Briefly – City Announces Freedmens Cemetery Design Winners


The City of Alexandria announced the winners of the Contrabands and Freedmens Cemetery Memorial Design Competition last week. Alexandria architect C.J. Howard won first place honors in the competition, which challenged the public to come up with a design for a memorial honoring the burial place for about 1,800 African-Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape from bondage during the Civil War.

In addition to receiving a $10,000 first place prize, Howards winning design will be used as the framework for a detailed site design with a $1.5 to $2 million-construction budget for the memorial. Howard developed the winning design to venerate those who are buried at the site, as well as to acknowledge the sites historical background.

The City of Alexandria is proud to name C.J. Howard of Alexandria as the winner of the Freedmens Cemetery Design Competition, said Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille. Mr. Howard has developed a winning design that will be a fitting tribute to those who escaped slavery, and will be a lasting memorial for generations to come.

Over two hundred design submissions were collected from architects, landscape architects, artists, students and the general public. The three-acre site is located at the southwest corner of Church and South Washington Streets.  

Design competition entries were collected from February until April this year, and proposals were received from entrants in all 50 states and 20 different countries. Design requirements included interpreting the cemetery site with respect to those who are buried there and providing a focal point consisting of an artistic or interpretive element that respects the integrity of the graves, historic design of the site, and the scale of the adjacent neighborhood.

Design finalists were displayed for public comment in June. A final decision was made by the Freedmens Design Steering Committee, which included members from the Friends of Freedmens Cemetery, Historical Alexandria Resources Commission, Alexandria Archaeological Commission, Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Alexandria Historical Society, Arts Commission, Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage, Old Town Hunting Creek Civic Association, Old Town Civic Association, the VDOT/FHWA project team, and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Neighborhood Task Force.

Boutique District Founded
in Old Town
With its quaint cobblestone streets, rich history and waterfront setting, Old Town has long been one of the regions leading attractions, but with next weeks launch of the Old Town Boutique District, a collection of 19 unique fashion, beauty, jewelry, childrens, gift and home specialty stores, it will become an unparalleled shopping destination.

To mark the launch, the Boutique District will host Shop Under the Stars from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wed., Sept. 24, and a Premiere Shopping Weekend, Sept. 26-28.

Shop Under the Stars is going to be the shopping event of the season, said Elizabeth Todd, owner of The Shoe Hive and founder of the Old Town Boutique District. Well have refreshments in our stores, special gifts and the latest in great fall fashions and gifts.

Shoppers who visit all 11 participating boutiques during the Shop Under the Stars event on Sept. 24 will be registered to win a $1,100 shopping spree and will receive a gift bag with goodies from each of the stores. Those who visit at least 10 of the 19 participating shops during the Premiere Shopping Weekend will be entered to win a $1,900 shopping spree in the Boutique District.

Shoppers can also visit, a newly created online neighborhood that will keep shoppers up to date on current fashion and beauty trends, the must-have gifts, hottest events, and whats happening in Old Town.

The Old Town Boutique District features unique specialty stores all within a few cobblestone blocks of each other, including: Hysteria, The Shoe Hive, Apple Seed, Red Barn Mercantile, Bellacara, Bella, Lawrence Miller and Co., Mystique Jewelers, Whistle Stop Hobbies, The Christmas Attic, Ninas Closet, Treat, The Little Monogram Shop, Greetings and Salutations, Tickled Pink, Chinoiserie, Diva, Stanton Gallery and Gallery Lafayette.

Alexandrias Vehicle Personal Property Tax Due October 6
The City of Alexandria reminds taxpayers that the 2008 Vehicle Personal Property Tax is due Monday, October 6. All vehicle owners who lived in the City for all or part of the calendar year 2008 owe tax. To avoid penalties and interest, payment in full must be received or postmarked by October 6, 2008.

Voter Registration Deadline Approaches
Citizens intending to vote in the Nov. 4 elections for the President of the United States, Senate and Congress are encouraged to register before the October 6 deadline. Even if you are registered, failing to notify the state of a changed address can disqualify you from voting. The Office of Voter Registration will be open on Saturday, October 4, but residents are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

Where to Register in Person

Office of Voter Registration
132 North Royal Street, Suite 100

City Hall, Citizen Assistance
301 King Street, Room 1900
Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Division of Motor Vehicles
2681 Mill Road

Information You Need to Register
You must give the following information under oath:

  • full legal name
  • current residence address
  • date and place of birth
  • Social Security number
  • place of previous registration

To register by mail, call 703-838-4050 and ask for a voter registration application. If you register by mail you must vote in person and show identification the first time you vote.

For voter registration forms or more information on voting in Alexandria, visit the Office of Voter Registration & Elections at

Center for Alexandrias Children Hosts Family Fun Day on West End
The Center for Alexandrias Children, in partnership with the City of Alexandrias Departments of Human Services, Recreation, Mental Health Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse, Health, and the Alexandria City Public Schools, will host a Family Fun Day, Saturday, September 20, at John Adams Elementary School, 5651 Rayburn Avenue. The free event will feature food, live entertainment, and a variety of informative and interactive exhibits and activities designed to provide useful information and resources to keep children safe and families strong. 

The events and entertainment will include:  Harlem Globetrotters Spencer Spinny Johnson, music by the Grandsons and Doug Segree, a petting zoo, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts and more.  Digital identification kits for children will be available for parents through the Center for Alexandrias Children and SafeAssured ID.

 Co-chairing the event is Washington Redskins legend Charles Mann, who has a long history of involvement with organizations that focus on helping children. 

The Center for Alexandrias Children is a public-private partnership dedicated to the elimination of child abuse in the City of Alexandria.