Part of Del Ray makes Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered list

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Part of Del Ray makes Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered list
The Town of Potomac Historic District, which is a part of Alexandria’s Del Ray, is experiencing a rapid loss of historic homes and buildings. (File Photo)
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By Denise Dunbar | ddunbar@alextimes.com

Preservation Virginia has listed The Town of Potomac, which is now part of Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood, as one of 11 locations on their 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places list.

Preservation Virginia said the rapid loss of historic homes and buildings in The Town of Potomac Historic District, which is accelerating, led to that section of Del Ray’s inclusion on their annual Most Endangered list. Originally formed in 1908 as one of numerous commuter neighborhoods, the City of Alexandria annexed the Town of Potomac in 1930.

“Many recent residents and developers in need of larger living space are demolishing the historic, mid-sized houses to build new, often outsized and out-of-character houses in their place. Approximately 75 houses in the Town of Potomac Historic District have been demolished in recent years, and the rate of loss is accelerating,” the Preservation Virginia release said.

According to Preservation Virginia, despite the Town of Potomac Historic District’s inclusion in the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places, “there is no local process to review, slow down, or prevent the demolition of the district’ contributing buildings.”

Preservation Virginia suggests the creation of an overlay district, such as those in Alexandria’s Old and Historic and Parker-Gray neighborhoods, to manage change in The Town of Potomac portion of Del Ray.

Other sites on the Preservation Virginia 2023 list of endangered sites include “Dwellings of the Enslaved, Statewide,” “Last Headquarters of the Virginia Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, Hampton” and “The Willa Cather Birthplace, Frederick County.”

The Preservation Virginia website describes the organization’s purpose as: “… [making] Virginia’s communities and historic places of memory stronger, more vital and economically sustainable through preservation, education and advocacy.”

Sites the organization manages include Historic Jamestowne, Patrick Henry’s home and the Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia Beach.

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