Long a backwater spot, a fin-shaped parcel of land north of Old Town was put on the map about fifteen years ago. Old Town Greens sprung up north of Slaters Lane, a new neighborhood with townhomes and condos, some within earshot of the blaring horns of Metro cars and CSX trains.
Where commuter traffic zips by on Slater’s Lane, Rustico restaurant and Buzz Bakery anchor a small selection of retail. Early on, talk on the street wondered if the businesses - sitting on the outer edge of Old Town’s density and in a cubby-holed location - could make a go of it?
A few small businesses have come and gone, but the above-mentioned anchors have thrived. On a typical weekday morning, Buzz, pardon the expression, buzzes with customers nursing Lilly-brand coffee and their eyes buried in their laptops. A food market next door has upped their game with breakfast and tables.
On the north side of the neighborhood lies the future site of the Potomac Yard Metro. The station’s construction will impact the nature trails and the wetlands. From what I can determine, however, this impact will be small. The overall beauty seems like it will be maintained.
Old Town Greens is a unique neighborhood. It has to deal with the sounds of planes, trains and automobiles, but its hard borders, the tracks and the GW Parkway, serve as protectors. The wetland trails are a nice bonus, as are its anchors.
For historical purposes, it would be cool if the city keeps this sign even after the trains no longer use the track. It might be the only one left in the city.
The set of markers on the wetlands is terrific.
We recommend one for the Daingerfield family. Their estate was located on the future site of this neighborhood. As Harold Hurst points out, the Daingerfields were one of the leading mercantile families in antebellum Alexandria.
Captain Bath Daingerfield arrived in Alexandria around 1800. His three sons were Henry, John and Edward, who earned fame as shipping magnates. Henry distinguished himself as one of the largest property owners in the seaport. He also co-found the Mount Vernon Cotton Manufacturing Company, which was recently remodeled into residential. The family had a beautiful brick home next to the Lyceum on South Washington Street. It was demolished during the urban renewal process in the 1960s.
Currently, there is only one historical marker for the Daingerfields.
Swann-Daingerfield House, 712 Prince Street
Swann-Daingerfield House, built in 1802 by Thomas Swann, purchased in 1832 by Henry Daingerfield and enlarged. St. Mary’s Academy 1889-1943, restored in 1978 by Mr. and Mrs. Hugh E. Witt.