Archive for 'History'

Remembering slavery in a city built on bondage

Remembering slavery in a city built on bondage

As Alexandria continues to explore and tout its rich Civil War history during the sesquicentennial, historians say the role of free blacks, slaves and slavery won’t be forgotten. The Port City remains well known as home [...]

Out of the Attic: Before a private residence, 415 Prince St. headquartered a wartime government

Out of the Attic: Before a private residence, 415 Prince St. headquartered a wartime government

Constructed around 1806, the Bank of Potomac building at 415 Prince St. appeared on bank notes that may have been the earliest visual print of any structure in Alexandria. The illustration shows that three and one-half-story [...]

Out of the Attic: Before CVS and Diversions – Fairlington Centre in 1950

Out of the Attic: Before CVS and Diversions – Fairlington Centre in 1950

Between 1942 and 1944, the Defense Homes Corporation financed construction of more than 3,400 housing units to comprise the new Fairlington community, located in Arlington, to accommodate defense workers and their families. This development followed the [...]

Out of the Attic: Stale beer: Alexandria’s sudsy history

Out of the Attic: Stale beer: Alexandria’s sudsy history

Before Port City Brewing, Alexandria was home to several breweries, including Shuter’s Hill Brewery established in the mid-19th century in what was then known as the West End. In 1858, Alexander Strausz and John Klein leased a [...]

Out of the Attic: The Hugo Black House

Out of the Attic: The Hugo Black House

Around 1800, Thomas Vowell, Jr., a prominent Alexandria merchant, built a new home along what was then called Water Street. It later became South Lee Street. The brick house was on the west side of the [...]

Out of the Attic: Meigs Lodge and the Alexandria National Cemetery

Out of the Attic: Meigs Lodge and the Alexandria National Cemetery

In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln authorized the acquisition of property to be used as burial grounds for the Civil War dead, establishing the country’s first national cemeteries. One of the earliest was Alexandria National Cemetery, opened [...]

Out of the Attic: An ‘unusually attractive’ art deco structure on Washington Street

Out of the Attic: An ‘unusually attractive’ art deco structure on Washington Street

In the 1920s the Virginia Public Service Co., an electrical utility company, had five geographical division offices to serve customers throughout the state. In 1929, VPS announced plans to build a new Northern Virginia office at [...]

Out of the Attic: The order of the Knights of Pythias

Out of the Attic: The order of the Knights of Pythias

In 1863, Justus H. Rathbone, a New York native, moved to Washington, D.C., to work as a clerk for the federal government. The following year, in response to the feelings of hatred and anger associated with [...]

Local author Craig Shirley tackles Pearl Harbor and the world-changing month of December 1941

Local author Craig Shirley tackles Pearl Harbor and the world-changing month of December 1941

The nation profoundly changed on December 7, 1941, says local author Craig Shirley, but the enormity of the shift in culture, politics and economics is often lost, one more bullet point in a history textbook. Shirley [...]

Out of the Attic: Hill House, aka Shadow House

Out of the Attic: Hill House, aka Shadow House

The three-story home at 617 South Washington St. was built around 1854 for Reuben Roberts, who died a short time later. An ad announcing the sale of the home at auction in 1856 described it as [...]