Statues of Alexandria's Old Town
Alexandria has numerous interesting statues from the historic Confederate soldier statue in he center of an intersection to the sculpture of a colonial tri-cornered hat that is part of a water fountain. Here are some of the statues I have discovered:
Confederate Soldier - Officially named the Appomattox Memorial, this statue of an unarmed Confederate soldier stands in the center of the intersection of Prince and Washington Streets in Old town. The statue was placed in 1889 at the spot where the soldiers from Alexandria had left for the war in 1861. The statue was designed after a painting of a Confederate soldier observing the battlefields after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
The Pharmacist - This statue was based on a Norman Rockwell painting of the same name, that portrys a pharmacist mixing drugs while a young boy watches and chews on his scarf. It is on Daingerfield Road near King Street Metro at the entrance to the National Community Pharmacists Association building.
The Tri-Cornered Hat - The odd little statue is integrated into a water fountain. There is a tri-cornered hat resting on the top near the bowl of the fountain, and there are children's hands cupped together to form a bowl for pets.
The Shipbuilder - This statue in small Waterfront Park is of a shipbuilder holding a hammer. It is a reminder of Alexandria's nautical past.
What is a Half Storey?
Look for the half-stories in the Revolutionary War era houses in Old Town. This way, the residents didn't have to pay tax on the extra floor. There are also some half houses. This is a typical landmark house in Alexandria. Note the cobblestones.
Huntley Meadows is a gigantic...
Huntley Meadows is a gigantic wildlife refuge right in the middle of greater Alexandria. The park has a visitor's center, several walking/biking trails through the woods, and an extensive boardwalk over the wetland and marsh area that allows visitors to observe birds, turtles, frogs, and other wildlife up close and personal. To get to Huntley Meadows, take Route 1 south from Olde Towne several miles until you reach Lockheed Blvd. Turn right at Lockheed and go about half a mile, until you come to a deep bend in the road. At the bend, turn left into the park entrance.
One block off King Street and 3 blocks from the waterfront, this store is mostly ladie's clothing of an artsy nature. They also specialize in Mexican and Guatemalan gifts, nativity sets, and Day of the Dead artifacts. A real funky little store crammed with interested finds.
Alexandria's Slavery History
Alexandria has kind of a split personality in dealing with its history of slavery and racial equality. Alexandria was home to the Franklin & Armfield Slave Market, one of the largest slave trading companies in the country, and they sent some 1,000 slaves a year to Mississippi and Louisiana. On one hand it recognizes this dark past by maintaining various historical markers, numerous buildings, and even a new museum that is planned. One the other hand it celebrates hometown heroes such as George Washington and Robert E Lee, as well as other pro-slavery figures like Jefferson Davis and the town's Confederate soldiers. It's a delicate balance that will never make everyone happy. As long as the issues are presented fairly, people really can't argue the approach to preserving history, good and bad.
I have visited Franklin and Armfield Office at 1315 Duke Street that was a slave trading holding area from 1828 to 1861. During the war the Union Army took over Alexandria, the slave trade in the city was ended, and this building became a prison for captured Confederate soldiers... that could be called karma, irony, or maybe even called poetic justice.
The Alfred Street Baptist Church is just a block or two from my apartment, and was founded in 1818. This is known as the city's oldest African American church. Alfred Street Baptist Church is located at 313 South Alfred Street in Alexandria, Virginia.
Other sites in Alexandria recognizing and commemorating the black community include Beulah Baptist Church, Bruin's Slave Jail, Dr. Albert Johnson House, George Lewis Seaton House, Moses Hepburn Rowhouses, and the Odd Fellows Hall.
A plaque in front of the Franklin and Armfield office states, "Isaac Franklin and John Armfield leased this brick building with access to the wharves and docks in 1828 as a holding pen for enslaved people being shipped from Northern Virginia to Louisiana. They purchased the building and three lots in 1832. From this location Armfield bought bondspeople at low prices and shipped them south to his partner Franklin in Natchez Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana, to be sold at higher prices. By the 1830s, they often sold 1,000 people annually, operating as one of the largest slave-trading companies in the United States until 1836. Slave traders continuously owned the property until 1861."