For more information about buying your next home or property visit our Buyers Page, for helpful information on selling your home please visit our Sellers Page. If you have any questions about anything or would like more information on anything Contact Us. If you would like to know more information about the other areas that we specialize in please visit our About Virginia page, About Falls Church page, About Fairfax County page, About Springfield page, or our About Arlington page.
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles (9.6 kilometers) south of downtown Washington, D.C.
Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as central Maryland, modern Alexandria has been shaped by its proximity to the nation's capital. It is largely populated by professionals working in the federal civil service, the U.S. military, or for one of the many private companies which contract to provide services to the federal government. The latter are known locally as beltway bandits, after the Capital Beltway, an interstate highway that circles Washington, D.C. One of Alexandria's largest employers is the U.S. Department of Defense. Others include the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for Naval Analyses. In 2005, the United States Patent and Trademark Office moved 7,100 employees from 18 separate buildings in nearby Crystal City into a new headquarters complex in the city. The historic center of Alexandria is known as Old Town. With its concentration of boutiques, restaurants, antique shops and theaters, it is a major draw for tourists. Like Old Town, many Alexandria neighborhoods are compact, walkable, high-income suburbs of Washington D.C. It is the seventh largest and highest income independent city in Virginia.
The city is served by the Alexandria City Public Schools system and by the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College. The largest seminary in the Episcopal Church, Virginia Theological Seminary, is located on Seminary Road. Virginia Tech's Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, also known as WAAC, is located on Prince Street in Old Town, offering graduate programs in Urban Affairs and Planning, Public and International Affairs, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture. Virginia Commonwealth University operates a Northern Virginia branch of its School of Social Work and George Washington University (Washington DC) also has a campus near the King Street metro. This campus mainly offers professional and vocational programs, such as an executive MBA program, urban planning and security studies.
Alexandria is home to several of the Washington D.C. area's top private schools, such as Burgundy Farm Country Day, St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, Bishop Ireton High School, and Episcopal High School. Also in the city are Alexandria Country Day School, Commonwealth Academy, St. Mary's Catholic School, St. Rita's Catholic School, Blessed Sacrament Learning Center and Global Health College. Alexandria's public school system consists of thirteen elementary schools for grades 5-year-old Kindergarten through Grade 5. Middle Schools, George Washington and Francis C. Hammond, serve 6th through 8th graders. Minnie Howard Ninth Grade Center and T.C. Williams High School serve grades 9th and 10 through 12, respectively, for the entire
The demographics of Alexandria City Public Schools contrast with those of the city. As of 2008, only 14% of the students at Francis C. Hammond Middle School were non-Hispanic whites, compared to about 60% when looking at the city as a whole. 27% were of Hispanic descent, and 48% were black. About 9% of the school was of Asian descent. As of 2004, 62% of the school received free lunches. As of 2008, that number had decreased to 56%. At George Washington Middle School, 30% of students are non-Hispanic whites, 24% were Hispanic, and 41% was black. 3% of the students were Asian, and 52% of students received free lunch. T.C. Williams High School follows this trend as well; 23% of the students were classified as non-Hispanic whites, 25% as Hispanic, and 44% as black. 7% of the school was Asian, and 47% of all students received free lunch.
Alexandria Recreation and Sites of Interest
Alexandria has a distributed park system with approximately 950 acres (3.8 km²) spread across 70 major parks and 30 recreation centers, of which Chinquapin is one of the largest. Chinquapin offers facilities for swimming, tennis, racquetball, and other sports. The city also organizes several sports leagues throughout the year including volleyball, softball and basketball. The city is unusual in that Cameron Run Regional Park includes a water park with a wave pool and water slides, as well as a miniature golf course and batting cages—facilities usually operated by private companies. A portion of the Mount Vernon Trail, a popular bike and jogging path, runs through Old Town near the Potomac River on its way from the Mount Vernon Estate to Roosevelt Island in Washington, DC. There is also a largely unbroken line of parks stretching along the Alexandria waterfront from end to end.
Landmarks within the city include the George Washington Masonic National Memorial (also known as the Masonic Temple) and Observation Deck, Christ Church, Gadsby's Tavern, John Carlyle House, Little Theatre of Alexandria, Lee-Fendall House, Alexandria City Hall, Market Square, the Jones Point Light, the south cornerstone of the original District of Columbia, Robert E. Lee's boyhood home, the Torpedo Factory Art Center, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. Other sites of historical interest in the city include Alexandria Black History Resource Center, Fort Ward Park and Museum, and the Alexandria Canal lock re-creation at Canal Office Center. Interesting sites with Alexandria addresses but outside of the city limits include River Farm, Collingwood Library & Museum, Green Spring Gardens Park, Huntley Meadows Park, Pope-Leighey House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright), Woodlawn Plantation, Washington's Grist Mill and Mount Vernon Estate.
In 1830, John Hollensbury's home in Alexandria was one of two homes directly boarding an alleyway that received a large amount of horse-drawn wagon traffic and loiterers. In order to prevent people from using the alleyway, Hollensbury constructed a 7 feet (2.1 m) wide, 25 feet (7.6 m) deep, 325-square-foot (30.2 m2), two story home using the existing brick walls of the adjacent homes for the sides of the new home. The brick walls of the Hollensbury Spite House living room have gouges from wagon-wheel hubs and the house still is standing and occupied.
Due to its proximity to Washington, Alexandria has only been the home of one professional sports team, the Alexandria Dukes, a minor league baseball team which has moved to Woodbridge and is currently named the Potomac Nationals. However, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League brought baseball back to Alexandria in 2008 in the form of the Alexandria Aces. In addition, TC Williams, Bishop Ireton, St. Stephen's and Episcopal have storied histories in athletics, such as football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse. The largest youth sport in Alexandria is soccer with almost 2,500 players ages 2–18 who participate in Alexandria Soccer Association.
Alexandria is bisected north and south by State Route 7, known in most of the city as the major thoroughfare of King Street. Interstate 95/495 (the Capital Beltway), including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River, approximately parallels the city's southern boundary with Fairfax County. Interstate 395 crosses through the western part of the city. Other major routes include U.S. 1 (named Jefferson Davis Highway, and Patrick and Henry Streets after Patrick Henry, and Richmond Highway), the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and Duke Street (State Route 236). Alexandria is located just south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington County. As with other Washington suburbs, Alexandria is also served by Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia and by Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport near Baltimore, Maryland.
Alexandria Union Station, the city's historic train station, is served by both Amtrak intercity and Virginia Railway Express regional rail service. The station is directly adjacent to the King Street – Old Town Washington Metro station, at the convergence of the Blue and Yellow Lines. Three other Metro stations that lie within the city limits are Braddock Road, Van Dorn Street, and Eisenhower Avenue. The traditional boundary between Old Town and the latterly annexed sections of the city followed the railway now owned by CSX Transportation. The city government operates its own mass transit system, the DASH bus, connecting points of interest with local transit hubs. Metrobus, Washington Metro, and the Virginia Railway Express better known as the VRE also serves Alexandria. The city also offers a free trolley service on King Street from the King Street Metro Station to the Waterfront and a water taxi to and from the National Harbor development in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Old Town - Old Town, in the eastern and southeastern areas of Alexandria and on the Potomac River, is the oldest section of the city, originally laid out in 1749, and is a historic district. Old Town is chiefly known for its historic town houses, art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants. Some of the historic landmarks in Old Town include General Robert E. Lee's boyhood home, the Lee-Fendall House, a replica of George Washington's townhouse, Gadsby's Tavern, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop, and the Torpedo Factory art studio complex (see the "Recreation" paragraph below). River cruise boats and street entertainers frequent the large plaza at the foot of King Street; the Mount Vernon Trail also passes through. Old Town is laid out on a grid plan of substantially square blocks. The opening of the Washington Metro King Street station in 1983 led to a spurt of new hotel and office building development in western Old Town, and gentrification of townhouse areas west of Washington Street which were previously an African-American community.
Market Square in Old Town is believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating marketplaces in the United States, (from 1753 until present day), and was once the site of the second-largest slave market in the U.S. Today it contains a large fountain and extensive landscaping, as well as a farmers' market each Saturday morning. In the center of the intersection of Washington and Prince streets stands a statue of a lone Confederate soldier which marks the spot where CSA units from Alexandria left to join the Confederate Army at the beginning of the American Civil War. The piece is entitled Appomattox and was cast by M. Casper Buberl in 1889.
Rosemont - Just to the west of Old Town is the city's oldest planned residential expansion. Called by its creators Rosemont in honor of a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania neighborhood of the same name, Rosemont was developed between 1900 and 1920. Rosemont extends from the foot of Shuter's Hill, crowned by the George Washington National Masonic Memorial away to the north for a dozen blocks to the edge of Del Ray. Originally intended as a "streetcar suburb" connected to Washington, D.C. and George Washington's home at Mount Vernon by electric railroad, Rosemont, instead, became closely integrated into the life of the core of Alexandria. Much of Rosemont is included in a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places that was intended to focus attention on the neighborhood's role as a showcase of early 20th Century home building styles. Television weatherman Willard Scott grew up here.
The Berg - At the northern limits of Old Town are the remnants of a historic, predominantly African American community known by its inhabitants as "The Berg." The area was settled in 1861 by refugees fleeing from enslavement in the Petersburg, VA area and was originally known as Petersburg or Grantsville. In 1915 the neighborhood encompassed several blocks from 1st St. to Bashford Lane and Royal St. to the waterfront railroad line. Built in 1945, a 260-unit public housing complex covers several blocks in what is now Old Town Alexandria. Today the Berg’s most prominent landmarks are the James Bland Homes (built in 1954) named after an African American musician and songwriter, and the Samuel Madden Homes, named after the second African-American pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church, Over the years the historic roots of the Berg’s name were lost, and many assumed it referred to the monolithic, iceberg-like buildings of this apartment complex. It was mentioned in the movie Remember the Titans, which dramatizes the integration of city public schools in the 1970s
Arlandria - Arlandria is a neighborhood located in the north-eastern portion of Alexandria. Its name is a combination of the words "Arlington" and "Alexandria," reflecting its location on the border of Arlington County and Alexandria. The neighborhood's borders form a rough triangle bounded by Four Mile Run in the north, West Glebe Road to the south and south-west, and Route 1 to the east. Centered around Mount Vernon Avenue between Four Mile Run and West Glebe Road, it is home to many Hispanic, Thai, and Vietnamese-owned bakeries, restaurants, salons, and bookstores. An influx of Salvadorean immigrants into the neighborhood in the 1980s has earned it the nickname "Chirilagua," after the city on the Pacific coast of El Salvador. Arlandria is also home to the Birchmere concert hall, the Alexandria Aces of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League, and St. Rita Roman Catholic Church, dedicated in 1949 and constructed in Gothic style from Virginia fieldstone and Indiana limestone. Alternative rock band the Foo Fighters has a track titled "Arlandria" on their 2011 release Wasting Light. Front-man (and ex-Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl is an Alexandria native. The area is also referenced in the song "Headwires" from the band's There Is Nothing Left to Lose release.
Del Ray - The area to the northwest of Old Town, formerly in the separate town of Potomac, is popularly known as Del Ray, although that name properly belongs to one of many communities (including Hume, Mount Ida, and Saint Elmo's) in that area. The communities of Del Ray and St. Elmo's originated in early 1894, when developer Charles Wood organized them on a grid pattern of streets running north-south and east-west. Del Ray originally contained six east-west streets and five north-south. All were identical in width, except Mt. Vernon Avenue, which was approximately twenty feet wider. St. Elmo's, a smaller tract, was laid out in a similar pattern, but with only four east-west streets and one running north-south.
By 1900, Del Ray contained approximately 130 persons, and St. Elmo 55. In 1908, the tracts of Del Ray, St. Elmo's, Mt. Ida, and Hume were incorporated into the town of Potomac, which by 1910 had a population of 599; by 1920 it contained 1,000; by 1928 it had 2,355 residents; now more than 20,000 people live in Del Ray. The 254 acres (1 km²) comprising Del Ray were sold to Charles Wood in 1894 for the sum of $38,900, while St. Elmo, made up of 39 acres (160,000 m2), was purchased for $15,314.
The community, while still diverse, has experienced substantial gentrification since the development of the Potomac Yard Shopping Center in the mid-1990s. It draws tens of thousands of people from around the Washington, D.C. region during its annual Art on the Avenue main street festival the first Saturday in October. New development under way in formerly unused land near Potomac Yard, across US Route 1 from Del Ray, will include condominiums, offices, parks, and a fire station with affordable housing on upper floors.
West End - Alexandria's West End includes areas annexed from Fairfax County in the 1950s. It is the most typically suburban part of Alexandria, with a street hierarchy of winding roads and cul-de-sacs. The section of Duke Street in the West End is known for a high-density residential area known to locals as "Landmark" due to its close proximity to nearby Landmark Mall, and for its concentration of strip and enclosed shopping malls. In more recent years, parts of Alexandria's West End have seen an influx of immigrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Pakistan, who have settled in the areas surrounding Seminary Road west of I-395.
The West End is composed of four main areas. All are west of Quaker Lane, the main north-south artery through Alexandria:
Seminary Hill, a mostly residential, single-family dwelling area near the Virginia Theological Seminary and the Episcopal and St. Stephen's & St. Agnes Schools off of Seminary Road, ending in the area just west of the Inova Alexandria Hospital.
Lower Alexandria (LA), south of the Duke Street corridor, are communities of small homes, rowhouses, townhomes along with commercial and retail real estate, including the Foxchase Shopping Center. The section between Wheeler Ave. and Jordan St. is also known as the "Block." In the 1960s and 1970s, this section of Alexandria was also known because of Shirley Duke, a complex of 2,214 low-priced rental apartments, which became the Foxchase development in the early 1980s after five years of stagnancy. There are also areas of industrial businesses south of Duke Street, primarily off Wheeler Ave., South Pickett St., and South Van Dorn St. In the very southern part of this area is the Eisenhower Ave. corridor running parallel to the Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495) and west of Telegraph Rd, which is primarily industrial and commercial in nature. There has been some development in apartments and townhomes in the area west of Telegraph Rd and east of Clermont Ave along with Class 1 Offices and national brand hotels. The Van Dorn Metro Station here provides access to Washington, D.C.
The Landmark area, which includes Seminary Valley, a large single family area developed in the 1950s, is largely garden style apartments and condo-converted apartment hi-rises as well as a number of townhome developments from the 1970s is west of North Pickett St bordered by I-395/Van Dorn Street on the west and Seminary Road on the north. This area also includes Cameron Station and the main branch of the Alexandria Library, the Charles E. Beatley Central Library, named for Alexandria's two-time mayor in the 1970s and early eighties, Chuck Beatley. The Landmark Mall, developed in the mid-1960s and redeveloped in the 1980s, was Alexandria's primary retail area for decades. It is now anchored by Sears and Macy's department stores.
The Seminary West neighborhoods are the communities west of I-395 but within the city limits of Alexandria. Beauregard Street is the primary artery running north & south to a mix of development from town home communities, single family neighborhoods, three large senior citizen living centers, garden and hi-rise apartments and condominiums. The Mark Center office development is a large commercial area in this community, which also includes the Alexandria Campus of the Northern Virginia Community College and its Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center. Under construction, and due to open in September 2011 is a 1,000,000-square-foot (93,000 m2) office tower complex developed for the US Dept of Defense and it's BRAC initiative. The complex will officially be an annex of US Army post Fort Belvoir. 6,300 federal office workers are expected to occupy the buildings.
North Ridge - North Ridge, in northern Alexandria city, includes the busy east-west Braddock Road/King Street corridors and north-south arteries Russell Rd (to the East) and Cameron Mill Rd. North Ridge takes its name from the high ground west of Russell Road and south of West Glebe Road. Within the area that comprises North Ridge are the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills, Jefferson Park, Braddock Heights, Timber Branch, Parkfairfax, Monticello Park, Beverly Estates, and Oak Crest. It is a residential area with homes of numerous styles with mostly single family two-story & basement houses that were largely developed in the period of the 1930s through the early 1960s. The Lower School of private St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School is located in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of North Ridge. This neighborhood includes many houses of worship as well as one of Virginia's eight Scottish Rite temples, a Masonic order. Alexandria City Fire Station #203 is located at Cameron Mills Rd & Monticello Blvd and an Alexandria Police Satellite Facility borders North Ridge located at King St & W. Braddock Rd. On the edge of the community is a small shopping center called Fairlington anchored by a national-chain drug store and a Cadillac car dealership. North Ridge students attend George Mason and Charles Barrett Elementary Schools and feed into George Washington Middle School and T. C. Williams High School. Parks include Monticello Park, Beverly Park and Robert Leider Park. The North Ridge community lies within the original 10-mile (16 km) square of the District of Columbia, ceded back to Virginia in 1846.
Nearby neighborhoods - Many neighborhoods outside of the city limits, including Hollin Hills, Franconia, Groveton, Hybla Valley, Huntington, Belle Haven, Mount Vernon, Fort Hunt, Engleside, Burgundy Village, Waynewood, Wilton Woods, Virginia Hills, Hayfield, and Kingstowne use an Alexandria address. Despite the Alexandria address, these areas are actually part of Fairfax County, not the City of Alexandria. To maintain the political/geographical division here, many locals refer to the non-Alexandria City area that has an Alexandria zip code as "Alexandria South.
The first settlement was established in 1695 in what was then the British Colony of Virginia. Virginia's comprehensive Tobacco Inspection Law of 1730 mandated that all tobacco grown in the colony must be brought to locally designated public warehouses for inspection before sale: one of the sites designated for a warehouse on the upper Potomac River was at the mouth of Hunting Creek. However, the ground being unsuitable at that location, the warehouse was established a half-mile up river, where the water ran deep near the shore.
Following the 1745 settlement of the colony's 10-year long dispute with Lord Fairfax over the western boundary of the Northern Neck Proprietary—the Privy Council in London finding in favor of Lord Fairfax's expanded claim—some of the gentry class of Fairfax County banded together to form the Ohio Company of Virginia. Their intent was to establish trade into the interior of America and for this they required an entrepot close to the head of navigation on the Potomac. The Hunting Creek tobacco warehouse offered the best location for a trading port which could accommodate sailing ships. However, many of the local tobacco planters wanted a new town to be sited up Hunting Creek, away from the "played out" tobacco fields along the river.
Around 1746, Captain Philip Alexander II (1704–1753) moved to what is south of present Duke Street in Alexandria. His estate, which consisted of 500 acres (2.0 km2), was bounded by Hunting Creek, Hooff’s Run, the Potomac River, and approximately the line of which would become Cameron Street. At the opening of Virginia's 1748–49 legislative session, there was a petition submitted in the House of Burgesses on November 1, 1748, that the "inhabitants of Fairfax (Co.) praying that a town may be established at Hunting Creek Warehouse on Potowmack River," as Hugh West was the owner of the warehouse. The petition was introduced by Lawrence Washington (1718-1752), the representative for Fairfax County and, more importantly, the son-in-law of William Fairfax and a founding member of the Ohio Company. To support the Company's push for a town on the river, Lawrence's younger brother George Washington, an aspiring surveyor, made a sketch of the shoreline touting the advantages of the tobacco warehouse site.
Since the river site was amidst his estate, Philip opposed the idea and strongly favored a site at the head of Hunting Creek (also known as Great Hunting Creek). It has been said that in order to avoid a predicament the petitioners offered to name the new town Alexandria, in honor of Philip’s family. As a result, Philip and his cousin Captain John Alexander (1711–1763) gave land to assist in the development of Alexandria, and are thus listed as the founders. This John was the son of Robert Alexander II (1688–1735). On May 2, 1749, the House of Burgesses approved the river location and ordered "Mr. Washington do go up with a Message to the Council and acquaint them that this House have agreed to the Amendments titled An Act for erecting a Town at Hunting Creek Warehouse, in the County of Fairfax." A "Public Vendue" (auction) was advertised for July, and the county surveyor laid out street lanes and town lots. The auction was conducted on July 13–14, 1749. Almost immediately upon establishment, the town founders called the new town "Belhaven", believed to be in honor of a Scottish patriot, John Hamilton, 2nd Lord Belhaven and Stenton, the Northern Neck tobacco trade being then dominated by Scots. The name Belhaven was used in official lotteries to raise money for a Church and Market House, but it was never approved by the legislature and fell out of favor in the mid-1750s. The town of Alexandria did not become incorporated until 1779.
In 1755, General Edward Braddock organized his fatal expedition against Fort Duquesne at Carlyle House in Alexandria. In April 1755, the governors of Virginia, and the Provinces of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York met to determine upon concerted action against the French in America. In March 1785, commissioners from Virginia and Maryland met in Alexandria to discuss the commercial relations of the two states, finishing their business at Mount Vernon. The Mount Vernon Conference concluded on March 28 with an agreement for freedom of trade and freedom of navigation of the Potomac River. The Maryland legislature, in ratifying this agreement on November 22, proposed a conference among representatives from all the states to consider the adoption of definite commercial regulations. This led to the calling of the Annapolis Convention of 1786, which in turn led to the calling of the Federal Convention of 1787. In 1791, Alexandria was included in the area chosen by George Washington to become the District of Columbia. A portion of the City of Alexandria---namely known as "Old Town"--- and all of today's Arlington County share the distinction of having been originally in Virginia, ceded to the U.S. Government to form the District of Columbia, and later retroceded to Virginia by the federal government in 1846, when the District was reduced in size to exclude the portion south of the Potomac River. The City of Alexandria was re-chartered in 1852.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, a British fleet launched a successful Raid on Alexandria, which surrendered without a fight. As agreed in the terms of surrender the British looted stores and warehouses of mainly flour, tobacco, cotton, wine, and sugar. From 1828 to 1836, Alexandria was home to the Franklin & Armfield Slave Market, one of the largest slave trading companies in the country. By the 1830s, they were sending more than 1,000 slaves annually from Alexandria to their Natchez, Mississippi, and New Orleans markets to help meet the demand for slaves in Mississippi and surrounding states. Later owned by Price, Birch & Co., the slave pen became a jail under Union occupation. The City of Alexandria became independent of Alexandria County in 1870. The remaining portion of Alexandria County changed its name to Arlington County in 1920.
Return to Virginia - Over time, a movement grew to separate Alexandria from the District of Columbia. As competition grew with the port of Georgetown and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal fostered development on the north side of the Potomac River, the city's economy stagnated. In addition, many in Alexandria hoped to benefit from land sales and increased business from the federal government, which had no need for the land south of the river at the time. Also, its residents had lost representation and the right to vote at any level of government.
Alexandria was also an important port and market in the slave trade, and there were increasing talk of the abolition of slavery in the national capital. Alexandria's economy would suffer greatly if slavery were outlawed. At the same time, there was an active abolition movement in Virginia, and the state's General Assembly was closely divided on the question of slavery (resulting in the formation of West Virginia some years later by the most anti-slavery counties). Alexandria and Alexandria County would provide two new pro-slavery representatives. After a referendum, voters petitioned Congress and Virginia to return the area to Virginia. The area was retroceded to Virginia on July 9, 1846.
20th century - In 1914, Agudas Achim Congregation was founded. In 1930, Alexandria annexed the Town of Potomac. That town, adjacent to Potomac Yard, had been laid out beginning in the late 19th century and incorporated in 1908. In 1969 and 1976 Pope John Paul II visited Alexandria when he was known as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla. He was guided by a Polish Catholic priest from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria. In 1999 the city celebrated its 250th anniversary.
If you would like more information about this area please fill out the form below