

At the end of 1935, the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette<br />

reported: “Hundreds of new residents came to<br />

the city as soon as houses were available, and<br />

new homes were sold almost as rapidly as<br />

they were completed.” At the beginning of<br />

1937, a business census taken by the federal<br />

government “showed marked increase in the<br />

number of business enterprises here [in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>] including a wide variety of<br />

stores.” In 1939 the Torpedo Factory<br />

reopened, construction on National Airport<br />

began, and the Gazette reported that 1939<br />

was “the most progressive in the history of the<br />

city,” with the building total exceeding the<br />

previous year’s record by more than two<br />

million dollars. It seems that for <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

the Depression was largely over.<br />

L I B R A R Y<br />

S I T - D O W N<br />

A construction project creating jobs in<br />

1937 was the building of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s first free<br />

library as a memorial to Kate Waller Barrett. It<br />

opened to the public on August 21. It did<br />

not, however, open to all the public—it was<br />

whites only.

Exactly two years later, an effort was made<br />

to change that status in what was possibly the<br />

earliest sit-in demonstration in America for<br />

the cause of African-American civil rights. On<br />

the morning of August 21, 1939, five young<br />

African-American men between the ages of 19<br />

and 22, William Evans, Edward Gaddis,<br />

Morris Murray, Clarence Strange, and Otto<br />

Tucker, came forward one after another to the<br />

desk librarian and requested a library card.<br />

When refused, instead of leaving, each got a<br />

book off a shelf, sat down at a table, and<br />

quietly began reading. The flustered librarian<br />

asked the young men to leave, but they stayed<br />

where they were.<br />

The police were called, and when they<br />

arrived, they found outside the library a<br />

crowd of some three hundred people,<br />

including reporters and photographers. Inside<br />

the police reluctantly arrested the five young<br />

men without a struggle, escorted them<br />

outside without handcuffs, and later charged<br />

them with disorderly conduct.<br />

Watching the proceedings from just inside<br />

the library door was fourteen-year-old Bobby<br />

Strange. As soon as the police arrived, he<br />

dashed off to inform the man who had planned<br />

the sit-in, Samuel Wilbert Tucker, a 26-year-old<br />

African American lawyer who had remained in<br />

his office at 901 Princess Street. Tucker had<br />

graduated from Howard University, read law in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, and only five years earlier had been<br />

admitted to the Virginia Bar at age twenty-one.<br />

While an undergraduate student at Howard,<br />

Tucker had watched first-hand as Harvard-Law-<br />

School-educated, African-American lawyer<br />

Charles Houston transformed the Howard law<br />

school from a sleepy backwater into a fully<br />

accredited, cutting edge intellectual institution.<br />

He also followed Houston’s precedent-setting<br />

cases in persuading courts to require black students<br />

to be admitted to all white law schools in<br />

Maryland and Missouri.<br />

Houston had not challenged directly the<br />

legality of the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine of<br />

separate but equal but had shown instead that<br />

Maryland and Missouri had failed to provide<br />

African Americans with equal institutions.<br />

Tucker, however, wanted to attack separate<br />

but equal directly and outlaw it. His vehicle<br />

was the library challenge.<br />

When the case came for trial, the city of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was represented by 31-year-old<br />

city attorney Armistead Boothe. Boothe was<br />

from a politically-connected <strong>Alexandria</strong> family<br />

and had been a Rhodes Scholar from the<br />

University of Virginia. In this case “he served<br />

as the reluctant agent of Jim Crow,” as author<br />

Steve Ackerman wrote. He had been out of<br />

town the day the five young men had been<br />

charged and had no more interest in sending<br />

them to jail then they did of going. He<br />

requested repeated continuances of the case.<br />

In the meantime, <strong>Alexandria</strong> rushed to provide<br />

a separate library for African Americans.<br />

In April 1940, the city provided African<br />

Americans a library (the Robert Robinson<br />

Library, now the Black <strong>History</strong> Museum) and<br />

over time quietly let the charges against the<br />

five young African-Americans lapse.<br />

The Robinson library had less money, fewer<br />

books, and shorter hours than the white<br />

library, and Tucker was disgusted with it. Still<br />

it was a beginning, and <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s African-<br />

American community used it. Before any further<br />

civil rights actions were taken, <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

and the rest of the United States were in World<br />

War II, and Samuel Tucker was in the army.<br />

W O R L D W A R I I<br />

On December 7, 1941, fifteen-year-old<br />

William Glasgow was hanging out at<br />

Timbermann’s Drug Store on Washington<br />

❖<br />

Above: The five sit-down demonstrators<br />

being escorted out of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> library<br />

by the <strong>Alexandria</strong> police on August 21,<br />

1939. In back from left to right: William<br />

Evans, Otto Tucker, Edward Gaddis, and<br />

Officer Jack Kelley. In front are (from left to<br />

right) Morris Murray and Clarence Strange.<br />



Below: Civil rights attorney<br />

Samuel W. Tucker.<br />


C H A P T E R I X<br />

5 5

❖<br />

Above: World War II draftees from the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> area with bags packed posing on<br />

the front steps of the federal courthouse at<br />

200 Washington Street.<br />



Below: With wartime food shortages<br />

creating many nutritional problems, home<br />

economist Ida Lansden explains to<br />

housewives from Chinquapin Village the<br />

necessity of preserving the vitamin content<br />

of available foods.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

56<br />

Street with some friends, when, as he remembered<br />

years later, another friend “burst out of<br />

the front door of his father’s Palace Cleaners<br />

and yelled, ‘They’ve bombed Pearl Harbor!’”<br />

One of Glasgow’s young friends only response<br />

was: “Where’s that?”<br />

Several <strong>Alexandria</strong> families knew, however,<br />

exactly where Pearl Harbor was — they had a<br />

son, husband, or brother in service there.<br />

Learning whether they were safe was for some<br />

families a long wait. Not until a month later<br />

did the parents of Private Vannoy Herfurth<br />

learn that their son had been on his way to<br />

church in Honolulu when the attack came<br />

and was unharmed. He wrote home that he<br />

“saw the whole thing, but can’t tell you exactly<br />

what went on.”<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns were surprised when and<br />

where the war started, yet the fact that war<br />

came may not have been a surprise. Hints that<br />

it was approaching came in 1939 when the<br />

Torpedo Factory reopened and again in April<br />

1941, when the first MkXIV type torpedo produced<br />

in the plant was tested in Maryland.<br />

Soon, however, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns became<br />

familiar with air raid wardens, blackouts,<br />

meat shortages, tire quotas, rationing<br />

coupons, victory gardens, U.S.O. Clubs, scrap<br />

metal drives, draftees leaving home, and other<br />

indications on the homefront that the country<br />

was at war. Families had on their back porches<br />

buckets of sand and five-gallon pails for<br />

water to put out fires from incendiary bombs.<br />

<strong>An</strong>tiaircraft guns stood at the corner of Henry<br />

and Oronoco Streets, on top of the Torpedo<br />

Factory, and several other places in town.<br />

Women in uniform walked <strong>Alexandria</strong> streets,<br />

to the approval of at least one young woman,<br />

who “admired them all so much because they<br />

were so well-groomed, with neat hair and polished<br />

fingernails.”<br />

Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, the city’s<br />

morale was boosted when both President<br />

Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister<br />

Winston Churchill visited Christ Church to<br />

pray for “victory and peace,” as the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Gazette reported.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s first reported war casualty was<br />

Charles E. Craven of 113 North Columbus<br />

Street, second mate aboard a Standard Oil<br />

tanker torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine<br />

off the North Carolina coast on<br />

February 24, 1942, less than three months<br />

after Pearl Harbor. Notices would continue to<br />

come to <strong>Alexandria</strong> homes during the war as<br />

101 <strong>Alexandria</strong> servicemen were killed. Many<br />

years later, <strong>Alexandria</strong>n Shirley Grimm<br />

Warthen remembered at the age of nine or ten<br />

learning of the death of a brother on Iwo Jima.<br />

Some of her small friends came to her door and<br />

handed her apple blossoms cut off a neighborhood<br />

tree and said, “Here, we’re sorry.”<br />

Perhaps the biggest change the war brought<br />

about in <strong>Alexandria</strong> was in new housing. From<br />

5,000 to 6,000 workers from as far away as<br />

Mississippi and Wyoming were employed in<br />

the Torpedo Factory. Chinquapin Village,<br />

housing 350 families, was constructed for them<br />

on the current site of Chinquapin Recreation<br />

Center and its athletic field. A trailer park was<br />

established in Del Ray, and at the urging of the<br />

federal government, the Metropolitan Life<br />

Insurance Company built Parkfairfax, a rental<br />

housing development consisting of 1,684<br />

apartments that opened in 1943. (It still exists<br />

off Quaker Lane and I-395.)<br />

Finally, on September 2, 1945, Japan<br />

formally surrendered, and the war ended.<br />

Soon, once again, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns returned home<br />

from war.

C H A P T E R<br />


1946-2010<br />

X<br />

No longer distracted by a war overseas, <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns began to look around their hometown.<br />

Some saw things they thought should be changed; others liked things as they were. This basic disagreement,<br />

what to change and what to preserve, soon became <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s central concern.<br />

H I S T O R I C<br />

P R E S E R V A T I O N<br />

A postwar construction boom animated <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns as it did people throughout the country.<br />

Property along Washington Street in particular became the subject of a number of rezoning requests<br />

from prospective developers. Yet the city’s authority over construction there was circumscribed by the<br />

1929 agreement between <strong>Alexandria</strong> and the federal government on the George Washington Memorial<br />

Parkway, which ran along Washington Street. The agreement provided that building activity along the<br />

Parkway would be “in keeping with the dignity, purpose and memorial character of said highway.”<br />

In early 1946 the National Parks and Planning Commission (NPPC) and the National Park<br />

Service, the federal government’s monitors of the Parkway agreement, complained to the city<br />

council that it was allowing too much development along Washington Street, thus endangering the<br />

“memorial character” of the Parkway, and threatened court action. The NPPC even reported it was<br />

considering constructing an elevated roadway along the <strong>Alexandria</strong> waterfront as an alternative.<br />

These threats gave the city council pause. By the end of June 1946, the city attorney, at the request<br />

of Councilman Paul L. Delaney, had drafted an ordinance, based on a similar ordinance in Charleston,<br />

South Carolina, that would establish an historic preservation district and create a Board of<br />

Architectural Review. The board would rule on the “appropriateness” of certain exterior architectural<br />

features of buildings to be erected, altered or restored within the historic district based on similar<br />

features of buildings in the immediate area. The board also would rule on the demolition of buildings<br />

built within the district in 1846 or earlier. A specific policy of the board was “preservation of the<br />

memorial character of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.”<br />

The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Board of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Arlington, and Fairfax,<br />

and the Retail Merchants Association led opposition to the ordinance. They opposed the measure in part<br />

❖<br />

A watercolor painting of restored houses at<br />

the northeast corner of Queen and St.<br />

Asaph Streets in the Old and <strong>Historic</strong><br />

District. The narrow house in the middle is<br />

sometimes called a “spite house.” Although<br />

possibly built to house a relative or servant,<br />

it also may have been built to spite a<br />

neighbor by blocking an alley leading to the<br />

back of the neighbor’s home where he kept<br />

his stable and horses.<br />


C H A P T E R X<br />

5 7

ecause it “infringes on the rights of the individual<br />

to use his property in a lawful manner” and<br />

would “prohibit the orderly development and<br />

progress of the City of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.”<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns interested in historic<br />

preservation generally supported the<br />

ordinance. Earlier, the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Association<br />

(founded in 1932 as a private organization<br />

advocating historic preservation) had urged<br />

that buildings being remodeled or<br />

constructed along Washington Street be in<br />

harmony with <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s eighteenthcentury<br />

architecture, a concept that became<br />

the goal of <strong>Alexandria</strong> preservationists.<br />

At the Council’s stormy session on August<br />

13, 1946, the ordinance passed, with the<br />

strong support of Councilmen Delaney and<br />

Thomas A. Hulfish, by a narrow vote of 4-3.<br />

The Old and <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong> District<br />

established by the ordinance extended from the<br />

Potomac River west to Alfred Street and from<br />

Montgomery Street south to Great Hunting<br />

Creek. The board was composed of seven<br />

people, including two architects, a member of<br />

the City Planning Commission, and a licensed<br />

real estate broker.<br />

Since 1946, the ordinance has been amended<br />

numerous times, and the board’s decisions<br />

frequently have been controversial. Despite<br />

controversy and setbacks, the board has helped<br />

preserve what Peter Smith, the board’s former<br />

principal staffer, called “one of the largest<br />

collections of eighteenth-century architecture in<br />

the United States.”<br />

S C H O O L<br />

D E S E G R E G A T I O N<br />

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court<br />

announced its decision in Brown vs. Board of<br />

Education declaring that separate schools for<br />

white and black children was unconstitutional.<br />

Virginia, however, in what became known as<br />

“massive resistance,” fought school integration<br />

in the courts and in the legislature.<br />

In September 1956, Virginia enacted laws<br />

requiring the governor to close a school that<br />

enrolled a single black student. This was no<br />

idle threat. Earlier the General Assembly had<br />

revoked Arlington County’s right to an elective<br />

school board after the board outlined a<br />

desegregation plan for the 1956-1957 school<br />

year. Armistead L. Boothe, State Senator from<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> (who earlier had prosecuted the<br />

library sit-down demonstrators) had proposed<br />

giving a local school board the option to make<br />

its own decision concerning the pace of<br />

desegregation, but his proposal was defeated.<br />

Whatever the <strong>Alexandria</strong> school board and<br />

its school superintendent T. C. Williams might<br />

have thought about integration, it had little<br />

choice but to followed the state lead, so that in<br />

the late summer of 1958, four years after Brown<br />

v. Board of Education was announced, no<br />

African-American student attended a white<br />

school in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> then had sixteen white schools<br />

and three black schools with a total enrollment<br />

for the coming school year, 1958-1959, of<br />

approximately 11,500 students, 85 percent<br />

white and 15 percent black. By then the school<br />

board had completed much needed<br />

improvements to two of the black schools: Lyles-<br />

Crouch Elementary School, which had just<br />

moved into a new building in April 1958, and<br />

Charles Houston Elementary School, located in<br />

a building constructed in 1919 to which an<br />

addition had recently been added. (The third<br />

African-American school was the new Parker-<br />

Gray High School, which opened in 1950.)<br />

On August 11, 1958, twelve black students<br />

attempted to register at all-white schools closer<br />

to their homes than the black schools they<br />

were expected to attend. All were turned<br />

down. They then sued in U.S. District Court to<br />

compel the <strong>Alexandria</strong> system to admit them to<br />

those all-white schools. One of the lawyers<br />

representing the students was Otto L. Tucker,<br />

Samuel Tucker’s brother and one of the library<br />

sit-down demonstrators.<br />

When school started that year,<br />

Superintendent Williams immediately fired<br />

Blois O. Hundley, a cafeteria worker at the Lyles-<br />

Crouch Elementary School and mother of two of<br />

the children. At the following school board<br />

meeting, Williams explained, according to the<br />

board’s minutes, that it was incongruous to have<br />

a school employee “suing the organization in<br />

which she is working” and that the firing “had<br />

nothing to do with reprisal” or her race. Less<br />

than a month later, however, Superintendent<br />

Williams, with board approval, offered to<br />

reinstate Hundley.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


In January 1959, Judge Albert V. Bryan, Sr.,<br />

of the U.S. District Court in <strong>Alexandria</strong> ordered<br />

the board not to refuse the admission of<br />

African-American students on the basis of race.<br />

(Only days earlier, the U.S. District Court in<br />

Norfolk and the Virginia Supreme Court both<br />

ruled the massive resistant legislation illegal.)<br />

Still the <strong>Alexandria</strong> School Board refused<br />

the students’ admission. This time its decision<br />

was based on six criteria that on their face<br />

were racially neutral. However, when Judge<br />

Bryan reviewed the board’s action, keeping<br />

Superintendent Williams on the witness stand<br />

for most of a day, he ruled against the board<br />

and ordered that on February 10, nine of the<br />

students be admitted to white schools.<br />

After the board’s defeat, Marshall J. Beverley,<br />

a former <strong>Alexandria</strong> mayor and candidate for the<br />

Virginia Senate, praised the “gallant fight” of<br />

Superintendent Williams and attorneys “to try<br />

and stop integration of our good public<br />

schools.” He stated, according to the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Gazette, that “the hearts and minds of the<br />

majority of our citizens are sick over the thought<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong> being integrated.” Of his<br />

opponent in the State Senate race, Beverley said<br />

“The remark of Armistead Boothe that we<br />

should all stop the fight and unite sounds like<br />

we should give in to the NAACP…I know the<br />

citizens will be law abiding and accept the court<br />

order tomorrow, but feel they will express their<br />

feelings at the ballot box against those who have<br />

helped and encouraged integration.” In the<br />

following primary, former mayor Beverley lost to<br />

Senator Boothe by almost two-to-one.<br />

On February 10, Kathryn, Sandra, and Gerald<br />

Turner; Jessie Mae Jones; and Sarah A. Ragland,<br />

escorted by relatives, “walked up the long hill to<br />

the spanking new William Ramsay elementary<br />

school and into the school main entrance<br />

without event” the Gazette reported. James E.<br />

and Margaret I. Lomax entered Theodore Ficklin<br />

Elementary School also without trouble. These<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> students were the first African-<br />

Americans in Virginia to attend formerly allwhite<br />

elementary schools. At the same time,<br />

James Ragland and Patsy Ragland entered<br />

Francis Hammond High School without event.<br />

However, this peaceful first day did not mean<br />

all would proceed smoothly toward full<br />

integration of <strong>Alexandria</strong> schools. Early black<br />

students in all-white schools were excluded<br />

from dances and sports teams, spat upon, and<br />

the object of racial slurs. Yet African-American<br />

Sarah Ragland, only eight years old and one of<br />

the very first to attend an all-white school in<br />

1959, remembered years later that on Valentine’s<br />

Day, “I got a valentine from every kid in the<br />

class. My name was spelled a hundred ways, but<br />

that didn’t matter. The message was there.”<br />

Gradually, through the actions of wellmeaning<br />

people of both races, integration<br />

progressed. In 1962, Ferdinand T. Day, an<br />

African-American, was appointed to the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> School Board, and in 1971 he<br />

became its chairman.<br />

Also in 1971, the 11th and 12th grades of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s three separate high schools, black<br />

and white, were merged into one high school,<br />

T. C. Williams High School (opened six years<br />

earlier and named after the former<br />

superintendent). At first, all did not go<br />

smoothly. When the new school year began, the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette reported that “a band of<br />

white teenagers pelted school buses loaded with<br />

black students.” Yet at the same time, the fully<br />

integrated T. C. Williams football team “was<br />

undergoing calisthenics a few feet away on the<br />

Hammond practice field.”<br />

Coached by black coach Herman Boone and<br />

white assistant coach Bill Yoast, the football<br />

team’s previous head coach, the T. C. Williams<br />

❖<br />

The nine children who in 1959 were the first<br />

African-Americans to attend <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

all white schools.<br />



C H A P T E R X<br />

5 9

❖<br />

The yearbook photo of the T. C. Williams<br />

Titans football team of 1971 that was the<br />

subject of the film Remember the Titans.<br />


Opposite, top, left: Before urban renewal,<br />

the view along the south side of the 500<br />

block of King Street looking east toward Pitt<br />

Street from the corner of St. Asaph’s and<br />

King Streets. The second floor of the tall<br />

building on the far left once housed an<br />

opera house and later a bowling alley. In<br />

the early 1800s, the Rembrandt’s Shoes<br />

store at the far right was the store and home<br />

of silversmith Adam Lynn, Jr.<br />



Opposite, top, right: Archaeologists and<br />

volunteers investigated an old privy/well<br />

uncovered in the 500 block of King Street<br />

during the 1970s downtown urban renewal<br />

project. The buildings had been removed<br />

and excavation had begun for the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Courthouse and parking garage.<br />


Opposite, bottom: In the foreground is the<br />

Fawcett-Reeder House at 517 Prince Street.<br />

The front part was built circa 1775 making<br />

it one of the oldest remaining buildings in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. The exposed wood is the<br />

house’s original, old growth wood. In<br />

the background is the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Courthouse constructed on the south side<br />

of the 500 block of King Street as part of<br />

urban renewal.<br />


H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

60<br />

football team became the undefeated Virginia<br />

AAA champions. Upon its return home from its<br />

victorious championship game, as the Gazette<br />

reported: “A roaring celebration at National<br />

Airport was marked by black and white<br />

mothers embracing in joy.” The team’s victories<br />

helped ease the integration of T.C. Williams<br />

High. (In 2000, the team and its coaches<br />

became the subject of the movie “Remember<br />

the Titans” starring Denzel Washington.)<br />

Finally, on opening day in September<br />

1973, all <strong>Alexandria</strong> schools were integrated.<br />

U R B A N<br />

R E N E W A L<br />

Only a year and a half after the first black<br />

children walked into all-white <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

schools, the city faced another issue about<br />

change almost as controversial—urban renewal.<br />

On July 19, 1960, city officials made<br />

public a plan for reviving downtown<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> prepared by John J Beggs, a New<br />

York urban planner employed by the city. The<br />

plan hit <strong>Alexandria</strong> like a bomb—both in the<br />

widespread destruction of <strong>Alexandria</strong> it<br />

proposed and in <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns’ explosive<br />

reaction to it.<br />

According to the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette, the plan<br />

proposed to raze 20 entire blocks of downtown,<br />

an area extending from Washington Street east<br />

to Fairfax Street and from Oronoco south to<br />

Prince Street. The only buildings to be spared in<br />

this area were structures “of acknowledged<br />

historic and architectural value.”<br />

In their place would be built a mixture of<br />

structures: a high-rise apartment building, a<br />

large parking lot, commercial buildings, an<br />

auditorium, and “a great motor hotel.” City<br />

Council had not endorsed the plan; yet V. Ward<br />

Boswell, local real estate agent and chairman of<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Redevelopment and Housing<br />

Authority, the city agency that had hired Beggs,<br />

told a Gazette reporter: “This [plan] is a must.”<br />

Adverse reaction was immediate and<br />

intense. The Old Town Civic Association, the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette, the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Association,<br />

and even the <strong>Alexandria</strong> School Board, as well<br />

as individual citizens, opposed the plan.<br />

The week after its release, the <strong>Alexandria</strong> City<br />

Council met to consider the Beggs plan. The<br />

Gazette reported the meeting was expected to be<br />

attended by “the most riotous aggregation of<br />

indignant citizens since the War of 1812.” At the<br />

meeting, speaker after speaker opposed the plan,<br />

and one <strong>Alexandria</strong>n named Beggs stood up in<br />

the back of the room to announce he wanted his<br />

friends and neighbors to know he was not the<br />

author of the plan and was no relation to him. At<br />

the end of the comment period, Mayor Leroy S.<br />

Bendheim moved that the plan be rejected, and<br />

his motion passed unanimously.<br />

Yet, the need for revitalization of downtown<br />

was generally acknowledged. Many businesses<br />

in the downtown area badly needed repairs,<br />

and as one official stated: “There are vacant<br />

stores all along King Street.” When a young<br />

couple who recently had bought a home in<br />

Yates Garden took a walk on King Street, the<br />

woman looked around and told her husband,<br />

“We’ve made a mistake.”<br />

The amount of taxes downtown businesses<br />

paid was an indication of their declining health.<br />

Tax records for the previous year indicated that<br />

76 merchants in the area covered by the plan<br />

each paid less than $101 a year in taxes and that<br />

businesses there paid real estate taxes amounting<br />

to only 2.25 percent of total city receipts. “As<br />

shopping centers were built in outlying areas,<br />

many consumers preferred to stay away from<br />

downtown where parking was difficult and after<br />

dark the area was considered unsafe,” wrote<br />

historian Patricia Ellen McClosky. Renovation<br />

might bring customers back downtown.<br />

Many preservationists themselves were not<br />

against urban renewal entirely, but they wanted<br />

to be part of the planning process. When the<br />

City Council in August 1960 instructed the city<br />

planner to complete a new urban renewal plan,<br />

it also appointed a citizens’ advisory committee<br />

to review it.<br />

On June 18, 1963, the Council approved the<br />

Gadsby Commercial Urban Renewal Plan,

named after Gadsby’s Tavern, which was to be<br />

preserved. The plan was to be implemented in<br />

three phases: under Phase 1, two entire blocks,<br />

the one where Gadsby’s was located (to be called<br />

Tavern Square) and the City Hall block (referred<br />

to as Market Square), would be developed;<br />

Phase II covered the south side of the 300, 400,<br />

and 500 blocks of King Street and the north side<br />

of the 500 block of King; and Phase III was to<br />

develop the 600 block of King Street.<br />

Approval did not end the controversy over<br />

the development as it progressed, which<br />

included heated battles at the Board of<br />

Architectural Review and City Council over the<br />

preservation of individual buildings and the<br />

appearance of structures that would replace<br />

them. Still, Tavern Square and Market Square<br />

(Phase I) were completed in June 1967 and the<br />

last of Phase II was completed in 1981. Phase III<br />

was never implemented.<br />

T H E<br />

W A T E R F R O N T<br />

In the 1950s and 1960s, the waterfront was<br />

viewed as different from other parts of<br />

downtown, partly because for almost its entire<br />

length it was separated from downtown shops<br />

and homes by the old railroad that exited the<br />

Wilkes Street tunnel and ran along Union Street<br />

and partly because most of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

remaining industrial sites were located along<br />

the waterfront.<br />

Those facilities, however, had gradually<br />

become disused and had deteriorated. Also,<br />

only a few ships a year docked along the<br />

waterfront at only a few places, such as the<br />

Robinson Terminal Warehouse Corporation’s<br />

wharves at the foot of Oronoco Street (on old<br />

West’s Point) and the foot of Duke Street (old<br />

Point Lumley) where they unloaded mainly<br />

newsprint from Canada and Scandinavia.<br />

Along the water were pockets of neglected<br />

lots and rotting wharves, such as the “Barge<br />

Wharf” lot at the foot of Wolfe Street<br />

containing, as described in the Gazette, “eight<br />

ramshackle structures consisting of shacks,<br />

barges on foundations, and outhouses and<br />

sheds” that had become “a gathering place for<br />

tramps, vagrants, alcoholics, and drunkards.”<br />

In the late 1960s, the old <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Fertilizer and Chemical Factory property on the<br />

west side of Union Street between Queen and<br />

Oronoco was developed into a complex of threestory<br />

homes known as the Brandt Townhouses.<br />

Possibly encouraged by this successful<br />

residential development, in December 1971,<br />

Watergate Improvements, Inc., filed plans with<br />

the city Planning Commission to construct a<br />

650-unit condominium complex on the two<br />

block area on the waterfront bounded by Union,<br />

Oronoco, and Queen Streets (site of old<br />

Fishtown). The complex would consist of four<br />

18-story buildings, each set upon 20-foot stilts<br />

and rising 178 feet in the air.<br />

A number of <strong>Alexandria</strong> residents, including<br />

Ellen Pickering and Robert L. Montague III,<br />

opposed the project, arguing it would “tower<br />

over historic Old Town,” and increase traffic, air<br />

pollution, water pollution, and noise.<br />

Supporters, such as the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Board of<br />

Trade, contended it would add about $600,000<br />

to the city income, and as Councilman Wiley<br />

Mitchell said, “turn a neglected area of blight into<br />

a prime urban asset.” In March 1972 the council<br />

unanimously approved the project after<br />

attaching 43 conditions worked out with<br />

Watergate Improvements.<br />

Defeated by the city<br />

council, opponents of the<br />

development filed suit<br />

against the city and<br />

Watergate in <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

circuit court in June 1972,<br />

contending that the city<br />

did not own the land on<br />

which the project would<br />

be built. The U.S.<br />

Department of the Interior<br />

agreed. It had long<br />

contended that the United<br />

C H A P T E R X<br />

6 1

❖<br />

Above: A drawing of the Watergate<br />

Improvements, Inc.’s proposed 650-unit<br />

condominium complex to be built east of<br />

Union Street, north of Queen Street, and<br />

south of Oronoco Street. The Robinson<br />

Terminal Warehouse Corporation,<br />

North, complex is shown at the far right of<br />

the drawing.<br />



Below: Activist Ellen Pickering argued<br />

before the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Planning Commission<br />

on January 4, 1972, against the city’s sale of<br />

waterfront property to Watergate<br />

Improvements, Inc.<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

62<br />

States owned that land, and in December 1973,<br />

the U.S. attorney general entered the courts<br />

with a suit to quiet title to 22 tracts of<br />

waterfront property from Daingerfield Island to<br />

Jones Point Park.<br />

The suit’s key issue concerned the location of<br />

the boundary between the District of Columbia<br />

and Virginia after the 1632 grant from King<br />

Charles I establishing the Virginia bank of the<br />

Potomac as Maryland’s boundary, Virginia’s<br />

ceding property to form the District of Columbia<br />

in 1791, the federal government’s retrocession of<br />

property along the Potomac waterfront to<br />

Virginia in 1847, and subsequent federal and<br />

Virginia actions. Because of the complexity of<br />

this issue, for years to come individual property<br />

settlements entered into as part of the suit<br />

established frameworks for resolving waterfront<br />

development issues. As of 2010, seven tracts still<br />

were part of the court action. (The proposed<br />

Watergate site is now Founders Park.)<br />

The old Torpedo Plant was one area along<br />

the waterfront not part of a suit. The city had<br />

purchased the property from the federal<br />

government in 1970, before suits were filed. In<br />

1974, largely through the efforts of artist Marian<br />

Van Landingham, one of the four buildings of<br />

the complex became the Torpedo Factory Art<br />

Center, ultimately home to 80 plus studios, six<br />

galleries, over 160 artists, the Art League<br />

School, print making classes, and the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Archaeology Museum.<br />

T H E C I T Y A S H I S T O R I C<br />

P R E S E R V A T I O N C U S T O D I A N<br />

In 1965, in the midst of urban renewal, the<br />

Smithsonian Institution financed Richard<br />

Muzzrole to do “salvage archaeology,”<br />

examining <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s wells and privies<br />

uncovered by bulldozers and saving what<br />

artifacts he could. When the Smithsonian’s<br />

program ended in June 1971, Muzzrole<br />

continued his excavations using his own money<br />

and funds provided by a group of <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns<br />

until in 1973, prodded by citizens, the city<br />

created its first archaeology position. In 1975<br />

the city established the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Archaeology<br />

Commission to provide formal citizen<br />

involvement in the archaeology program, the<br />

first such commission in the country, and in<br />

1977 hired Pamela J. Cressey to be the city’s<br />

head archaeologist. One of her principal duties<br />

became managing <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s Archaeology<br />

Protection Code adopted in 1989.<br />

The city gradually took over and began<br />

managing many of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s historic<br />

properties, such as Gadsby’s Tavern and Fort<br />

Ward. To help preserve <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s story, the<br />

city named a full-time historian, T. Michael<br />

Miller; started the Special Collections-Local<br />

<strong>History</strong> branch of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> library; and<br />

established the Archives and Records Center.<br />

In 1984 the city created a second historic<br />

district, the Parker-Gray District, which<br />

included an area from North Alfred Street west<br />

to North West Street and from Cameron Street<br />

north to First Street.<br />

In addition, Carlyle House, the Athenaeum,<br />

the Lee-Fendall House, and Freedom House<br />

(the former Franklin-Armfield slave pen) have<br />

been preserved by non-profit organizations,<br />

and <strong>Alexandria</strong> churches have preserved their<br />

historic places of worship. A number of other<br />

non-profit organizations have been established<br />

to promote historic preservation and<br />

education. Also individuals, such as Marianne<br />

(Polly) Hulfish, have continued to restore<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s historic old homes.<br />

A N N E X A T I O N A N D<br />

N E W C O M M U N I T I E S<br />

In 1952, <strong>Alexandria</strong> annexed from Fairfax<br />

County the largest geographical area added in<br />

its history, an area bounded by Quaker Lane<br />

on the east, King Street-Route 7 on the north,<br />

a rambling curve from King Street to the<br />

Southern Railroad on the west, and roughly<br />

today’s beltway on the south.<br />

The annexation encompassed Landmark<br />

Mall, Cameron Station and Ben Brenman Park<br />

(site of the Union army’s Camp California

manager in 1985, and, in 1991, Patricia Ticer<br />

was elected the city’s first woman mayor. In<br />

1995, Ticer was elected the first woman from<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> to serve in the Virginia Senate.<br />

Formerly the site of the largest slave<br />

trading company in the United States, in 2003<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> elected African-American William<br />

Euille as its mayor.<br />

during the Civil War and a U.S. army<br />

quartermaster depot during World War II),<br />

the Carlyle and Eisenhower Valley<br />

developments, and the Virginia Theological<br />

Seminary and Episcopal High School. Today<br />

part of the area is the location of vibrant<br />

Latino and Ethiopian communities. (In 2010,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> school authorities reported that<br />

English, Spanish, and depending on the year,<br />

Amharic—the language of Ethiopia—or<br />

Arabic were the languages most spoken by T.<br />

C. Williams High School students and that 29<br />

percent of its students were foreign born.)<br />

With this annexation, the site of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

first rival, the 1740s village of Cameron,<br />

became part of the city, although Cameron itself<br />

long ago ceased to exist. The annexation also<br />

brought into the city the homesite of the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> area’s first known European<br />

inhabitant, seventeenth century’s John Coggins.<br />

N E W<br />

L E A D E R S H I P<br />

Since Margaret Brent was the first European<br />

to own land in the future <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

accomplished women have been associated<br />

with <strong>Alexandria</strong>. It was not until after World<br />

War II, however, that women began to take<br />

principal leadership roles in city government<br />

and represent the city on the state level.<br />

In 1954, Irene Pancoast became <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s<br />

first female judge when appointed to the<br />

Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. In<br />

1963, Marion Galland was elected the first<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> woman to serve in the Virginia<br />

House of Delegates. In 1973 <strong>Alexandria</strong>ns<br />

elected Nora Lamborne and Beverly Beidler, the<br />

first women on the city council, later followed<br />

by long-term council member Del Pepper. Vola<br />

Lawson was appointed the first female city<br />

C O N C L U S I O N<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns have faced numerous<br />

challenges—agricultural shifts, financial<br />

failures, industrial and technological changes,<br />

fires, and devastating wars—yet again and<br />

again adapted, recovered, survived, and even<br />

flourished. <strong>An</strong>d as they adapted, they<br />

managed to preserve the historical structures,<br />

artifacts, and stories that made, and continue<br />

to make, <strong>Alexandria</strong> unique.<br />

In its latest adaptation, <strong>Alexandria</strong> is no<br />

longer an industrial or international shipping<br />

city. Instead, according to the city’s website,<br />

it has “a growing base of high-technology<br />

firms, management consulting companies,<br />

professional services, and trade and professional<br />

association headquarters,” many of which value<br />

the city’s proximity to Washington. In addition,<br />

its historical museums, Torpedo Factory Art<br />

Center, shops, restaurants, and historical<br />

atmosphere have made <strong>Alexandria</strong> a prime<br />

tourist destination. Perhaps most importantly,<br />

families who have their roots in the city and<br />

people from many parts of the United States and<br />

the world continue to find <strong>Alexandria</strong> a<br />

delightful place to live.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s history, of course, continues.<br />

It also continues to be discovered.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>ns recently began rediscovering a<br />

community of former slaves who settled on<br />

the grounds of Fort Ward immediately after<br />

the Civil War. In 2002, a cache of 4,000 of<br />

Robert E. Lee’s family papers was found in<br />

two old steamer trunks stored for 84 years in<br />

a basement vault at Burke & Herbert Bank &<br />

Trust Company. <strong>An</strong>d in 2007 while digging at<br />

the site of the Contrabands and Freedmen’s<br />

Cemetery, archaeologists discovered a Clovis<br />

spear point broken and left behind by an<br />

Indian stone worker some thirteen thousand<br />

years ago.<br />

❖<br />

Top, left: Virginia State Senator and former<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Mayor Patricia S. Ticer.<br />



Below: <strong>Alexandria</strong> Mayor<br />

William D. Euille.<br />


C H A P T E R X<br />

6 3


There are numerous sources for this book, and a footnoted version of the text will be available in the Special Collections/Local <strong>History</strong><br />

Branch of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Library. The principal sources are as follows:<br />

Abbot, W. W., et al, eds. The Papers of George Washington. Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1983- .<br />

Ackerman, Stephen J. “The Trials of S. W. Tucker.” Washington Post Magazine, June 11, 2000.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Gazette, 1784-2009, Microfilm, Special Collections/Local <strong>History</strong>, <strong>Alexandria</strong> Library.<br />

Barber, James G. <strong>Alexandria</strong> in the Civil War. Lynchburg, Virginia: H.E. Howard, Inc., 1988.<br />

Cressey, Pamela J. “The <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia City-Site: Archaeology in an Afro-American Neighborhood, 1830-1910.” Ph.D diss., The<br />

University of Iowa, 1985.<br />

Feldkamp, Martha S. “A <strong>History</strong> of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia, in the Depression Years of 1930-1934.” Master’s thesis, The George Washington<br />

University, 1977.<br />

Hambleton, Elizabeth and Marian Van Landingham, eds. <strong>Alexandria</strong>: A Composite <strong>History</strong>. <strong>Alexandria</strong>: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Bicentennial<br />

Commission, 1975.<br />

Heineman, Ronald L., John G. Kolp, <strong>An</strong>thony S. Parent, Jr., and William G. Shade. Old Dominion, New Commonwealth: A <strong>History</strong> of Virginia,<br />

1607-2007. Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 2007.<br />

Howard, Mark. “<strong>An</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Study of the Desegregation of the <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia, City Public Schools, 1954-1973.” Ph.D. diss., The<br />

George Washington University, 1976.<br />

Hurd, William B. <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia, 1861-1865. <strong>Alexandria</strong>: Fort Ward Museum, 1970, 3rd ed., 1980.<br />

Kundahl, George G. <strong>Alexandria</strong> Goes to War: Beyond Robert E. Lee. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2004.<br />

McCloskey, Patricia Ellen. “Urban Renewal and <strong>Historic</strong> Preservation: A Case Study of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia, 1945-1980.” Master’s thesis,<br />

The George Washington University, 1999.<br />

Macoll, John D. and George J. Stansfield, eds. <strong>Alexandria</strong>: A Towne in Transition, 1800-1900. <strong>Alexandria</strong>: <strong>Alexandria</strong> Bicentennial<br />

Commission and <strong>Alexandria</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Society, 1977.<br />

McCardell, Lee. Ill-Starred General: Braddock of the Coldstream Guards. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986.<br />

Miller, T. Michael. “The Homefront: Wartime <strong>Alexandria</strong>, 1941-1945, Parts I and II.” The Fireside Sentinel, vol. VII, nos. 1 and 2<br />

(January/February 1993 and March/April 1993).<br />

Miller, T. Michael, ed. Pen Portraits of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia, 1739-1900. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 1987.<br />

Munson, James. Colo. John Carlyle, Gent.: A True and Just Account of the Man and His House. Northern Virginia: Northern Virginia Regional<br />

Park Authority, 1986.<br />

Pippenger, Wesley E. John Alexander: A Northern Neck Proprietor, His Family, Friends and Kin. Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc., 1990.<br />

Rice, James D. Nature & <strong>History</strong> in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins<br />

University Press, 2009.<br />

Ricks, Mary Kay. Escape on the Pearl: The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007.<br />

Robbins, Allan W., ed. “<strong>Alexandria</strong> in the War of 1812.” <strong>Alexandria</strong> <strong>History</strong>, vol. VI (1984).<br />

Shomette, Donald G. Maritime <strong>Alexandria</strong>: The Rise and Fall of an American Entrepot. Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2005.<br />

Sizemore, Bobby. “George Johnston: Forgotten Patriot.” Northern Virginia Heritage, vol. 3 (1981).<br />

Smith, J. Douglas. Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics, and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia. Chapel Hill: The University of North<br />

Carolina Press, 2002.<br />

Smith, Peter H. “The Beginning of <strong>Historic</strong> Preservation in <strong>Alexandria</strong> – Moving Toward the Creation of the Old and <strong>Historic</strong> District.” The<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Chronicle, vol. IV (winter 1996).<br />

Smith, William Francis and T. Michael Miller. A Seaport Saga: Portrait of Old <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia. Virginia Beach: The Downing Company<br />

Publishers, 1989, 3rd ed., 2001.<br />

United States Navy Department. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 8 vols. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office,<br />

1964-1980.<br />

United States War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 128 vols.<br />

Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.<br />

Wahll, <strong>An</strong>drew J. Braddock Road Chronicles 1755. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1999.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />



H i s t o r i c p r o f i l e s o f b u s i n e s s e s , o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a n d<br />

f a m i l i e s t h a t h a v e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t<br />

a n d e c o n o m i c b a s e o f A l e x a n d r i a<br />

Wisnewski Blair & Associates, Ltd. ................................................6 6<br />

George Washington Masonic Memorial ............................................7 0<br />

Office of <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong> ........................................................7 3<br />

Advanced Resource Technologies, Inc. .............................................7 4<br />

Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital ............................................................7 6<br />

Virginia Theological Seminary .......................................................7 8<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting & Supply, Inc. ................................................8 0<br />

Systems Planning & <strong>An</strong>alysis, Inc. .................................................8 2<br />

The Nath Law Group ....................................................................8 4<br />

Simpson Development Company, Inc. ..............................................8 6<br />

John M. Barber ...........................................................................8 8<br />

Charles R. Hooff, Inc., Realtors ® ....................................................8 9<br />

Juvenile Detention Commission for Northern Virginia ........................9 0<br />

Roberts United Memorial Methodist Church .....................................9 1<br />

A Tribute to Judge Grenadier .........................................................9 2<br />

Grenadier, <strong>An</strong>derson, Starace & Duffet, P.C. ....................................9 3<br />

HEW Federal Credit Union ...........................................................9 4<br />

T. J. Fannon & Sons .....................................................................9 5<br />



MPR Associates, Inc.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

6 5


BLAIR &<br />


LTD.<br />

❖<br />

Above: A 1.3 million-square-foot secure<br />

campus designed by WBA.<br />

Below: Eisenhower Center III Office<br />

Building and Parking Deck, <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

Virginia. WBA provided master planning,<br />

architecture, space planning, and<br />

construction administration services to<br />

the Simpson Development Company for a<br />

98,000-square-foot, six-story office building<br />

and a 315-space, five-story parking garage<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

66<br />

Wisnewski Blair & Associates, Ltd., an<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>-based design firm, has provided<br />

fully integrated architecture, interior design,<br />

planning and sustainable design for nearly<br />

thirty-five years.<br />

Organized in 1976, Wisnewski Blair &<br />

Associates has grown from completing<br />

mostly local <strong>Alexandria</strong> projects to having a<br />

national presence.<br />

The firm began when Joe Wisnewski, FAIA,<br />

PE, a structural engineer, teamed up with Ray<br />

Lewis, AIA, an architect, to work on local<br />

projects in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The two formed Lewis/<br />

Wisnewski & Associates, Ltd. Luther C. Blair,<br />

Jr., AIA, joined the firm in 1977 and the name<br />

was changed to Wisnewski Blair & Associates<br />

in 1987 when Lewis left the firm. Since the<br />

firm’s inception, Wisnewski has been very<br />

active with the American Institute of Architects<br />

(AIA). He served as a board member as well<br />

as President of the Northern Virginia Chapter;<br />

board member for the Virginia Society AIA;<br />

National AIA Regional Director of the Virginias;<br />

and National AIA Vice President.<br />

Other key individuals in the development<br />

of the firm include Russell D. Embs, AIA, who<br />

joined the firm in 1980 and retired in 2009,<br />

and J. Patrick Halpin, AIA, who came with the<br />

firm in 1984.<br />

Most of WBA’s early work was completed for<br />

private developers and the city of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Much of the firm’s <strong>Alexandria</strong> portfolio has<br />

been within the boundaries of the <strong>Historic</strong><br />

District and much of the early work included<br />

residential townhomes and commercial<br />

townhouse offices for the city of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

The firm also performed work for some<br />

very small clients in the early days. A<br />

legendary figure in the firm’s history is a Mr.<br />

McCants who came into the office one day<br />

and said he needed some work done on his<br />

home. It was a very small house, but Joe<br />

Wisnewski took at look at it, helped the<br />

owner find a contractor, and provided some<br />

suggestions for making the space more<br />

efficient. There was an alley on the side of the<br />

house and, at that time, a common alley could<br />

be used as an entrance to a home. So, the<br />

front entrance was moved to the alley way,<br />

which made the home more efficient by<br />

increasing the useable space in the living area.

Wisnewski recalls that the client came to<br />

the office personally each month to make a<br />

small payment on his account. He had a sheet<br />

that he and Joe would initial with the amount<br />

paid each month until the project was paid<br />

in full.<br />

Architectural specifications in the early<br />

days of WBA were very time and labor<br />

intensive. Specifications had to be hand typed<br />

and to edit the specifications they were<br />

physically cut and pasted, which was much<br />

more efficient than retyping by hand. The first<br />

automated specs utilized IBM punch cards,<br />

which included an entire box of cards. The<br />

IBM cards turned out to be too slow and<br />

cumbersome because they were not<br />

numbered and had to be kept in order and<br />

not mixed up. Veteran employees still<br />

remember the day an administrative assistant<br />

dropped a box of about a thousand IBM cards,<br />

throwing an important project into disarray.<br />

Many of <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s landmark buildings<br />

were designed by WBA, including Towngate,<br />

Roundhouse Square, Lee Street Square, Prince<br />

Street Plaza, Duke Street Square, Village on<br />

the Strand, and King Street Exchange.<br />

The firm’s work for the city of <strong>Alexandria</strong> and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> City Public Schools includes projects<br />

at <strong>Alexandria</strong> City Hall, Casey Clinic, Torpedo<br />

Factory, Lee Center, Friendship Fire House, Fish<br />

Market, Lloyd’s Row, Ramsey House, Cora Kelly<br />

Magnet School and Recreation Center, John<br />

Adams Elementary School, Charles Barrett<br />

Recreation Center, T. C. Williams High School,<br />

and Frances C. Hammond Jr., High School.<br />

“Wisnewski Blair & Associates have had<br />

a positive impact on the city and citizens<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong> through their design, and<br />

the renovation and additions to Lee Center,<br />

Cora Kelly Magnet School, the Cora Kelly<br />

Recreation Center, and the renovation and<br />

additions to Charles Barrett Recreation<br />

Center,” commented <strong>Alexandria</strong> Mayor Kerry<br />

J. Donley in 1997. “The firm is a model for<br />

maintaining quality business.”<br />

Most recently, WBA completed the<br />

Eisenhower Center III Office Building and<br />

Parking Deck for Simpson Development.<br />

Currently, WBA is one of the architects for the<br />

1.7 million square feet BRAC 133 project at<br />

Mark Center.<br />

WBA’s federal government portfolio has<br />

grown over the years from Indefinite Delivery<br />

Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to multibuilding<br />

secure campuses. Specialized<br />

components of these secure projects include<br />

command/operations centers, data centers,<br />

set-back requirements, central plants, visitor’s<br />

centers and SCIF space. <strong>An</strong>ti-terrorism/force<br />

protected design solutions require elements<br />

that ensure the protection of people and<br />

property but do not visually detract from the<br />

site or structure.<br />

WBA was involved in an unusual project at<br />

the White House during the administration of<br />

President Ronald Reagan. <strong>An</strong> area where press<br />

conferences were held had a lot of greenery<br />

and bushes that were being watered so much<br />

it started to leak into the communications<br />

center below.<br />

❖<br />

Above: North Garage Visitor Center, BRAC<br />

133 at Mark Center, <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia.<br />

As part of a team led by Duke Realty, WBA<br />

provided architectural, interior design, and<br />

sustainable design services for BRAC the<br />

1.7-million-square-foot campus. WBA<br />

designed the two parking garages located in<br />

the North and South campuses in addition<br />

to a transportation center and visitor center.<br />

The interior design team is responsible for<br />

space planning and FF&E for public spaces<br />

within the campus.<br />

Below: <strong>An</strong> 880,000-square-foot secure<br />

campus designed by WBA.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

6 7

❖<br />

Top: Towngate Executive Office Center.<br />

The four building office complex located<br />

adjacent to the George Washington Parkway<br />

in North Old Town <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia.<br />

The 220,000-square-foot complex is built<br />

above a three level, 450-car underground<br />

parking garage providing access to all four<br />

buildings. Two of the buildings are owned<br />

and occupied by the National Headquarters<br />

of the Salvation Army.<br />

Above: The lobby of a secure<br />

government facility.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

68<br />

Because the project was in a high profile<br />

area, work could not begin until the<br />

President left town. WBA then had a very<br />

small window of time to manage the<br />

contractor and take out all the grass and<br />

plants and put them to the side while the<br />

waterproofing was repaired. A backhoe<br />

contractor was on stand-by twenty-four<br />

hours a day during the project so the<br />

plantings and grass could be quickly<br />

replaced should the President return early.<br />

Although WBA completes most of its<br />

work in the Virginia, Maryland, West<br />

Virginia, and Washington, D.C. region, its<br />

reputation and skill in designing secure,<br />

force protected buildings has allowed the<br />

firm to compete for and complete projects<br />

nationally and internationally. In the past<br />

five years, WBA has master-planned more<br />

than 12.5 million square feet and designed<br />

eight built-to-suit office buildings ranging from<br />

150,000 to 530,000 square feet.<br />

WBA has been able to weather economic<br />

downturns by having a diverse range of clients,<br />

and concentrating on several key market areas:<br />

Government, R&D, Commercial Development,<br />

and Education. For example, in the 1990s<br />

when there was a downturn in WBA’s work<br />

with private developers and R&D work, the<br />

government sector was strong and kept the<br />

company strong until the private work returned.<br />

The firm had a Verizon contract in the mid<br />

1990s for which it performed more than 2,500<br />

task orders.<br />

By 1978—two years after it was founded—<br />

WBA had completed projects totaling $26<br />

million in construction costs. By 1985, the<br />

firm had grown to twenty-one employees and<br />

the interior design group was organized. By<br />

the late 1980s-early 1990s, the firm had<br />

grown to sixty-eight people. The recession<br />

of the early 1990s reduced the firm to thirtythree<br />

employees, after which it resumed its<br />

growth to its current employment level.<br />

A number of key individuals have been<br />

instrumental in WBA’s growth and development<br />

in recent years. They include:<br />

• Kevin M. Farquhar, AIA, who joined the<br />

firm in 1996 and focuses on technology<br />

projects and secure campus work. He<br />

worked on the firm’s Verizon contract.<br />

• Steven T. Weir, AIA, came to the firm in<br />

1998 and works on airport projects as<br />

well as focusing on architectural interiors<br />

for secure campus work.<br />

• Stephen F. Ours, AIA, joined the firm<br />

in 1992 and concentrates on federal<br />

government projects as a Certified Code<br />

and Building Plan Reviewer.<br />

• Alicia Goldberg, AIA, joined WBA in 1992<br />

and has concentrated on projects for NIH<br />

and the FBI at Quantico.<br />

• Candace N. Hoskins, AIA, came to the firm<br />

in 1985 and works with the Navy and<br />

National Parks Service projects.<br />

• Terry L. Perry, FIIDA, has been with<br />

WBA since 2003 and serves as Director<br />

of Interiors.<br />

Currently, WBA has sixty-five employees<br />

with revenues in excess of $16.7 million<br />

annually. The firm’s core customer base is made<br />

up of private developers (for both private and<br />

government tenants), the federal government<br />

(GSA, FBI, Department of State, U.S. Army<br />

Corps of Engineers, Department of the Navy),<br />

state and local governments (Fairfax County,<br />

Loudoun County, City of <strong>Alexandria</strong>), higher<br />

education (George Mason University, Northern<br />

Virginia Community College), and property<br />

managers (corporate interiors).<br />

The firm has occupied several offices<br />

over the years but has always maintained<br />

its headquarters in Old Town <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

The firm’s current address is 44 Canal<br />

Center Plaza.

Wisnewski Blair & Associates is<br />

ranked among the Top 25 architectural<br />

firms in the Washington metro area by<br />

Washington Business Journal. WBA has<br />

received several awards for its projects<br />

over the years and was recently<br />

honored with two Northern Virginia<br />

NAIOP awards for its Northern Virginia<br />

Resident Agency project: ‘Best Building,<br />

Environmentally Responsible Green<br />

Construction Base Building’ and ‘Best<br />

Building, Institutional Facility Over<br />

$20 Million.’<br />

WBA and its employees contribute<br />

annually to a number of community<br />

organizations such as the Juvenile<br />

Diabetes Research Fund’s <strong>An</strong>nual Real<br />

Estate Games. During this event, more<br />

than 1,700 people from the local commercial<br />

real estate community compete against each<br />

other in an all-day Olympic-style sporting<br />

event. The money raised goes to finding a cure<br />

for juvenile diabetes.<br />

The firm also participates in WeCare,<br />

a national event that unites Boys and<br />

Girls Clubs of America with furniture<br />

manufacturers Geiger and Herman Miller and<br />

local architecture and design firms to provide<br />

holiday parties for children in need. In<br />

addition, employees are involved in the<br />

Salvation Army <strong>An</strong>gels Giving Tree and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s Adopt-A-Family Christmas<br />

program, two programs that allows people to<br />

provide children and seniors in need with<br />

holiday gifts.<br />

WBA is also involved in Canstruction ® ,<br />

organized by the American Institute of<br />

Architects Northern Virginia Chapter.<br />

Canstruction ® is both a design/build<br />

competition and a community service. Design<br />

teams have assembled thousands of cans of food<br />

in order to build their structures and thousands<br />

of Arlington families benefit as the food is<br />

donated to the Arlington Food Assistance<br />

Center, a nonprofit organization providing<br />

supplemental groceries to families in need.<br />

The plan for the future of Wisnewski Blair &<br />

Associates is to grow its core markets and adapt<br />

to the changing environment of the design<br />

industry. For example, the firm has developed a<br />

Sustainable Design practice group and has fully<br />

embraced new rendering technologies and<br />

Building Information Modeling.<br />

The firm realizes that the success of a project<br />

is inherently linked to the clients’ satisfaction. A<br />

key component of WBA’s design philosophy is<br />

to begin by gaining a thorough understanding<br />

of the client’s needs and goals as well as<br />

the external forces driving the project. By<br />

understanding these issues, WBA is able to<br />

develop designs with the knowledge that the<br />

clients’ needs have been addressed and the<br />

impact on the environment has been minimized.<br />

For more information about Wisnewski<br />

Blair & Associates, Ltd., check their website at<br />

www.wba-arch.com.<br />

❖<br />

Above: Village on The Strand, <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

Virginia. One of WBA’s first projects, this<br />

multi-use commercial complex was created<br />

adjacent to the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Waterfront<br />

through the renovation of two warehouses<br />

and the construction of a new commercial<br />

building. The complex houses Chadwick’s<br />

Restaurant, shops and office space.<br />

Below: Mount Vernon Texas Gate,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia. WBA was responsible<br />

for the major renovation of the historic<br />

gateway entrance to George Washington’s<br />

home at Mount Vernon.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

6 9

✧<br />

Above: The statue of George Washington in<br />

Memorial Hall.<br />




Below: Charles Callahan.<br />

GEORGE<br />







H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

70<br />

The Father of Our Country, George<br />

Washington, is honored by numerous<br />

memorials throughout the Washington, D.C.<br />

area. The George Washington Masonic<br />

Memorial in <strong>Alexandria</strong> honors not only<br />

the soldier and statesman, but also George<br />

Washington, the Mason.<br />

Washington’s character was such that from<br />

almost the day he took his Masonic obligations,<br />

he was the same man in private as he was<br />

in public. Throughout his lifetime, in Masonic<br />

terms, he became a “perfect ashlar,” a just and<br />

upright Mason, and a true Master Mason.<br />

Washington was indeed a “living stone”<br />

who remains the cornerstone of American<br />

civilization. He is American Freemasonry’s<br />

“grand exemplar” who countless Freemasons<br />

seek to emulate in their own lodges and in their<br />

own communities.<br />

The concept of a Masonic Memorial to the<br />

first president was initially proposed in the<br />

1850s by Washington’s “mother lodge,”<br />

Fredericksburg Lodge 4. However, creation of<br />

the memorial did not begin until Washington’s<br />

birthday, February 22, 1910 when Freemasons<br />

from throughout the nation gathered in<br />

Old Town <strong>Alexandria</strong> to discuss building a<br />

Masonic Memorial.<br />

Mindful that Washington’s history is<br />

intimately connected with the history of<br />

the nation, these Masonic leaders felt his<br />

membership and involvement in Freemasonry<br />

was an inspiration and should be remembered<br />

for all time.<br />

From that meeting, the George Washington<br />

Masonic Memorial Association was formed.<br />

Thomas J. Shryock, who served as Grand Master<br />

of Maryland for thirty-two years, was chosen as<br />

the first president of the association and his<br />

background in commercial activity, political and<br />

military service and philanthropic dedication<br />

gave the association legitimacy and energy.<br />

Working closely with Shryock was Charles<br />

Callahan of <strong>Alexandria</strong> Washington Lodge 22.<br />

Callahan balanced Shryock’s industry with a<br />

great vision to honor George Washington.<br />

Although never elected president of the<br />

association, Callahan, more than any person,<br />

is the father of the Memorial. It was Callahan<br />

who purchased the first parcels of land<br />

upon which the Memorial was built. It<br />

was Callahan who convinced <strong>Alexandria</strong>-<br />

Washington Lodge to undertake the Memorial<br />

Project while securing the Grand Lodge of<br />

Virginia’s endorsement. The publication of his<br />

1913 book Washington the Man and the Mason<br />

funded the project in its infancy. Today the<br />

Memorial’s address is 101 Callahan Drive;<br />

named in his honor.<br />

Shryock died in 1918 and was succeeded<br />

by Louis A. Watres, past grand master of

Pennsylvania. A successful lawyer and<br />

industrialist in Scranton, Pennsylvania,<br />

Watres commanded a regiment in the<br />

Spanish-American War, was elected county<br />

solicitor, state senator, and lieutenant<br />

governor of Pennsylvania. He was a president<br />

of the Boy Scouts, chairman of the YMCA, and<br />

served on many foundations and boards. It<br />

was Watres who organized the grand lodges,<br />

raised the money, and discovered the talent to<br />

make Callahan’s dreams a reality.<br />

It was Watres who discovered the architect<br />

for the Memorial, Harvey Wiley Corbett of<br />

New York City. Corbett had assisted with<br />

plans for the Brooklyn Masonic Temple and<br />

later designed the Metropolitan Life Insurance<br />

Company building, the Roerich Museum, and<br />

became the principal architect of the famed<br />

Rockefeller Center.<br />

After viewing Schuter’s Hill in <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

Corbett made a quick sketch of a colossal<br />

lighthouse of Freemasonry dedicated to<br />

Washington. Within a few weeks, his sketch<br />

became a formal proposal, which the<br />

Association approved in 1921.<br />

The groundbreaking ceremony for the<br />

George Washington Masonic Memorial took<br />

place on Schuter’s Hill on June 5, 1922.<br />

Despite the memorial’s great expense, the<br />

Association was determined not to borrow for<br />

the project. Construction proceeded as money<br />

was donated by Grand Lodges, lodges, and<br />

individual Masons.<br />

The Memorial’s cornerstone was dedicated in<br />

a Masonic ceremony on November 1, 1923.<br />

President Calvin Coolidge, former President and<br />

Chief Justice William H. Taft, along with other<br />

dignitaries and thousands of Freemasons from<br />

around the nation participated in the ceremony.<br />

The design of the Memorial was inspired<br />

by the lighthouse of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Egypt, one of<br />

the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.<br />

Masonry had been a guiding light to<br />

Washington during the formation of the<br />

nation. The Memorial is the lighthouse of<br />

Freemasonry, spreading the light and<br />

knowledge of Freemasonry to the World.<br />

Freemasons faithfully supported the<br />

project and, for more than a decade, the<br />

Association raised in excess of $350,000 each<br />

year as the Memorial rose higher and higher.<br />

When completed, the Memorial contained<br />

nearly 75,000 tons of cement, gravel, sand,<br />

New Hampshire granite, and steel, in addition<br />

to more than a million feet of lumber and<br />

twenty-five tons of nails.<br />

Even the onset of the Great Depression failed<br />

to slow work on the Memorial. On May 12,<br />

1932, the George Washington Masonic<br />

Memorial was dedicated during the bicentennial<br />

years of Washington’s birth. President Herbert<br />

Hoover was the speaker at the dedication.<br />

Work on the Memorial’s interior began in<br />

earnest following World War II. In 1945,<br />

Shriners International dedicated two large<br />

display rooms. <strong>Alexandria</strong> Washington Lodge<br />

✧<br />

Above: The first meeting of the George<br />

Washington Masonic National Memorial<br />

Association Meeting, 1910.<br />




Below: The exterior of the monument.<br />




S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

7 1

✧<br />

Above: The replica Lodge room.<br />




Below: The 2010 Board of Directors.<br />




opened its Replica Lodge Room to display<br />

many invaluable Washington Masonic<br />

artifacts. The third floor exhibitions were<br />

installed in 1948, well before the elevators<br />

were installed.<br />

On Washington’s birthday in 1950,<br />

President and Past Grand Master of Masons<br />

in Missouri, Harry S. Truman, dedicated the<br />

great bronze Washington statue in Memorial<br />

Hall. The statue of Washington as a Master of<br />

his Lodge is over seventeen feet tall and<br />

weighs more than seven tons. It was sculpted<br />

by Bryant Baker and funded by International<br />

Order of DeMolay for Boys.<br />

Work in the tower began in earnest after<br />

installation of both elevators, which move<br />

horizontally as they move vertically because<br />

of the convergence of the building to the top<br />

floor. The Royal Arch Chapter Room, the<br />

Cryptic Masons’ Room and the Knights<br />

Templar Chapel were completed during the<br />

1950s and 1960s. The Grand Lodge of<br />

Pennsylvania dedicated the sixth floor Louis<br />

A. Watres Library, and, in 1966, the two<br />

Scottish Rite Supreme Councils jointly funded<br />

the fourth floor George Washington Museum.<br />

The last stones of the surrounding skirt<br />

wall were placed in 1972. The Tall Cedars of<br />

Lebanon opened their room on the ninth floor<br />

observation desk in 1984, and the world’s<br />

largest Masonic emblem was dedicated on the<br />

Memorial’s front lawn in 1999.<br />

Today, visitors enter Memorial Hall through<br />

the massive portico, symbolic of the ancient<br />

Greek and Roman temple entrances. On either<br />

side of the portico are engraved tablets from<br />

Washington’s correspondence that reflect his<br />

deep regard for the Masonic Fraternity.<br />

Throughout the nine floors of the Memorial<br />

are many displays and exhibits representing<br />

some of the Appendant Bodies that comprise<br />

the family of Freemasonry. The exhibitions<br />

are designed to educate visitors about<br />

Freemasonry’s self-improvement purpose,<br />

whose members—like those highlighted in<br />

the exhibits—improve themselves as they<br />

improve society.<br />

The George Washington Masonic Memorial<br />

is located at 101 Callahan Drive in <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

and is open daily, except for major holidays,<br />

from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Guided tours are<br />

offered several times daily to the George<br />

Washington Museum on the fourth floor and<br />

the Appendant Body exhibits in the Tower.<br />

The final stop on the tour is the Observation<br />

Deck which provides a panoramic view<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Washington, D.C., and the<br />

surrounding area.<br />

The last decade has witnessed a rededication<br />

to the Association’s original mission. Under<br />

the leadership of Presidents Warren Lichty,<br />

W. Scott Stoner, Michael Brumback and current<br />

President <strong>An</strong>thony Wordlow, the Association<br />

is poised for a second century of service to<br />

the Craft. The Memorial remains a lasting<br />

monument to George Washington the man, the<br />

Mason and the Father of the Nation.<br />

Copyright the George Washington Masonic<br />

Memorial, All Rights Reserved.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


The Office of <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong>: Saving<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s <strong>Historic</strong>al Structures, Artifacts,<br />

and Stories.<br />

On Braddock Road in the early 1950s, the<br />

remains of breastworks and rifle<br />

trenches of Fort Ward, one of the earthen<br />

forts that protected Washington and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> during the Civil War, lay<br />

abandoned and overgrown.<br />

Interest in preserving it began with<br />

individual citizens, as has been typical with<br />

other <strong>Alexandria</strong> historical sites. In 1953, site<br />

neighbors urged the City of <strong>Alexandria</strong> to<br />

purchase the property and restore the fort.<br />

The City agreed, making Fort Ward the first<br />

historic site owned by the City. In 1964, the<br />

restored fort and a Civil War museum opened<br />

to the public.<br />

In 1961, Fort Ward was the site of the<br />

City’s first archaeological investigation. Later,<br />

as a result of citizen interest in preserving<br />

artifacts unearthed by the City’s downtown<br />

urban renewal project, <strong>Alexandria</strong> in 1973<br />

began funding a permanent archaeology<br />

program, soon becoming one of the first<br />

cities in America to employ a full-time<br />

archaeologist. The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Archaeology<br />

Museum now exhibits items chosen from<br />

more than two million artifacts.<br />

In 1969, after very vocal community<br />

action, the City condemned and purchased<br />

its second historical site, The Lyceum,<br />

constructed in 1839 to hold lectures on<br />

scientific and cultural topics and house the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Library Company. Newly<br />

renovated, it re-opened in 1974 as Virginia’s<br />

first Bicentennial Center and became in 1985<br />

the City’s history museum.<br />

In 1972, also in connection with the<br />

bicentennial, American Legion Post #24<br />

turned over to the City Gadsby’s Tavern,<br />

where presidents Washington, John Adams,<br />

Jefferson, and Madison were once lavishly<br />

entertained. It now is operated as a museum<br />

of historic tavern life.<br />

Finding itself in 1982 with different<br />

departments administering different historical<br />

sites, the City created the Office of <strong>Historic</strong><br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> to bring them, plus the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Archives and Records Center, under the<br />

administration of one City office.<br />

Then in 1987, the City placed the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Black <strong>History</strong> Museum under<br />

OHA’s jurisdiction. The museum, established<br />

earlier by the Alumni Association of Parker-<br />

Gray School and the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Society for<br />

the Preservation of Black Heritage, is located<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s first library for African<br />

Americans, built in response to the 1939<br />

effort to integrate a whites-only library by<br />

what may have been the first sitdown<br />

demonstration for civil rights in the<br />

United States.<br />

In 1988 the City acquired the Friendship<br />

Firehouse Museum and its equipment<br />

from the Friendship Fire Company. Most<br />

recently, in 2006, the Landmarks Society of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> turned over the Stabler-Leadbeater<br />

Apothecary Museum to the City. Established<br />

in 1792, the Apothecary operated until 1933<br />

when it closed its doors for the last time.<br />

Much of the original collection, including<br />

elixirs, potions, and blood-letting devices, is<br />

now on display.<br />

Today, OHA’s museums and historical sites<br />

help preserve <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s historical<br />

structures, artifacts, records, and stories for<br />

present and future generations.<br />




✧<br />

Constructed around 1796-1797, Lloyd<br />

House is one of the best examples of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>'s late eighteenth-century<br />

Georgian style. Saved from demolition in<br />

the 1950s, Lloyd House was later acquired<br />

by the <strong>Alexandria</strong> <strong>Historic</strong>al Restoration<br />

and Preservation Commission with funding<br />

from private and public sources. Lloyd<br />

House was extensively restored in 2002-<br />

2007 and became home to the Office of<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong> administration.<br />


S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

7 3




INC.<br />

✧<br />

Above: Horace F. Jones, President and CEO.<br />

Below: The dedicated management and<br />

headquarters staff who have been with the<br />

company for over ten years.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

74<br />

At the age of twenty-five, Horace Jones was<br />

commanding 250 men in combat in Vietnam.<br />

It was an experience that gave him confidence<br />

and taught him responsibility. “The decisions<br />

I had to make put people’s lives in my hands,”<br />

he explains. “After an experience like that,<br />

you have the feeling that anything else life<br />

thrusts at you is secondary.”<br />

While in the military, he received his master’s<br />

and doctorate degrees in education. After<br />

retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel at<br />

age forty-one, Dr. Jones was ready to explore<br />

new career paths. He subsequently held<br />

a number of executive level positions<br />

with several high-tech corporations in the<br />

Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It was<br />

1986 when he mustered the management and<br />

training experience he learned in the Army,<br />

through his education and in corporate America<br />

to found his own firm, Advanced Resource<br />

Technologies, Inc. (ARTI). His wife, Vera, has<br />

been at his side from the beginning and has<br />

played a major role in the development of ARTI.<br />

After winning a number of subcontract<br />

assignments, Dr. Jones applied to the Small<br />

Business Administration (SBA) for his 8(a)<br />

certification, which enables small companies<br />

to compete for government contracts. In 1990,<br />

ARTI won its first prime contract with the<br />

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency<br />

(DARPA). At the time ARTI consisted of only<br />

Dr. Jones and a handful of part-time employees.<br />

A second large contract with the National<br />

Institute on Drug Abuse elevated the company’s<br />

profile and allowed Dr. Jones to add additional<br />

employees. A subsequent contract with DARPA<br />

moved the company into the information<br />

technology arena and facilitated ARTI’s pursuit<br />

of larger contracts.<br />

In 1997 the company graduated from the<br />

SBA’s 8(a) program, and continued to win<br />

business with government and private sector<br />

clients, a somewhat rare feat given that ARTI<br />

now had to compete for contracts with much<br />

larger and established companies. However,<br />

since graduating from the program, ARTI has<br />

infused new ideas, techniques and solutions<br />

into its service offerings to ensure its clients<br />

achieve their business goals and initiatives<br />

in a cost-effective manner. The company<br />

consistently exceeds its clients’ program<br />

objectives and requirements because it not only<br />

cares about their mission, but also because its<br />

employees have adopted their<br />

clients’ mission as their own.<br />

Over the years ARTI has<br />

adapted its service offerings<br />

to meet the ever evolving<br />

mission critical needs of its<br />

clients. The company has set<br />

an impressive record providing<br />

information technology<br />

and security services solutions<br />

at competitive rates to federal<br />

defense and civilian agencies.<br />

Today ARTI’s core competencies<br />

include Information and

network security, IT operations & management;<br />

program management & logistics, and<br />

health information technology.<br />

Dr. Jones’ strategic approach to managing<br />

the growth of ARTI has proven beneficial for<br />

ARTI as well as its clients, who currently include<br />

DARPA, the Department of Homeland Security,<br />

the Department of Justice, the Department of<br />

State, the Office of the Chief Army Reserve,<br />

the National Oceanic and Atmospheric<br />

Administration, the Missile Defense Agency and<br />

the Department of Health and Human Services.<br />

Over the years, ARTI has amassed a number<br />

of awards that attest to the quality of service the<br />

company’s employees consistently deliver. More<br />

notable recent awards include the 2007<br />

DiversityBusiness.com. Top Diversity-Owned<br />

Business of the Year; 2006 UT Battelle Service-<br />

Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business of the<br />

Year; 1997, 2005 Black Enterprise Magazine’s<br />

Top 100 U.S. African American-Owned<br />

Companies; 2005 East Tennessee Technology<br />

Council Navigator Award for Outstanding<br />

Community Service; 2005 The Black E.O.E<br />

Journal’s Top 100 U.S. African American-<br />

Owned Businesses; and the 2001-2003<br />

Minority Business News’ 100 Certificate of<br />

Achievement for Top U.S. Minority Companies.<br />

Additionally, ARTI was the first graduated<br />

8(a) company to win the Department of<br />

Defense (DoD) Nunn-Perry Award for<br />

successfully elevating a small start-up servicedisabled<br />

veteran/woman-owned business to<br />

a higher level of performance excellence<br />

and growth through DoD’s Mentor-Protégé<br />

Program. To this day ARTI continues to mentor<br />

numerous small businesses in order to foster<br />

mutual business relationships and provide<br />

opportunities for subcontracting and increased<br />

professional accomplishments in the future.<br />

Dr. Jones’ unwavering commitment to the<br />

security of the soldiers serving under him<br />

decades ago continues to this day. Today<br />

more than seventy percent of the support<br />

staff at ARTI’s headquarters on King Street<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong> has been with the company<br />

for more than ten years. These are highly<br />

motivated employees with many years<br />

of professional experience and academic<br />

qualifications in a multitude of management<br />

and technical disciplines.<br />

ARTI’s employees are involved in a number of<br />

community and charitable activities, including<br />

the institution of an academic program that<br />

provides high school students in Tennessee with<br />

information and communication technology<br />

experience using Cisco networking systems. In<br />

addition, the company and its employees have<br />

sponsored local sports teams, provided<br />

internships for high school and college students,<br />

mentored new small businesses, and generated<br />

opportunities for hiring former military<br />

personnel. Charitable events supported by the<br />

organization include the annual NOVAUL golf<br />

tournament and community leaders award<br />

dinner, the Toys for Tots campaign of the local<br />

fire department, and Carpenter Shelter for the<br />

Thanksgiving Food Drive.<br />

ARTI, a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned<br />

Small Business, is headquartered at 1555 King<br />

Street in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, with project locations in<br />

Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee,<br />

Virginia, and Washington, D.C.<br />

“The ARTI motto of ‘Teaming for Success’<br />

has never been more evident than it is today,”<br />

says Dr. Jones. “Our dedicated employees,<br />

satisfied customers, and loyal friends have stuck<br />

with us through thick and thin. ‘Teaming for<br />

Success’ at ARTI means teaming internally, with<br />

fellow employees, as well as externally, with<br />

customers, friends and other companies.”<br />

✧<br />

Above: The headquarters reception desk at<br />

1555 King Street.<br />

Below: Advanced Resource Technologies<br />

provides information and network security<br />

solutions for federal and commercial clients.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

7 5

INOVA<br />



H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

76<br />

Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital was founded in<br />

1872 when Julia Jones, fearing a typhoid<br />

epidemic among the crew of a ship in Old<br />

Town <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s harbor, urged friends<br />

at St. Paul’s Church to form an infirmary.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Infirmary, housed in the home of<br />

Dr. Frances Murphy at Duke and Fairfax<br />

Streets, was the second hospital established in<br />

the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the first<br />

hospital in Northern Virginia.<br />

More than 138 years later, Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Hospital continues to provide quality healthcare<br />

to the community and has grown into a<br />

318-bed, not-for-profit hospital offering a full<br />

range of medical services.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Infirmary changed its name to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital in 1902 and, spurred<br />

by lack of space and a growing demand<br />

for healthcare, the hospital moved to a<br />

new building at the corner of Duke and<br />

Washington Streets in 1917.<br />

The facility continued to grow and, in 1946,<br />

was fully approved for residency training<br />

in medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology,<br />

pathology, and radiology.<br />

Ground was broken for the current<br />

Seminary Road location in 1959 and the<br />

hospital moved to its new building in 1962.<br />

President Lyndon B. Johnson was the main<br />

speaker at the dedication. In 1997 the<br />

hospital merged with Inova Health System to<br />

become Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital.<br />

Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital has recorded an<br />

impressive number of ‘firsts’ during its long<br />

history. In 1953, it became the first hospital<br />

on the East Coast to institute the use of<br />

epidural anesthesia in obstetrics. In 1961, it<br />

was the first facility in the nation to staff an<br />

emergency department around the clock with<br />

full-time ER physicians, an approach now<br />

known nationally as the “<strong>Alexandria</strong> Plan.”<br />

In 1977, the hospital became the first in<br />

Northern Virginia to provide a full body<br />

computerized tomography (CAT) scan<br />

unit, and, in 1978, Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

became the first hospital in the<br />

Washington area to offer labor and<br />

delivery rooms where expectant mothers<br />

could labor, deliver, and recover in the<br />

same room.<br />

In addition, the hospital was the first<br />

in Northern Virginia to provide magnetic<br />

resonance imaging (MRI) (1986), and<br />

the first hospital in Northern Virginia<br />

with a one-stop cardiac surgery unit<br />

where patients stay in one unit from<br />

admission to discharge (1988).<br />

In more recent years, Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Hospital became the first in Northern<br />

Virginia to offer brachytherapy treatment<br />

for prostate cancer (1991).

In 2003 the hospital became the first<br />

in the metropolitan area to offer a dedicated<br />

Neurovascular Care Unit, which provides<br />

complete stroke care from diagnosis<br />

to treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing<br />

patient support.<br />

The long list of impressive ‘firsts’<br />

continues, including the distinction of being<br />

the first in the metro area to adopt eICU ®<br />

monitoring system in the Intensive Care Unit<br />

in 2004, and the first hospital in Northern<br />

Virginia to install a Trilogy linear accelerator<br />

to provide image guided radiation therapy for<br />

cancer patients in 2006.<br />

Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital offers a full<br />

range of healthcare services including a cancer<br />

center; cardiovascular and interventional<br />

radiology; cardiac and physical rehabilitation;<br />

diagnostic radiology; occupational health<br />

services; certified stroke center; surgical<br />

services, and a women’s center.<br />

As part of Inova Health System, Northern<br />

Virginia’s leading not-for-profit healthcare<br />

provider, the hospital attracts some of the<br />

country’s top physicians and invests in new<br />

technology and equipment to offer patients<br />

world-class care close to home.<br />

With nearly 2,000 employees, including<br />

650 physicians on staff, Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Hospital serves a customer base that includes<br />

more than 65,000 outpatient visits each year.<br />

Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital and its medical<br />

staff have received numerous awards and<br />

quality distinctions for excellence in patient<br />

care. Many of its physicians have been<br />

recognized by both Washingtonian and<br />

Northern Virginia magazines as “Top Doctors.”<br />

The hospital is certified by The Joint<br />

Commission, an organization that evaluates<br />

hospitals across the country for quality care.<br />

The hospital’s cancer center is accredited<br />

by the American College of Surgeons, a<br />

distinction awarded to only twenty-five<br />

percent of the nation’s hospitals. Inova<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> was one of the first hospitals in<br />

Northern Virginia designated as a Primary<br />

Stroke Center.<br />

The hospital is currently investing more<br />

than $84 million to enhance its emergency,<br />

cardiac, vascular, surgical, and laboratory<br />

services as part of Project 2010. This project<br />

will enhance the hospital’s existing healthcare<br />

services and improve patient access.<br />

Funding for Project 2010 represents the<br />

largest investment of capital into the hospital<br />

since 1972.<br />

As the community’s need for healthcare<br />

continues to grow, Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital<br />

remains dedicated to preserving its tradition<br />

of providing quality health.<br />

For more information about Inova<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital, visit www.inova.org/iah.<br />

✧<br />

Opposite, top: <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital, Duke<br />

and Fairfax Streets, 1873.<br />

Opposite, bottom: <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital,<br />

Duke Street location, 1917-1974.<br />

Left: <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital nurses in the<br />

mid-1890s.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

7 7




H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

78<br />

Founded in 1823 at St. Paul’s Episcopal<br />

Church in Old Town, <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia<br />

Theological Seminary is the largest and strongest<br />

seminary in the <strong>An</strong>glican Communion. Here,<br />

men and women train for ministry worldwide.<br />

Our students include those preparing for<br />

ordination, lay women and men, and clergy<br />

returning for advanced degrees. Side by side,<br />

they seek an understanding of the truth in the<br />

light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.<br />

To meet the desperate<br />

needs in the Episcopal<br />

Church during the early<br />

nineteenth century, a<br />

small group of dedicated<br />

men committed themselves<br />

to the task of training<br />

a new generation of<br />

church leaders. Francis<br />

Scott Key was one of this<br />

group which, in 1818,<br />

formed “<strong>An</strong> Education<br />

Society” and five years<br />

later opened the “School<br />

of Prophets” to become<br />

the Protestant Episcopal<br />

Theological Seminary in<br />

Virginia. When the school<br />

opened in <strong>Alexandria</strong> with<br />

two instructors, fourteen<br />

students were enrolled.<br />

From the beginning, graduates of the<br />

Seminary went out to serve the church and<br />

the world. Drawing students from nearly all<br />

states east of the Mississippi, its students<br />

ministered in states and territories from the<br />

Atlantic to the Pacific. By the time of the Civil<br />

War, the global missionary spirit had led<br />

graduates to open for the Episcopal Church<br />

such mission fields as China, Japan, Liberia,<br />

and Greece.<br />

The Civil War struck a harsh blow to the<br />

Seminary. During the war, the Seminary<br />

continued operations in the Shenandoah<br />

Valley, while the seminary grounds became a<br />

U.S. Army hospital. From March 1862 to<br />

August 1865, the hospital treated thousands<br />

of wounded and ill U.S. Army soldiers as well<br />

as some Confederate States Army prisoners of<br />

war. The bodies of many of those who died at<br />

the hospital were buried on Seminary<br />

grounds, but were later moved to Arlington<br />

National Cemetery. Campus buildings still<br />

bear initials of U.S. Army soldiers inscribed<br />

by them on bricks and walls.<br />

After the war, professors and eleven battleweary<br />

veterans reopened the Seminary on the<br />

war-ravaged campus. By 1923 the Seminary<br />

had regained the resources, the certainty of<br />

full enrollment, and the invested funds which<br />

had characterized the institution in 1860. The<br />

years between 1923 and 1946 saw steady<br />

progress, but the end of World War II marked<br />

the advent of the present era of continuing<br />

expansion and improvements.<br />

The Bishop Payne Divinity School, a<br />

distinguished black institution, was started by<br />

the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1878. It<br />

was named for the Right Reverend John<br />

Payne, an alumnus of the Seminary in the<br />

class of 1836 and the first bishop of Liberia. It<br />

merged with Virginia Theological Seminary<br />

on June 3, 1953.<br />

Today, the Seminary is a thriving<br />

institution, serving more than 250 students<br />

from around the world and offering a range of<br />

programs that support both lay and ordained<br />

ministries in the Church. Degrees offered<br />

include a residential Masters of Divinity; a<br />

two-year Masters of Theological Studies<br />

degree; a Masters of Christian Education<br />

degree; and a Doctor of Ministry degree. In<br />

addition, throughout the year there are special<br />

lectures and programs that are aimed at any<br />

person interested in growing in the faith.<br />

Virginia Seminary believes that the<br />

theological education is greatly enhanced<br />

when done within an ecumenical,<br />

international and cross-cultural context.<br />

Through the Seminary’s Center for <strong>An</strong>glican<br />

Communion Studies, <strong>An</strong>glicans from around<br />

the world are trained. The Seminary is<br />

committed to partnerships around the<br />

Communion that enable us to stay connected<br />

to our brothers and sisters in Christ as we<br />

seek to understand the different contexts out<br />

of which we come, particularly to different<br />

interreligious contexts.<br />

Virginia Seminary also houses the Institute<br />

for Christian Formation and Leadership, a<br />

multifaceted academic program for clergy and<br />

lay people. Through workshops, conferences,

and long- and short-term courses, the<br />

Institute empowers those in ministry to<br />

exercise their gifts with a strong grounding<br />

in theology. The Institute also administers<br />

the Evening School of Theology, a program<br />

open to lay people of all denominations who<br />

wish to deepen their understanding of the<br />

Christian faith and experience.<br />

The Bishop Payne Library, the theological<br />

research center and portal to electronic<br />

databases on campus, draws religious<br />

scholars from the community, the nation, and<br />

the world. As a major resource for the study<br />

of worldwide <strong>An</strong>glicanism, its over 200,000<br />

volumes are particularly rich in the areas of<br />

biblical studies, church history, theology, the<br />

Protestant reformation and denominations,<br />

litergics, and missions. The Archives, on the<br />

lower floor of the Bishop Payne Library,<br />

contain the records of both the Virginia<br />

Theological Seminary and the Bishop Payne<br />

Divinity School and the personal papers<br />

of individuals connected with the two<br />

seminaries. The Archives also curates the<br />

African American Episcopal <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Collection, a joint project with the <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Society of the Episcopal Church, which<br />

documents the experience of African<br />

Americans in the life and ministry of the<br />

Episcopal Church.<br />

In October 2009 the Seminary launched a<br />

self-guided audio tour of the campus and its<br />

history. The tour is open to the public during<br />

normal business hours. For information on<br />

tour hours, please contact Virginia Seminary’s<br />

Welcome Center at 703-370-6600, or visit<br />

our website at www.vts.edu.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

7 9


LIGHTING &<br />

SUPPLY, INC.<br />

✧<br />

Above: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting and Supply<br />

showroom, 1961.<br />

Bottom, left: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting and<br />

Supply counter, 1961.<br />

Bottom, right: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting and<br />

Supply showroom, 1963.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting & Supply, Inc. is a<br />

family-owned and operated business now in<br />

its third generation and will celebrate its<br />

fiftieth anniversary in 2011.<br />

Edward Delman and Irwin Goldberg<br />

teamed up to create <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting &<br />

Supply in May 1961. Edward had worked for<br />

electrical wholesalers in the District and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> and met Irwin, who was a lighting<br />

salesman at the time. The two opened for<br />

business in the Powhatan Shopping Center<br />

and moved to the company’s present location<br />

at 701 North Henry Street in 1963. Edward’s<br />

wife, Edith, served as bookkeeper for the<br />

business. The three operated the business for<br />

three years before hiring their first employee.<br />

The original windows in the company’s<br />

present location were beautiful plate glass<br />

designed to accentuate the showroom.<br />

Although both Edward and Irwin stood<br />

watch, the windows were damaged during the<br />

riots of 1968. They were then replaced with<br />

smoky Plexiglas for protection. Clear glass<br />

was put back into the showroom windows<br />

during a general facelift in the mid 1990s.<br />

The second generation of leadership,<br />

Edward’s son, Eric, entered the business in<br />

1979. Edward’s daughter, Ellen, joined the<br />

firm two years later in 1981. The firm<br />

welcomed the third generation in 2008<br />

when Eric’s son, Sam, entered the business.<br />

Eric currently serves as president of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting & Supply and Ellen as<br />

secretary/treasurer.<br />

During the 1980s and 1990s, the “Electric<br />

Deli” became a trademark of the business.<br />

The term evolved from a buffet held at the<br />

business every Saturday. Regular clients made<br />

a point of doing their buying on Saturdays<br />

when they were assured of being treated to<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


coffee, bagels and Danishes. Samuel Delman,<br />

Edward’s father, who lived within walking<br />

distance of the shop, came by every Saturday<br />

to enjoy the food and the customer’s company.<br />

“We do everything electrical,” Eric told a<br />

reporter during the firm’s fortieth anniversary<br />

celebration. “We provide the finest products and<br />

services for contractors, homeowners, property<br />

managers, commercial, and government<br />

customers.” The company was involved with<br />

lighting solutions in the White House.<br />

“We are known for our service,” Eric<br />

continued. Customers return frequently for<br />

the knowledgeable sales staff, hard to find<br />

items and to browse the wide range of lighting<br />

fixtures in the showroom.<br />

Homeowners can always find great deals on<br />

products to enhance their home and lifestyle<br />

at <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting. From dimming<br />

systems to low voltage, recessed, track, and<br />

outdoor lighting, customers can depend on<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting for the widest range of<br />

home improvement items. <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting<br />

also repairs all types of lamps on the premises.<br />

Various U.S. government agencies make<br />

up a large portion of <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting’s<br />

business, along with local municipalities<br />

such as the City of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Fairfax<br />

County, Prince William County, Prince<br />

George’s County and Arlington County.<br />

Now that the company is nearing its fiftieth<br />

anniversary, the management’s business plan<br />

is to stay small, manageable and competitive.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting has maintained a profit<br />

sharing plan from its inception and plans to<br />

continue sharing profits with its employees.<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting’s employees believe<br />

strongly in giving back to their community and<br />

are involved in a number of charitable organizations,<br />

including Children’s National Medical<br />

Center, Browne Academy, Good Shepherd<br />

Housing and United Community Ministries.<br />

For additional information about <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Lighting & Supply, Inc., check their website<br />

at www.alexandrialighting.com or visit their<br />

showroom at 701 North Henry Street in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia.<br />

✧<br />

Above: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting and Supply<br />

showroom, 2001.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

8 1




✧<br />

Right: SPA employee Jamie Bixler.<br />

Bottom: Phillip Lantz is interviewed about<br />

his government contractor experience for a<br />

local radio program.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

82<br />

Systems Planning and <strong>An</strong>alysis, Inc. (SPA),<br />

founded in 1972, contributes to national<br />

security decisions, which are important to the<br />

nation. SPA provides decision support to key<br />

leaders throughout the Departments of Defense,<br />

Homeland Security, and Energy.<br />

Through objective analysis and<br />

assessments, SPA looks at issues from a<br />

technical, operational, programmatic, policy<br />

and business perspective. For more than three<br />

decades, SPA has provided workable, timely,<br />

and affordable solutions to complex<br />

issues. SPA’s support includes executive<br />

decision support, systems engineering,<br />

operations analysis, and acquisition support.<br />

The company’s work primarily supports<br />

government leaders with expertise in strategic<br />

deterrence, nuclear weapons security and safety,<br />

unmanned systems, surface warfare and missile<br />

defense, undersea warfare, air warfare, war game<br />

development and execution, critical infrastructure<br />

protection, and financial management<br />

and program management support.<br />

SPA was founded by Phillip E. Lantz, who<br />

grew up in Wyoming and became a submarine<br />

officer in the U.S. Navy. After finishing his tour<br />

with the Navy, Lantz and his wife, Paula, came<br />

to the Washington, D.C. area in 1965.<br />

Lantz worked in positions of increasing<br />

responsibility at two technical organizations.<br />

Then, in 1970, he had what he calls, “an<br />

amazing opportunity to work on a challenging,<br />

important decision for the nation. It changed<br />

my professional life and was the basis for<br />

founding this company and the culture we still<br />

live by today.”<br />

He founded SPA with only three people<br />

and an objective to “perform interesting work<br />

that impacts important decisions.” That<br />

objective still guides the company today.<br />

Because of his desire to build the business on<br />

principle and integrity first, with profits being<br />

a result–rather than the driving force of the<br />

company, many people ask him, “Phil, what<br />

do you plan to do next?” SPA’s success has<br />

meant he never had to find out.<br />

SPA has grown, without ever having acquired<br />

another company, from the initial three<br />

employees to more than 500, including 330 in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. In addition to the headquarters at<br />

2001 North Beauregard Street in <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

SPA has locations in Crystal City, M Street in<br />

Washington, Norfolk, and San Diego. SPA is also<br />

located on the Internet at www.spa.com.<br />

SPA was founded to work with the U.S.<br />

Navy on nuclear weapons programs. The<br />

company soon expanded into other agencies<br />

with the Department of Defense and today<br />

works with every service within DoD, and<br />

with the Coast Guard. After 9/11, SPA had an<br />

opportunity to help the Department of<br />

Homeland Security with the challenges it<br />

faces. The company still works with<br />

Homeland Security today and more recently<br />

began work with the Department of Energy.<br />

In an interview with Executive Spotlight,<br />

Lantz emphasized the company’s focus on<br />

quality, rather than quantity of work. “Our<br />

reputation is built on the quality of our work,”

he said. “Our clients are senior leaders in their<br />

fields, and over the years we have earned<br />

positions of trust with them. They trust us to<br />

give us their toughest problems and they rely<br />

on our answers; they rely on our integrity. Our<br />

belief has always been that doing good work<br />

gets us more work. Each year, our work<br />

increases and our growth continues.”<br />

The company hires people based on their<br />

experience and capabilities, and also pays<br />

particular attention to their commitment to the<br />

type of work SPA does. “The work that we do is<br />

not for everyone,” said Lantz. “But for those who<br />

have a desire to work on issues of great importance<br />

to our country, the work itself is motivating<br />

and rewarding.” SPA understands that a highquality<br />

staff is the key to the company’s success.<br />

A well-known phrase at SPA is that “our<br />

most valuable assets go home every night.” The<br />

company works hard to maintain a peoplecentered<br />

culture that provides employees<br />

with a professional work environment, strong<br />

compensation and benefits packages, and<br />

opportunity for individual initiative. Its efforts<br />

were validated in 2008, 2009 and 2010 by the<br />

Washington Business Journal, which selected<br />

SPA as one of the “50 Best Places to Work in<br />

Washington.” In 2009, Washingtonian Magazine<br />

also placed SPA on its “Great Places to Work” list.<br />

These recognitions are especially meaningful<br />

because they are based on employee surveys.<br />

The commitment of SPA employees does not<br />

end on the job. Their hard work and passion<br />

also extends to the community through<br />

involvement in schools, food drives, fundraising<br />

events, and other community activities.<br />

As an example, SPA holds a backpack and<br />

school supply drive each year to help<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> students begin the school year<br />

right. A recent SPA food drive for a local food<br />

bank netted 593 pounds of food that fed 293<br />

families. SPA employees use their experience<br />

each year as volunteer judges for the<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> City Schools Science Fair. The<br />

company also participates in the Marine Corps<br />

Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army Share the<br />

Warmth coat drive, with more than 200 coats<br />

and toys donated in one year. More than forty<br />

sets of sweatpants and sweatshirts were<br />

collected for Wounded Warriors recovering at<br />

Walter Reed Medical Center. Each event is<br />

employee-initiated and led, and is proof of the<br />

caring people SPA employs.<br />

SPA also makes monetary contributions to<br />

organizations like the American Red Cross,<br />

the American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s<br />

Association, St. Jude Children’s Hospital,<br />

Community Hospice foundation, and<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Campagna Center. Quarterly<br />

American Red Cross blood drives are held onsite<br />

at SPA headquarters, and the company<br />

sponsors an employee team annually for<br />

the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.<br />

SPA employees also “adopt” local families<br />

who need assistance during the holidays.<br />

As SPA completes its thirty-eighth year in<br />

business, the company remains a strong,<br />

growing and thriving part of the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

landscape and contributor to the national<br />

security of our nation.<br />

✧<br />

Above: SPA employees John Reagoso, Kevin<br />

Morrissey, and Jenny <strong>An</strong>derson Peoples<br />

discuss a project.<br />

Below: SPA is a “people place.”<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

8 3

THE NATH<br />


✧<br />

Below: The Partners of The Nath<br />

Law Group.<br />

Bottom: A drawing of The Nath Law<br />

Group’s building located in<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

84<br />

The Nath Law Group is a boutique<br />

intellectual property law firm with primary<br />

offices located in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. The Nath Law<br />

Group strives to provide a business approach<br />

to its client’s global intellectual property<br />

(IP) and transactional legal needs. The<br />

firm specializes in patent and trademark<br />

prosecution, licensing and enforcement and<br />

has strong expertise in filing and prosecuting<br />

domestic and foreign origin applications before<br />

the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The<br />

firm’s scientific expertise spans all technical<br />

disciplines with particular emphasis on<br />

chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology,<br />

electrical and mechanical inventions.<br />

The Nath Law Group also offers corporate<br />

transactional services across a wide range of legal<br />

issues that can arise during the lifecycle of a<br />

business. These areas include corporate formation<br />

and structuring, mergers and acquisitions,<br />

corporate compliance, licensing and other contractual<br />

issues, dispute resolution, and employee<br />

and key executive incentive packages. The firm’s<br />

corporate transactional practice compliments its<br />

IP practice effectively and seamlessly.<br />

The firm was founded in 1993 by Gary M.<br />

Nath, who became a lawyer after a career as a<br />

scientist. He completed degrees in biology and<br />

chemistry at Rider University and then began<br />

studying for a Ph.D. in biochemistry from<br />

Temple University before deciding on a career<br />

in law. “I didn’t even know what patents were,<br />

I just knew I preferred not to work in a science<br />

lab,” Nath says.<br />

Nath started his patent career as a patent<br />

examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark<br />

Office while attending law school in the<br />

evening. He earned his law degree from<br />

Washington College of Law at American<br />

University. From there, he gained experience as<br />

Patent Council for three Fortune 500 companies<br />

and honed his entrepreneurial skills as a<br />

founding member of more than ten start-up<br />

companies before forming his own firm.<br />

The Nath Law Group, formerly known as<br />

Nath & Associates, began as a result of Nath’s<br />

many years of corporate practice plus a desire<br />

to be a business owner. The market niche he<br />

selected was based on a boutique practice<br />

focused on patent, trademark, copyright,<br />

licensing, and enforcement matters while taking<br />

a business approach to handling clients’ work,<br />

specifically how a business can grow using their<br />

intellectual property rights.<br />

The firm opened in Washington, D.C. with<br />

only three people but increased to five after the<br />

first full week of operations. At first, the phone<br />

system did not accommodate rolling calls and<br />

some recall that all five employees had to run<br />

through the office trying to answer the phone.<br />

Only one phone would ring, but no one knew<br />

which phone it would be.<br />

Nath was soon joined by Irvin Lavine and<br />

Donald Sandler, each a former managing partner<br />

of law firms highly respected throughout the IP<br />

community. Lavine had worked for the second<br />

oldest IP firm in the nation, an organization that<br />

dates from the Civil War and counted Robert E.<br />

Lee among its trademark clients.

As the firm grew, it leased additional office<br />

space in available suites on several different<br />

floors of a downtown Washington building.<br />

Growth was rapid, and several interns were<br />

hired and sent to various suites to work. After a<br />

while, management realized that several of the<br />

interns were sharing office furniture over<br />

the course of a day, a problem that was soon<br />

corrected. One of those interns sharing furniture<br />

was Joshua Goldberg, who is now the partner in<br />

charge of the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and<br />

Biotechnology Department, and the managing<br />

partner of the firm’s Research Triangle Park office<br />

in North Carolina.<br />

The Nath Law Group is recognized<br />

internationally for its highly professional legal<br />

standards and ethics. Since 1999, the firm has<br />

been included in the Martindale-Hubbard Bar<br />

Register of Preeminent Lawyers and has the<br />

highest possible Peer Review Rating in legal<br />

ability and ethical standards. Intellectual Property<br />

Today, a patent trade publication, annually<br />

recognizes Nath Law Group as one of the top<br />

U.S. patent law firms.<br />

The firm’s diverse client mix consists of<br />

U.S., European, Middle Eastern, and Asian<br />

multinational institutions, small businesses,<br />

individual inventors and start-ups. In addition to<br />

being extremely client focused and having a very<br />

cost effective approach to performing IP legal<br />

work, the Nath Law Group maintains a client<br />

base with close affiliations in more than 130<br />

countries. However, the firm maintains more<br />

than fifty percent of a U.S. client base model.<br />

Looking to the future, Nath believes firms<br />

specializing in IP will be judged more on quality<br />

than quantity. In a cover story in the magazine IP<br />

Review, Nath noted that, “In most law practices,<br />

the focus is on billing hours and the bottom line.<br />

But these days, IP litigation is rarely a costeffective<br />

route. Attorneys should be working<br />

with clients to provide better insight into how<br />

their IP strategy fits in with the overall business<br />

strategy, so they can avoid costly court fees.”<br />

The Nath Law Group includes more than<br />

fifty U.S. employees with primary offices<br />

located at 112 South West Street in Old Town<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. Other offices are located in the San<br />

Diego, California and Research Triangle Park,<br />

North Carolina areas.<br />

Members of the firm contribute to many<br />

local and national charitable organizations and<br />

are involved in many professional associations,<br />

serving in leadership and management<br />

capacities. A number of professional employees<br />

maintain active military reserve status and the<br />

firm encourages all its members to be active<br />

participants in community outreach activities.<br />

For more information about The Nath Law<br />

Group, please visit www.nathlaw.com.<br />

✧<br />

Above: The <strong>Alexandria</strong> Office Partners are<br />

“thumbs up.”<br />

Below: The staff and partners of The Nath<br />

Law Group.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

8 5

✧<br />

Emmanuel Episcopal Church.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

86<br />




Simpson Development Company’s rich<br />

history began more than seventy-five years<br />

ago when the five Simpson brothers—all<br />

bricklayers—began providing masonry specialty<br />

construction services in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Today, Simpson Development Company is<br />

a highly respected commercial real estate<br />

developer, general contractor and construction<br />

management firm. In addition, Simpson<br />

Properties, Ltd. is a full-service commercial<br />

real estate property management firm<br />

specializing in commercial leasing, and<br />

property management services.<br />

The year was 1933—the depths of the<br />

Depression—when the five Simpson brothers<br />

founded Simpson Brothers Construction<br />

Company. This firm grew to become Eugene<br />

Simpson & Brother, Inc., General Contractors,<br />

in the early 1940s.<br />

During World War II, the firm was involved<br />

in the construction of several major military<br />

installations, including Quantico Marine Base,<br />

Fort Belvoir, <strong>An</strong>drews Air Force Base, Belleview<br />

Naval Station, and Walter Reed Hospital.<br />

With the explosion of residential construction<br />

following the war, the company constructed<br />

more than forty schools in Fairfax County,<br />

Arlington County and the city of <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

During this period of expansion, the<br />

company constructed numerous national<br />

headquarters, professional and other office<br />

buildings, schools and public buildings, and<br />

industrial projects throughout Northern<br />

Virginia, including more than 100 buildings in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. Some of the notable projects<br />

included <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital, United Way of<br />

America Headquarters, Market Square,<br />

addition to City Hall, and renovations to<br />

historic Christ Church.<br />

During the 1960s, commercial business<br />

was declining in the lower King Street area and<br />

the city of <strong>Alexandria</strong> adopted the Gadsby Urban<br />

Renewal Project to redevelop the old commercial<br />

properties along the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of<br />

King Street. Simpson Construction was selected<br />

to complete the redevelopment and construction<br />

of projects that included: the City’s Market<br />

Square and Underground Parking Structure,<br />

Kay Office Building, Tavern Square Office and<br />

Retail, Bankers Square Office, 1st and Citizen’s<br />

National Bank, and the City Courthouse.<br />

The ten year Old Town revitalization<br />

project included approximately 825,000<br />

square feet of new office and retail space with<br />

underground parking.<br />

Starting in the early 1950s, as funds were<br />

available over a thirty year period, the firm<br />

completed the interior build-out of the ten<br />

memorial floors of the George Washington<br />

Masonic National Memorial.<br />

Simpson Construction Company was also<br />

instrumental in transforming the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

waterfront. From the 1800s until the early<br />

1970s, the city’s waterfront was predominantly<br />

industrial with shipbuilding, shipping,<br />

manufacturing and warehouses dominating<br />

the area. Major oil companies, including Shell,<br />

Texaco, ESSO, AMOCO, and Getty Oil,<br />

operated oil and gasoline storage tanks along<br />

the waterfront, receiving oil products from<br />

barges and trucking the products to Northern<br />

Virginia and Washington area dealers.<br />

Simpson Construction Company helped<br />

transform the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Waterfront from industrial<br />

to mixed-use properties by completing such<br />

projects as the four-building TransPotomac Plaza<br />

Office Complex, the twelve story Crown Plaza

Hotel, Waterfront Office Building, United Way<br />

of America National Headquarters, Madison<br />

Office Building, Torpedo Factory Art Center<br />

renovations, Village on the Strand retail center,<br />

and Robinson Duke Street Warehouses.<br />

Simpson family principals involved in<br />

Eugene Simpson & Brother, Inc. included<br />

Eugene Simpson, Clarence Simpson, and<br />

Donald F. Simpson, Sr., Key principals in the<br />

Development and Property Management firm<br />

were Donald F. Simpson, Sr., and Donald F.<br />

Simpson. Jr., Lawrence Kahan, and Mel Fortney.<br />

In 1982 the Simpson family interests sold<br />

the Eugene Simpson & Brother, Inc. general<br />

contracting operation to Centex Construction<br />

Company of Dallas, Texas. This firm continued<br />

general contracting projects throughout the<br />

Washington metropolitan area.<br />

Today, Simpson continues its history with a<br />

staff of twenty-five committed real estate<br />

professionals serving more than 300 clients in<br />

the Northern Virginia area and managing<br />

more than $25 million in annual revenues,<br />

and 1.3 million square feet of commercial<br />

space. The company continues to experience<br />

steady annual growth and expects an increase<br />

in both its revenue stream and client base<br />

over the next few years.<br />

The company maintains its headquarters in<br />

the Carlyle area at 2331 Mill Road, in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

The Simpson family has been involved in<br />

local community affairs for more than seventyfive<br />

years. In 1953, Simpson, with support of<br />

local businesses and sponsors, donated labor,<br />

materials, and funds to construct the Eugene<br />

Simpson Little League Stadium in partnership<br />

with the city of <strong>Alexandria</strong>, which provided<br />

the Monroe Avenue property.<br />

Over the past fifty-seven years, the Little<br />

League baseball park has been an inspiration<br />

to the community and the thousands of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> youth who have played there.<br />

When relationships are built, something good<br />

will come. The Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame<br />

pitcher Bob Feller threw out the first pitch at<br />

dedication of the stadium in 1953 and<br />

returned in 2003 to celebrate the fiftieth<br />

anniversary of the League.<br />

Throughout its long history, the company has<br />

built relationships as a foundation for the future.<br />

The Simpson philosophy has been that when<br />

you help the community, not only do you help<br />

yourself, your family, and your business; you<br />

build a strong foundation for future generations.<br />

For three generations, the company principals<br />

have devoted their efforts to such organizations<br />

as the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Chamber of Commerce,<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Rotary Club, the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Economic Development Partnership, Salvation<br />

Army, <strong>Alexandria</strong> Little League, Goodwin House<br />

Foundation, Scholarship Fund of <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

Friendship Veterans Fire Association, Eisenhower<br />

Public/Private Partnership, <strong>Alexandria</strong> City Public<br />

Schools, and many others.<br />

The Simpson family is proud to have participated<br />

in the industrial and commercial growth<br />

of <strong>Alexandria</strong> and the Washington metropolitan<br />

area for more than seventy-five years.<br />

✧<br />

Above: <strong>Alexandria</strong> Little Major League,<br />

June 1953. More than a thousand<br />

fans watched the dedication of Eugene<br />

Simpson Stadium.<br />

Bottom, left: TransPotomac Plaza, 1981.<br />

Simpson constructed four office buildings on<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Waterfront.<br />

Bottom, right: City Market Square and<br />

Gadsby Urban Renewal, 1965-1972,<br />

constructed by Simpson in Old Town.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

8 7


✧<br />

Above: Reaching for the Finish—<br />

Hampton sloops racing on the<br />

lower Chesapeake.<br />

Below: Tilghman Island Sunset—The<br />

Skipjack Hilda M. Willing returning home.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

88<br />

Nationally known maritime artist, John M.<br />

Barber, has painted the vanishing beauty of the<br />

Chesapeake Bay for over thirty years. He first<br />

experienced the bay during the late 1960s and<br />

eventually he and his family owned property<br />

and boats there while enjoying the bays many<br />

treasures. It became the artist’s mission to capture<br />

on canvas the sublime beauty of this, our<br />

country’s most valuable and threatened estuary.<br />

He is most known for his paintings of the<br />

oyster dredging Chesapeake Skipjack, the last<br />

remaining fishing vessels to work under sail on<br />

North American waters. They were once plentiful<br />

on the bay but now these graceful, wooden<br />

sailing boats have dwindled to<br />

about one half dozen. Among<br />

his other subjects are lighthouses,<br />

harbors and other<br />

traditional vessels used by the<br />

bay’s watermen as well as<br />

recreational sailing vessels. He<br />

also paints on location when<br />

he travels to such areas as<br />

Northwest Untied States, New<br />

England, the Caribbean, Italy<br />

and France.<br />

As an active member of the<br />

Chesapeake Bay Foundation<br />

and other regional environmental<br />

organizations, the<br />

artist has donated artwork<br />

and copyrights which have<br />

raised nearly a half-million<br />

dollars for the benefit of<br />

these groups endeavoring to<br />

preserve the Chesapeake Bay. Barber is a<br />

Charter Member of the American Society of<br />

Marine Artists and currently holds the title of<br />

Fellow within the Society.<br />

Throughout these three decades the artist<br />

has been recognized for his achievements by<br />

organizations such as: the White House,<br />

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Izaak<br />

Walton League, National Maritime <strong>Historic</strong>al<br />

Society and the Virginians of Maryland.<br />

Barber has created original paintings for<br />

the U.S. Presidential Administrations of<br />

Reagan and Clinton as well as for the<br />

American Battle Monuments Commission by<br />

doing the official painting of the WWII<br />

Memorial located on the National Mall in<br />

Washington, D.C. One highlight of his career<br />

was sailing with the late national news anchor<br />

Walter Cronkite from <strong>An</strong>napolis, Maryland to<br />

Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts<br />

where he painted Captain Cronkite’s sailing<br />

yacht Wyntje. These are but a few of the<br />

clients with whom the artist has worked.<br />

Over the years he has created nearly 1,000<br />

works of original art with 136 of these<br />

paintings being published as limited edition<br />

prints, many of which are available in galleries<br />

nationwide. Most of the artist’s works today are<br />

custom paintings created in collaboration with<br />

the client—realizing their dreams on canvas.<br />

For more information contact John M. Barber<br />

located at 10404 Patterson Avenue, Suite 205<br />

in Richmond, Virginia 23238; 804-269-3025;<br />

on the Internet at www.johnbarberart.com; or<br />

email johnmortonbarber@gmail.com.

For more than eighty years Charles R.<br />

Hooff, Inc. has offered its clients sound and<br />

highly skilled real estate advice while playing<br />

an instrumental role in the preservation of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>’s structures.<br />

The company was founded in 1929 by<br />

Mrs. Charles R. Hooff, Sr., formerly Sarah<br />

Carlyle Fairfax Herbert. The Hooff sons, John<br />

C. H. Hooff and Charles R. Hooff, Jr., took<br />

over the family business after their return<br />

from service in World War II. Charles R.<br />

Hooff III followed in their footsteps and<br />

became the principal broker and director of<br />

the company in 1989.<br />

The direction of the firm has changed over<br />

the years, and today is oriented as a property<br />

management firm and real property asset management.<br />

Hooff feels it is imperative that<br />

investors and absentee owners employ a professional<br />

management firm to oversee their<br />

property to preserve the assets value and insulate<br />

the owners from the anxiety of property<br />

management. The property management services<br />

offered by the company include establishing<br />

a fair market rental value for the property,<br />

advertising properties for rent, and screening<br />

and procuring quality tenants. In addition, the<br />

firm assures that mortgages, taxes and insurance<br />

payments are made in a timely manner,<br />

schedules all maintenance for the property and<br />

inspects the property on a regular basis. The<br />

company provides accurate monthly statements<br />

of transactions and a complete annual<br />

summary for tax filing. Additionally, the property<br />

manager is available twenty-four hours a<br />

day by phone, e-mail, or fax for emergency<br />

services. The company is committed to providing<br />

the finest in professional management<br />

services to the owner as well as the tenant.<br />

In the 1920s, Mrs. Hooff was concerned<br />

that <strong>Alexandria</strong>’s fine historic fifteenth to nineteenth<br />

century homes would disappear unless<br />

someone took an active role in preserving and<br />

in some cases restoring them. Assuming that<br />

leadership role, <strong>Historic</strong> Captain’s Row—the<br />

100 block of Prince Street—became the initial<br />

focus of her preservation activities together<br />

with other motivated citizens including the<br />

architect of the Capitol. She organized a<br />

method of marketing the restored homes and<br />

in one case sold the interior of a ballroom to<br />


finance the restoration of the building.<br />

In time others recognized the value of<br />

historic structures and a preservation<br />

order was passed by the city of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. In the pre-war period Mrs.<br />

Hooff was instrumental in bringing<br />

the Edward R. Carr firm, a well established<br />

Washington developer, over<br />

from Washington to develop a new<br />

and modest project known as Yates<br />

Gardens. This love of historic structures<br />

was not lost on her son, Charles,<br />

who arranged to have the beautiful<br />

Lloyd House purchased from the owners<br />

the night before the demolition<br />

was to commence.<br />

In 1951, Charles R. Hooff, Inc.<br />

moved from 216 Prince Street into<br />

the Bruin House at 1707 Duke Street,<br />

a house that had been owned by<br />

Joseph Bruin and used as a ‘slave jail’<br />

or holding facility until the Civil War.<br />

The Bruin’s Slave Jail was opened in<br />

1843 and was a dominant slave<br />

dealer by 1847, and continued until<br />

closed by the U.S. Marshalls office<br />

during the war.<br />

The company defended the building<br />

against modification and destruction when<br />

the City Planning Director suggested to<br />

interested developers the building could be<br />

removed. In 1999, Ruth Lincoln Kay, an<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> historian, was commissioned to<br />

research the history of 1707 Duke Street and<br />

attempt to have the building added to the<br />

Virginia Landmarks Register. The building<br />

was entered in the National Register of<br />

<strong>Historic</strong> Places by the U.S. Department of the<br />

Interior, National Park Service, on August 14,<br />

2000 because of its historic occupants—the<br />

Edmonson Sisters. Today the Bruin House<br />

is the only nineteenth century building<br />

remaining in the King Street market area.<br />

The goal of Charles R. Hooff, Inc. is to<br />

continue providing professional, personal,<br />

and, above all, superior service to all its real<br />

estate clients and customers in the Northern<br />

Virginia market area.<br />

✧<br />

Clockwise, starting from the top:<br />

Sarah Carlyle Fairfax Herbert Hooff.<br />

Charles R. Hooff III.<br />

Bruin House, the home of Charles R. Hooff,<br />

Inc., since 1954.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

8 9

✧<br />

Top: Northern Virginia Juvenile<br />

Detention Home.<br />

Above: Sheltercare.<br />



The Juvenile Detention Commission for<br />

Northern Virginia was founded in 1956 to house<br />

youth who failed to show up for court appearances<br />

and to provide public safety for youth<br />

who were considered a threat to the community.<br />

The Commission was organized by the<br />

participating jurisdictions of Arlington and<br />

Fairfax Counties and the cities of <strong>Alexandria</strong> and<br />

Falls Church. It is a political subdivision of the<br />

Commonwealth of Virginia and manages the<br />

Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Home and<br />

the Sheltercare Program of Northern Virginia.<br />

The Commission operates the Northern<br />

Virginia Juvenile Detention Home (NVJDH) is<br />

a secure sixty bed, coeducational institution<br />

for adolescents who are being held for<br />

the juvenile courts of Northern Virginia. The<br />

institution’s goal is to begin the process of<br />

rehabilitation and lay the foundation for later<br />

treatment. Adolescents in the program receive<br />

a constructive and satisfying program of<br />

indoor and outdoor activities, as well as<br />

guidance to help them understand themselves<br />

and come to grip with their problems. Youth<br />

in the program are screened for undetected<br />

problems with physical and mental health.<br />

The New Beginning’s program is a secure,<br />

coeducational community based program<br />

designed to provide secure confinement for<br />

youth aged fourteen to seventeen. The six<br />

month program is for adjudicated youth who<br />

receive care in a therapeutic environment.<br />

Youth entering the program have clear, stated<br />

objectives that must be met in order to<br />

successfully complete the program. These<br />

programs include care custody, educational,<br />

medical, recreational, casework, emergency<br />

psychiatric intervention, life skills, and various<br />

other volunteer programs.<br />

The Juvenile Detention Commission also<br />

operates the Sheltercare Program of Northern<br />

Virginia, which provides much needed services<br />

to many at-risk adolescents in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Many of the children in the program have issues<br />

that include dysfunctional home environments,<br />

substance abuse, truancy, homelessness, out-ofcontrol<br />

behavior, probation violations, mental<br />

health issues, and behavioral problems at<br />

school and in the home.<br />

When placed in Sheltercare, the youth<br />

are provided a safe, secure and structured<br />

environment and are provided their basic<br />

needs, including food and shelter. Counselors<br />

develop individualized service plans for each<br />

of the youngsters. For many of the adolescents,<br />

this entails building life skills including<br />

decision making, impulse control, leadership,<br />

conflict resolution, anger management, and<br />

communications skills. In group sessions,<br />

they may receive education in such areas as<br />

substance abuse or HIV/STDs.<br />

The Sheltercare program provides hundreds<br />

of adolescents with quality care and services<br />

and the organizations continued growth<br />

within the community is vital for the positive<br />

growth of many youth in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

Through its secure detention, New<br />

Beginnings program and Sheltercare, the<br />

Juvenile Detention Commission for Northern<br />

Virginia is carrying out its stated mission: “To<br />

create through good example, policy, programs<br />

and environment, a safe and secure setting that<br />

advocates good mental and physical health and<br />

successful academic achievement.”<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />


Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church<br />

traces its roots to 1832, when the church was<br />

founded by members of Trinity ME Church in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> upon the request of African American<br />

members of the Trinity congregation. Those<br />

members were Francis Hoy, James Evans, Philip<br />

Hamilton, Simon Turley, and Moses Hepburn.<br />

As far back as 1775, African American<br />

members of Trinity and their friends, who were<br />

forced to worship in the galleries, had been<br />

interested in the Methodist doctrines of John<br />

Wesley, particularly since Reverend Wesley was<br />

opposed to the enslavement of human beings.<br />

<strong>An</strong> attempt to build in the 400 block of<br />

North Columbus Street failed after the<br />

community objected. However, Mr. and Mrs.<br />

Josiah Davis sold the group some property on<br />

Washington Street for $350. Reverend Charles<br />

A. Davis raised considerable revenue for the<br />

building, but when the Methodist Church<br />

split into two factions—North and South—he<br />

affiliated with the Southern faction.<br />

The original name of the church was<br />

Charles A. Davis Chapel, but when Davis<br />

affiliated with the Southern faction, the name<br />

was changed to Roberts Chapel in honor of<br />

Reverend Robert Richford Roberts, a former<br />

Bishop of the Methodist Church and a former<br />

pastor of Trinity.<br />

In the 1930s, the Methodist Church formed<br />

six administrative units called Jurisdictions.<br />

Five of the Jurisdictions were geographical<br />

and the sixth was based on race. All African<br />

American churches in the United States were<br />

grouped under the Central Jurisdiction, which<br />

troubled many of the church members. Roberts<br />

Chapel was in the Washington Conference and<br />

members attended <strong>An</strong>nual Conference sessions<br />

at Morgan State College in Baltimore.<br />

When the United Methodist Church was created<br />

in 1968, it had 11 million members, making<br />

it one of the largest Protestant churches in the<br />

world. In 1954, the church name was changed to<br />

Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church.<br />

The church has remained in existence at 606<br />

South Washington Street in <strong>Alexandria</strong> since its<br />

organization. The church seats about 450 persons<br />

in both the main floor and the galleries.<br />

The mission of Roberts Memorial United<br />

Methodist Church is to revitalize and encourage<br />

active membership; to develop activities for all<br />

members to deepen their faith through Christian<br />

fellowship; to continue to initiate programs to<br />

reach the community and advocate for social<br />

justice; and to reach the un-churched and<br />

underprivileged and to demonstrate the Good<br />

News of Jesus Christ. The church also strives to<br />

proclaim the Word from the Holy Bible and to<br />

adhere to the principles and discipline of the<br />

United Methodist Church.<br />

In addition to special requests from the<br />

Virginia <strong>An</strong>nual Conference or the general<br />

church, Roberts Memorial United Methodist<br />

Church responds to local and district charities.<br />

The church supports Rising Hope UM Mission<br />

Church and <strong>Alexandria</strong> Involved Ecumenically<br />

(ALIVE, Inc.).<br />

The church is located at 606A South<br />

Washington Street, <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia<br />

22314-4011, or call 703-836-7332.<br />



UNITED<br />


CHURCH<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

9 1




✧<br />

Judge Albert Grenadier.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

92<br />

Albert H. Grenadier, an <strong>Alexandria</strong> Circuit<br />

Court Judge who presided over many and varied<br />

cases, is remembered as one of the city’s<br />

most beloved jurists and one who enjoyed<br />

being a judge in the city he called home and<br />

in which he spent most of his lifetime. When<br />

Judge Grenadier died at the age of fifty-eight,<br />

the <strong>Alexandria</strong> City Commonwealth’s attorney<br />

commented that, “He was an extremely gentle<br />

person who let lawyers try their cases, but still<br />

maintained control of the trial—a difficult<br />

combination in an adversary process.”<br />

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Judge<br />

Grenadier moved to <strong>Alexandria</strong> at the age of<br />

six. After graduating from George Washington<br />

High School, he served two years with the<br />

U.S. Navy, seeing action in the Pacific during<br />

World War II. He earned his B.A. from George<br />

Washington University, where he was elected<br />

a member of Artus, the National Honorary<br />

College Economics Society.<br />

In 1951, Judge Grenadier was awarded<br />

his Juris Doctor with Honors from George<br />

Washington University Law School. He was<br />

admitted to the Virginia State Bar and<br />

joined the law firm of Bendheim, Fagelson,<br />

Bragg and Giammittorio. He eventually<br />

became the managing partner of its<br />

successor firm, Fagelson, Schoenberg,<br />

Billowitz and Grenadier.<br />

In 1960, he was appointed a permanent<br />

commissioner in chancery for the <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Circuit Court and also served as judge pro<br />

tempore in divorce and chancery matters. He<br />

served as president of the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Bar<br />

Association and was active in the annual<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Bar Association Gridiron.<br />

In 1979, Judge Grenadier was elected by<br />

the Virginia General Assembly for the Circuit<br />

Court vacancy in <strong>Alexandria</strong> and served with<br />

distinction until his death in 1985. He is<br />

survived by his wife Ilona Ely Grenadier,<br />

founding partner of the law firm of Grenadier,<br />

<strong>An</strong>derson, Starace and Duffett, P.C.; five<br />

children; and two step-children.<br />

As a Circuit Court Judge, he was<br />

compassionate where compassion was called<br />

for, and a stiff-sentencing judge whenever<br />

violence was involved. In a 1982 ruling,<br />

believed to be unprecedented in Virginia,<br />

Judge Grenadier permitted an AFL-CIO labor<br />

leader to be disconnected from a kidney<br />

dialysis machine and respirator in accordance<br />

with his family’s wishes. The official died four<br />

days later and his wife termed the Judge’s<br />

decision a “humanitarian victory.”<br />

<strong>An</strong> article in the <strong>Alexandria</strong> Port Packet<br />

following his death termed Judge Grenadier<br />

a respected judge who garnered the respect<br />

of prosecutors, defense lawyers, plaintiffs,<br />

defendants, liberals, and conservatives. “He<br />

judged every case on the particular set of facts<br />

affecting the problem…he had no knee jerk<br />

reaction to it,” the newspaper added.<br />

At his funeral, Judge Grenadier’s former<br />

benchmate, retired Circuit Court Judge Wiley<br />

Wright, recalled his colleague as a “warmhearted<br />

man whose courtroom command was<br />

tempered by the diversity of his interests and<br />

human kindness.”



STARACE &<br />

DUFFETT, P.C.<br />

Grenadier, <strong>An</strong>derson, Starace and Duffett,<br />

P.C. began as Grenadier, Davis, Simpson &<br />

Duffett, P.C. and is a “family” law firm with<br />

origination in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia. The firm<br />

was founded in <strong>Alexandria</strong> by Ilona E.<br />

Grenadier, the widow of the late <strong>Alexandria</strong><br />

Circuit Court Judge Albert H. Grenadier.<br />

Ilona received her B.A. degree from Mount<br />

Holyoke College and her law degree from<br />

George Washington University with Honors.<br />

She has been listed in Best Lawyers in<br />

America since its inception, is AV rated by<br />

Martindale and in the Bar Register of<br />

Preeminent Lawyers. She is also a member of<br />

the American Academy of Matrimonial<br />

Lawyers and the International Academy of<br />

Matrimonial Lawyers, as well as the American<br />

Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar, the<br />

Virginia Bar Association and Virginia Trial<br />

Lawyers Association. She began specializing<br />

in family law in the early 1970s and it remains<br />

the focal point of the firm‘s practice today.<br />

While the firm now has offices in the<br />

Fairfax County community of Reston,<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> City, and in Leesburg, Loudoun<br />

County, Virginia, the headquarters remains<br />

in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. Two of the original four members<br />

of the firm remain as principals: Ilona<br />

Grenadier and Benton S. Duffett, III.<br />

Duffett, an <strong>Alexandria</strong> native, joined the<br />

firm in 1988 after graduation from law school<br />

at the University of Richmond and is also a<br />

domestic relations specialist. Steve Simpson<br />

joined the firm after graduation from George<br />

Washington University Law School and<br />

remained with the firm until his untimely<br />

demise in July 2006. Karen Davis is now<br />

in private practice in <strong>Alexandria</strong>. Charles<br />

<strong>An</strong>derson joined the firm in 2000 and deals<br />

with criminal, real estate, collections, small<br />

business, wills and estates, as well as domestic<br />

relations. Arlene Starace joined the firm<br />

in 2002 with experience as a social worker<br />

and former custody evaluator in the Juvenile<br />

Court, as well as eighteen years of domestic<br />

relations practice in Fairfax County, Virginia.<br />

The firm now has thirteen attorneys,<br />

most of whom specialize in domestic relations<br />

practice. This includes prenuptial, marital<br />

and post marital agreements, cohabitation<br />

agreements, settlement agreements, divorce,<br />

custody, matters of support, equitable<br />

distribution, and other related matters.<br />

In the ever-changing field of family law,<br />

the firm of Grenadier, <strong>An</strong>derson, Starace &<br />

Duffett strives to provide its clients with<br />

the knowledgeable, consistent, and reliable<br />

advice and counsel to guide them through the<br />

often difficult process of divorce or other<br />

domestic relations problems. Using a team<br />

approach developed early on means that generally<br />

more than one attorney is assigned to<br />

deal with the individual issues. Each attorney<br />

brings his or her unique perspective and<br />

experience to the case. The anticipated result<br />

of such participation is to give each client<br />

broad, well rounded and creative approaches.<br />

The firm now represents clients in many<br />

jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth<br />

of Virginia, including the cities of <strong>Alexandria</strong>,<br />

Falls Church, Fairfax, Fredericksburg,<br />

Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester;<br />

and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax,<br />

Frederick, Clarke, Greene, Loudoun, Prince<br />

William, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Fauquier,<br />

Orange, Warren, Albemarle, and others.<br />

The headquarters of Grenadier, <strong>An</strong>derson,<br />

Starace & Duffett, P.C. is located at 649 South<br />

Washington Street in <strong>Alexandria</strong>, Virginia and<br />

on the Internet at www.vafamilylaw.com.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

9 3



✧<br />

Above: <strong>An</strong> account Booklet from 1938.<br />

Below: HEWFCU representatives in 1971.<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />

94<br />

When it was founded nearly seventy-five<br />

years ago, HEW Federal Credit Union was<br />

operated by a group of volunteers. Today, the<br />

credit union has more than sixty full time<br />

employees and holds nearly $140 million in<br />

assets and $80 million in loans.<br />

This growth has come about because HEW<br />

Federal Credit Union, as a member-owned,<br />

not for profit financial cooperative,<br />

is committed to its members. The<br />

credit union will continue to treat all<br />

members with respect and dignity<br />

and offer honest, fair service to all<br />

members at all times.<br />

HEW Federal Credit Union<br />

received its charter and began<br />

operations on May 26, 1936, only<br />

two years after passage of the<br />

historic Federal Credit Union Act.<br />

The charter was issued originally in<br />

the name of Social Security<br />

Employees Federal Credit Union.<br />

The name was changed to FSA<br />

Employees Federal Credit Union in 1946 and,<br />

eventually, to HEW Employees Federal Credit<br />

Union in 1955. In 1984, ‘Employee’ was<br />

deleted and the name changed to HEW<br />

Federal Credit Union.<br />

Initially, membership was limited to<br />

employees of the Social Security Board in<br />

Washington, D.C., and their immediate<br />

families. Numerous government reorganizations<br />

and subsequent amendments to its<br />

charter over the years have brought the credit<br />

union to its current field of membership,<br />

which serves primarily the employees of<br />

the Departments of Health and Human<br />

Resources (formerly HEW) and Education,<br />

and their families.<br />

It took thirty-six years for the credit union<br />

to reach its first $10 million in assets and a<br />

membership of 12,000. When the credit<br />

union celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in<br />

1986—just fourteen years later—assets had<br />

jumped to $39 million, an increase of nearly<br />

300 percent. HEWFCU surpassed the $100<br />

million mark in assets in 2001 and, as of<br />

June 2010, the credit union serves approximately<br />

20,000 members and holds assets of<br />

$140 million.<br />

Growth since 1990 has been aided by a<br />

number of significant mergers: Columbia<br />

Hospital for Women Employees Federal<br />

Credit Union, Queen of Peace D.C. Federal<br />

Credit Union, Metropolitan Baptist Church<br />

Federal Credit Union and HUM Federal<br />

Credit Union.<br />

HEWFCU began offering checking accounts<br />

and credit cards in the 1980s, and online banking<br />

and debit cards in the late 1990s.<br />

Executive offices for the credit union are<br />

located at 400 North Columbus Street in<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>. The main office is in the Hubert<br />

Humphrey Building at 200 Independence<br />

Avenue in Washington and branch offices are<br />

located in Falls Church, Virginia, and District<br />

Heights, Maryland. A part-time service center<br />

is located in Philadelphia and a mobile branch<br />

was launched in 2009.<br />

Employees of HEWFCU are active in a<br />

variety of community activities, including<br />

Martha’s Table, Suitland High School Canned<br />

Food Drive, Martin Luther King, Jr.,<br />

Memorial, Arlington Partnership for<br />

Affordable Housing, and the <strong>An</strong>nual Credit<br />

Union Cherry Blossom Run.<br />

Going forward, HEW Federal Credit Union<br />

plans to continue providing products and<br />

services that suit the needs of its target markets<br />

within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan<br />

area, including individuals who live,<br />

work, worship, attend school, or regularly<br />

conduct business in D.C., the city of<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong>, and areas of Arlington, Fairfax,<br />

Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.

T. J. FANNON<br />

& SONS<br />

For 125 years, residents of Northern Virginia<br />

have depended on T. J. Fannon & Sons to<br />

provide oil, gas, heating and air conditioning<br />

for their year-round home comfort.<br />

The company was founded in 1885 by<br />

Thomas Joseph Fannon, the fourth of seven<br />

children born to Michael Fannon and his wife,<br />

Mary, who fled Ireland to seek new opportunities<br />

in America. Their search brought them to<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> where, for many years, Michael ran a<br />

grocery and feed store on the Canal Basin.<br />

Thomas worked as a clerk in his early years,<br />

but a $500 loan from the owner of a wholesale<br />

grocery business allowed him to open his own<br />

grocery at the corner of Duke and Henry Streets.<br />

In addition to groceries, the ambitious young<br />

merchant stocked cord wood, coal and building<br />

materials. In those days before central heating,<br />

homeowners depended on coal fireplaces and<br />

wood burning Franklin stoves to stay warm in<br />

winter and to cook their daily meals.<br />

The business expanded quickly. In 1898,<br />

Thomas’ company was awarded the contract for<br />

500 tons of Cumberland coal at $2.15 per ton<br />

for the city gas works. Two years later, the firm<br />

received the contract for supplying the city<br />

electric light works with coal. The development<br />

of automatic stokers and cast iron radiators<br />

brought central heating to <strong>Alexandria</strong> homes<br />

and the coal-fired boilers in the basement<br />

increased the demand for coal.<br />

Thomas retired in 1920 and his two young<br />

sons, Frances and Chester, took over the<br />

business. One of their first moves was to build<br />

four giant silos with a capacity of 1,200 tons of<br />

coal. Almost every day through the 1940s, two<br />

or three car loads of coal would cross Duke<br />

Street and fill the Fannon bins and silos.<br />

When the first practical oil burner was<br />

invented in the 1920s, the brothers realized a<br />

new era in heating had arrived. They built an<br />

18,000-gallon oil storage tank in the yard at<br />

Henry and Duke and, by 1937, had added<br />

40,000 gallons of storage.<br />

The third generation of the Fannon family<br />

joined the business when T. J. and William<br />

came on board in the 1950s. The company<br />

added air conditioning to its services in the<br />

1950s, allowing the firm to provide home<br />

comfort twelve months per year.<br />

Today, T. J. is president of the company; his<br />

sons Tom and Jack are vice presidents. They<br />

oversee the widest range of home services<br />

available in Northern Virginia—oil and gas<br />

heat, air conditioning, heat pumps, water<br />

heaters, and more.<br />

Recently, Fannon Petroleum has opened a<br />

new plant in Gainesville, Virginia, and the Duke<br />

Street operation has been expanded to include<br />

loading facilities, fleet repair and warehouse.<br />

Since 1885, T. J. Fannon & Sons has changed<br />

with the times, but one thing has remained the<br />

same—the company’s reputation for personal<br />

attention and the capacity to attend all your<br />

home comfort needs.<br />

✧<br />

Above: The coal plant from 1885-1975.<br />

Below: T. J. Fannon & Sons, 1200 Duke<br />

Street in <strong>Alexandria</strong>.<br />

S H A R I N G T H E H E R I T A G E<br />

9 5


Advanced Resource Technologies, Inc. ................................................................................................................................................74<br />

<strong>Alexandria</strong> Lighting & Supply, Inc. .....................................................................................................................................................80<br />

John M. Barber....................................................................................................................................................................................88<br />

Charles R. Hooff, Inc., Realtors ® ..........................................................................................................................................................89<br />

George Washington Masonic Memorial ...............................................................................................................................................70<br />

Grenadier, <strong>An</strong>derson, Starace & Duffet, P.C.........................................................................................................................................93<br />

HEW Federal Credit Union.................................................................................................................................................................94<br />

Inova <strong>Alexandria</strong> Hospital ...................................................................................................................................................................76<br />

Juvenile Detention Commission for Northern Virginia.........................................................................................................................90<br />

MPR Associates, Inc. ...........................................................................................................................................................................65<br />

The Nath Law Group ..........................................................................................................................................................................84<br />

Office of <strong>Historic</strong> <strong>Alexandria</strong> ...............................................................................................................................................................73<br />

Roberts United Memorial Methodist Church .......................................................................................................................................91<br />

Simpson Development Company, Inc. .................................................................................................................................................86<br />

Systems Planning & <strong>An</strong>alysis, Inc........................................................................................................................................................82<br />

T. J. Fannon & Sons............................................................................................................................................................................95<br />

A Tribute to Judge Grenadier ..............................................................................................................................................................92<br />

Virginia Theological Seminary .............................................................................................................................................................78<br />

Wisnewski Blair & Associates, Ltd. .....................................................................................................................................................66<br />

H I S T O R I C A L E X A N D R I A<br />



ISBN 9781935377412

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