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 building with Flemish bond brickwork and stone trim had four bays, two arched doorways and a single dormer, just as it does today.

In 1847, the Bank of Potomac merged with the Farmers Bank, but bank operations ended in the fall of 1861 during Alexandria’s Civil War occupation. In 1862, Union officers used part of the building for offices and in 1863 it became the headquarters of the Restored Government of Virginia. After the western Virginia counties loyal to the Union became the State of West Virginia, Governor Francis H. Pierpont relocated the capital of the Restored Virginia — consisting of Alexandria, Norfolk and other Union-occupied areas — from Wheeling to 415 Prince St.

After the war, the structure became an insurance office and later the offices for the Alexandria Water Company. The property, sometimes known as Marbury House for the family that owned it, was sold in the early 20th century and converted to apartments. The apartment building was called The Virginia and after extensive interior renovations around 1959, not long after this photograph was taken, it was became known as The Statehouse, a reference to its days as a capitol building.

Another owner obtained a preservation easement with the Virginia Historic Landmarks Board in 1987 to protect the historically significant property which today is a private residence.

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