Opinion — 15 July 2010
Out of the attic

The eastern end of Cameron Valley, located south of Duke Street and west of Holland Lane, was highly industrialized in the mid-20th century. Southern Railway operated Cameron Yards there with several tracks and a small roundhouse, and Newton Asphalt, a building supply company and a concrete manufacturer were also there. 

In the early 1960s, Stanley Asrael and Ben Ettleman opened a junkyard at 2324 Mill Road, leasing the land from Southern. 

They already had two other scrap operations in Alexandria: Madison Junk at 708 North Henry St. and Alexandria Junk at 400 South Patrick St. Both processed metal, newspapers and even old rags. The facility on Mill Road, described in a 1963 ad as a New spacious modern yard, would become known as Alexandria Scrap. Alexandria Scrap covered about 10 acres, employed about 40 to 50 people, and in the late 1960s took in around 150 to 175 cars a day. 

This industrialized area began to change around 1980, with new office buildings under construction and plans for a new Metro station. Some Alexandria city leaders saw the potential high-rise development and pressured Alexandria Scrap, seen in this 1972 photograph, to close down. But the company had a lease with Southern until 1992 and remained there until 1989, when it shut down completely. 

As city leaders had envisioned, the property was soon redeveloped. Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. District Courthouse and other high rises now stand on the grounds of the old scrap yard in what has become known as Carlyle and Eisenhower East.

Out of the Attic is provided by the Office of Historic Alexandria. 

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