Last time we talked about West’s Point, the birthplace of the city. Today, we walk seven blocks southward to the foot of Duke Street to Point Lumley.
Long lost to landfill which covered its shallow cove, one of Alexandria’s most distinguishing features was its two shipping points, West’s and Lumley. Not to worry though, to find these two spots just find the two Robinson Terminal warehouses.
Let’s start out with a map found at the City's Historical Plan. The tip on the line was Point Lumley, named after a captain who moored his ship there. The large building is the South Robinson Terminal. The end point was located about where their offices are now.
With trade prospering, the city trustee’s looked to Point Lumley for further waterfront development. In 1751, they asked John Carlyle to clear out access to Duke Street. Four years later he built a warehouse here.
In 1764, Issac Fleming, shipwright extraordinaire, built “Lumley Point Public Wharf.” Shomette called it a “formidable addition.”
This part of the waterfront continued to buzz with activity. In the boom decade of 1850, when the population of the city swelled from 8,000 to 12,000, residents watched a six-story flour mill rise at the foot of Duke, and located precisely where the warehouse is today. Pioneer Mill (1852-1897) could produced up to 8,000 barrels of flour a day before it went up in flames.
Because it was the birthplace of the city, the commemorative plans for West Point’s are very exciting. Nevertheless, the plans for this area hold much excitement too, and it's my guess they will see more tourist activity. The small park here is run-down and seldom seen, much less used.
Among the recommendations are a permanently berthed historic vessel, interpretive signage for Pioneer Mill and the ship making industry, and of course, making the area pedestrian friendly. Also, public art could be inspired by masts and riggings.
Maritime Alexandria, Donald Shomette
A Waterfront Block from Duke to Wolfe by Ted Pulliam