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ALXnow answers your questions about Alexandria… kind of

Landmark Mall demolition in progress (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

Earlier this week, ALXnow launched a survey for readers to provide feedback on the site. At the same time, we asked on Twitter if anyone had questions they wanted answered about Alexandria.

We’re here to provide and update on that — but both questions had pretty vague answers that will require a little more digging.

The first question was about the name for Landmark.

We asked the Office of Historic Alexandria but there doesn’t seem to be much information on why the name Landmark was specifically chosen.

We did, however, find that Landmark Mall originally opened as Landmark Center in 1965 — a large open-air shopping center with three department stores. It wasn’t until 1984 that the center was renovated and turned into the indoor Landmark Mall.

The second question was about Taney Avenue, which is split in the middle by Taney Avenue Park.

City Historian Dan Lee said Taney Avenue did, indeed, run through where the park is today. The when and why is still unclear.

A staff report from 2016 said the “when” at least was possibly in 1976:

In December 1976, 2.58 acres of land was conveyed to the City of Alexandria to be used as Taney Avenue Park by Davis Mortgage Company and the Prudential Insurance Company of America as part of a subdivision related to the development of the Shirley-Duke Apartments, now known as the Foxchase Apartments.

A Washington Post article from the time noted that the entire area was closed down and the families in the low-income housing were evicted. After this, the neighborhood was demolished and rebuilt, which may have been when the park was created as part of a plan to turn the area into a “middle-class development”.

We’ll keep digging into this after the long weekend, but in the meantime, if anyone else has questions about Alexandria or ALXnow they’d like answered in a future post, leave them in the comments below.

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