Archive for 'History'

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 [...]

Out of the Attic: Alexandria: once the best place for thieves to make a buck (or several)

This pawn shop was one of several along King Street during the mid-20th century, but the pawn business got its start centuries earlier when people in need of money received loans in exchange for a pledge or [...]

Out of the Attic: Home, home on the Union’s fortress

Out of the Attic: Home, home on the Union’s fortress

During the first days of Alexandria’s Civil War occupation, the Union established a presence on Shuter’s Hill, where the Masonic temple currently stands. This location was not only desirable because of its height but because of [...]

Out of the Attic: Tiny Tots and Busy Bees

Out of the Attic: Tiny Tots and Busy Bees

A home just south of West Windsor Avenue and likely constructed in the 1920s became the site of two private schools in the mid-20th century. The property included several lots and a two-story brick building with [...]