This week marks the anniversary of the great Del Ray mule stampede

The newsletter This Week in Alexandria’s History frequently includes interesting tidbits of Alexandria lore, and this week, the Office of Historic Alexandria’s newsletter highlighted a strange 19th-century incident in the city’s Del Ray neighborhood.

The neighborhood was once home to the St. Asaph Racetrack, a horse racing facility in an area known as the Town of Potomac. The track started operations in 1894 and, in 1898, was the scene of a stampede of U.S. Army mules housed at the site during the Spanish-American War.

According to the newsletter:

On August 2, 1898, nearly 200 mules stampeded as they were transported from their corral at the St. Asaph racetrack to Washington, D.C. They were frightened by a passing freight train and it took several hours to recover them following the stampede. These were among the thousands of mules that the U.S. Army housed at the old racetrack stables during the Spanish-American War.

The track was also home to an infamous gambling operation and was closed for good in 1905.

Image via George Potter/Unsplash