In Part One, we looked at South Lee Street. Today we turn the corner and walk down Captains Row, the 100 block of Prince Street, a cobblestoned and tree-lined beauty and quite possibly the most photographed block in Old Town.
As much as we revere this block today, this part of Prince Street had humble beginnings. In the early days of Alexandria, the waterline of the Potomac cut across the 100 block of Prince Street at an angle. The north side consisted of just one quarter of a lot, while the south side was just a half lot. George William Fairfax owned the former lot, number 56 as seen in the photo.
Landfill in the second half of the 18th century made it whole, but the Fire of 1827 hit Prince Street hard. But this part of the seaport had too much going for it, just one block south of King Street.
The Davis/Dorsey/Hall book identifies 20 homes on this block. That is possibly the most still standing in Old Town.
Let’s look at some of these homes and in one case, a business.
This corner spot is actually 130 South Union. For the last so many years, residents and visitors have known this as the Christmas Attic. Starting in 1966, it was a private residence. The first occupant was a wharf that extended into the river (because that is what wharfs do…). In the first part of the 1900s, the building warehoused grains.
109 and 111 (no photo)
In his invaluable research, T. Michael Miller notes that Captain John Harper built several houses along the north side of 100 Prince. Cox’s research shows this to be 109 and 111.
Surprise, surprise, surprise -- this is my favorite. 115 is the only home on this block with an historical marker. Cox notes, “house probably built by heirs of Frederick Vaccari.” The current owners have done a splendid job of keeping the colonial touches.
According to the obituary of Vaccari’s widow, Rose, she lived there until here passing in 1858. She lived to the ripe age of 90 and had immigrated from Belfast at age 5. Frederick died around 1828 and was a shipping master. Sailors came to the residence for supplies and a place to sleep. The dwelling was later converted to a grocery.
Another favorite of mine. With its multitude of windows, seems to be in a contest with its neighbor across the street. Cox notes this may have been a “vendue-store” owned by Philip Marsteller.
By the way, as you can see, my write-ups are more of a thumbnail sketch. I believe the city is working on some in-depth looks at the homes. Will try and find out more about that.