As part of my Old Town outing yesterday, I stopped by to take a look at, "The Asher," a mixed use under construction at 621 N. Payne. Talked with two supervisors there, wearing requisite hard hats and handsome smiles.
Upon learning I blogged Alexandria history, one of them, who grew up in the area, said, “We found a railroad track during the dig, and incorporated into the sidewalk.”
Heart leaping, I thanked him with a big grin and appreciative looks. In other places, this might not have happened. Alexandria Archaeology, recognized nationwide as a leader in such things, has forged great relationships with construction and architectural firms.
The other manager said there will be two commemorative markers erected. (More heart leaping.)
Anyway, took some photos, and found the dig document on the web. This part of Alexandria was slow to develop and thus rarely gets covered by the historical community. From time to time you see something about "Colross," which was located where "The Monarch" is now at the corner of Route 1 South and Oronoco. The document has photos with arrow guides, a real bonus, and info about the Alexandria & Fredricksburg Railroad, which ran along Fayette.
This northwest part of Old Town was an afterthought in the early days of Alexandria. The Hopkins City Atlas from 1877 shows nothing there except the layout of streets and the railroad line. A Century and a half later, this part of the city is at the dawn of a new era, one that will not forget its roots.