Newly installed signs honoring Del Rays history will be officially dedicated on Saturday, April 12. Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille and members of City Council will be at the Farmers Market at Mount Vernon and East Oxford avenues at 8:45 a.m. to present the new interpretive signage.
Members of the Potomac Centennial Committee and staff from the Office of Historic Alexandria will also be attending.
Seven new signs, including a double-sided one at the Farmers Market, showcase the history of Del Ray and in particular, the Town of Potomac, which was incorporated 100 years ago. Del Ray residents and community historians Leland Ness and Lee Perna researched the themes, obtained historic images, and prepared copy for the new signs, working closely with City Archaeologist Pamela J. Cressey and Jim Mackay, director of The Lyceum.
In 1894, two new streetcar suburbs, St. Elmo and Del Ray, were established north of the Alexandria city limits. In 1908, the two communities and adjacent area incorporated as the Town of Potomac, authorized by the state to levy taxes, improve sanitation and roads, and enforce laws. The growth of Potomac made it attractive to the City of Alexandria, which officially took over the town through annexation on January 1, 1930. This year, Del Ray is celebrating the Town of Potomacs 100th anniversary with special events organized by the Potomac Centennial Committee.
The new signs, designed by Dennis Kund, explore Del Rays railroad heritage, Potomacs municipal government, and 19th-century structures no longer in existence, such as a racetrack and a poorhouse. The signs and their locations, which are listed online at www.historicalexandria.org under Town of Potomac Centennial, are:
Town of Potomac & Mount Vernon Avenue
Farmers Market (East Oxford & Mount Vernon avenues)
Mount Vernon Community School (2601 Commonwealth Avenue) on the west side
Schools of Potomac
Mount Vernon Community School on the Mount Vernon Avenue side
St. Asaph Racetrack
Charles Hill Park (East Oxford & DeWitt avenues)
Mount Jefferson Park (200 block of East Raymond Avenue)
Simpson Stadium Park (426 East Monroe Avenue)
Town Hall & Firehouse
Fire Station 202 (213 East Windsor Avenue)