19 March 2016

Winter Walk-Off

This year, I stayed in Old Town Alexandria again where my office is located. There are more interesting things to photo. I took most of my walk on the south side of our main street -- King Street. The streets through the town center are named after royalty: King, Queen, Princess, Duke, and Prince Streets. Oddly, there is no Duchess Street.

Mostly historic architecture is included this year (taking a cue from our walk-off host), on what was the more affluent side of town, where homes are brick (instead of wood), and are three stories (instead of two). All photos were taken with my cellphone -- a first (and a test) for this blog.

To be well read, visit this local dress shop before your next dinner party.

Stabler Leadbeater Apothecary Shop is now a museum, but provided compounds and cures for years -- like to George Washington. Love the unique curved glass in the windows. On a tour, I remember seeing containers labeled "Dragon's Blood" and "Hound's Tooth." (I could not find eye of newt or wing of bat.) A curator mentioned that some compounds were unknown or labeled with strange names, and that no one today knows what they are, where they came from, or what they were used for. This 'drug' company operated until the 1900s when the newly formed FDA began requiring disclosure and regulation of ingredients in pharmaceuticals (and proof that they were effective.)

Someone lost his head outside an antique store (in the hell strip).

Fire fighting was very important in an urban early America. Fire fighting companies were private and in competition. The one-bay station house to the left of the main fire station was home to the "Relief Fire Company." This was one of several fire companies in town.

This plaque tells the story ... of a building across from the firehouse. The building is in the left-center of the photo below.


Two blocks away, another firehouse, the Friendship Firehouse is now a museum.

This was building was entrance to (what else) the Elks Club, and is now full of condos.

Fawcett-Reeder House, privately owned, with the rural-like setting, might have been built before the more urban townhomes in town. (Can't get the blasted street signs or cars out of the photos.)

And here is another spite house. The most famous one in town was profiled in a previous year's walk-off. Look for the door to the basement ice chamber.

Examples of the wealthy homes built in the 1800s. Most are in an Italianate style -- fitting the more conservative residents.

This is one of my favorites -- but the owners were probably outcasts and snubbed for building such a highly decorative, flamboyant house - a MacMansion of the time.


Gentry Row is a block of townhomes built by wealthy merchants. Brick paving in the street is cool.

Captain's Row is a block with many homes built by wealthy sea captains. This street, a bit older, is paved with cobblestones.

This museum is a stunner. It was originally a bank, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood at the end of Gentry Row -- before zoning regulations.

Stinky, dirty, smelly warehouses were found down near the river near the docks and wharfs.

They are now full of restaurants and shops.




A newer building near the river marks the water elevation. The river is at sea level, and does flood. When severe, water comes up into the lower streets and buildings. In recent years, this happens more frequently.
2015 Walk-Off
2014 Walk-Off
2013 Walk-Off

Hope you enjoyed your history lesson and tourist promo. Visit other winter walk-offs with Les at A Tidewater Gardener.

15 comments:

Les said...
Hello Ray, thanks for walking with me another year, especially since you are showing architecture - one of my favorite distractions. I am still amazed that Old Town managed to survive what has happened to the rest of northern Va. We certainly have our own flood issues here, unfortunately there are no hills nearby for retreat, so at some point the whole city is likely to get very wet.
Marilyn Kircus said...
You are responsible for me learning something new today. I had to go look up "spite hours". You are also responsible for providing me with a very interesting read with wonderful visuals
Linda said...
Thanks for sharing your walk! I grew up near Alexandria; it's a great town!
Swimray said...
Marilyn,
Thanks. I always enjoy reading blogs where I learn something, so I am glad you did, too.

Linda,
Hope this brings back some good memories.

-Ray
Swimray said...
Les,
My understanding is that Alexandria was a very declining city and did not have much money for demolition and urban renewal, much like the town in which I went to college, Troy NY. As a result, a lot of the historic buildings remain intact.
Ray
Sarah Laurence said...
What a gorgeous town! I appreciated your lovely photos and funny asides. You are lucky to have such historic architecture near your office.
Shirley/Rock-Oak-Deer said...
What a fun tour of a town I thought I knew well from having lived nearby for a number of years! I have seen all those buildings but sometimes forgot to pay attention to the history.
sweetbay said...
Alexandria is a beautiful town. I love the look of the wide brick sidewalks and the streets that are paved with brick and cobblestones.
Swimray said...
Sarah,
Thanks. Your town was very enjoyable, too.

Shirley,
Sometimes I forget the history too when I see it every day.

Sweetbay,
Sidewalks in a few places don't seem very wide, and cobblestone streets are murder to drive on in a car, but nice to look at.
Casa Mariposa said...
I haven't been to Alexandria since last summer. It's one of my favorite towns to wander in. Thanks for the tour! :)
Jennifer said...
Cell phone cameras have sure come a long way. Excellent photos! I loved seeing all the historic buildings and the beautiful architecture.
Swimray said...
Jennifer,
I now have a new camera, but can't figure out all the settings yet (except automatic), so I used a cell phone. I must be patient - the new camera settings will be learned.
Ray
Linda said...
I love Alexandria and lived there for decades before moving to the country. Thanks for the tour.
Lori said...
I enjoyed our tour and look forward to seeing some of these buildings on my next visit to Alexandria.
Swimray said...
Thanks Linda & Lori. Hope your future visits are enjoyable.
Ray