As noted before, I’ve started in on a second edition of “River to Rails.” I will be looking inside public buildings, adding any new markers, and expanding the coverage for a mile or two beyond the two historic districts. As with the first edition, I will post the occasional preview.
Today we head over to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro and Hoffman Town Center area (the National Science Foundation will build their new place at the parking lot you see in the photo) to take a look at this area’s prior uses. We’ve talked a bit about this before, but it’s worth repeating.
In the 1730s, Cameron, a crossroads and trade village, sprung up along the north side of Great Hunting Creek, about a mile and a half west of the Potomac River. Cameron was what we call today a logistical hub. The waters of Great Hunting Creek were deep enough to allow access to the Potomac River. The Potomac Path and the inland road from Colchester converged on the south side of the creek. Iron horses would later chug beside the waterway on their way to and from Alexandria and the Piedmont farms and towns of Virginia.
By 1822, Alexandria was the fourth largest flour exporter in America (“Alexandria Master Plan for Historic Preservation.”) Farmers also produced flour for their own uses.
Two mills were located here. One later became a pumping station for the Alexandria Water Company.