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Upcoming symposium celebrates 293 years of Alexandria’s waterfront history

The Old Town Alexandria waterfront (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Alexandria’s waterfront turns 293 this year and, may we just say, it doesn’t look a day over 200.

A symposium called The Alexandria Forum is returning next month to look back those nearly 300 years of history at the edge of the Potomac River. This year’s theme is The Waterfront Revisited: Birth and Rebirth, 1730-2023.

While Alexandria’s coastline as it exists today wouldn’t be built until a few years later, tobacco warehouses built in 1730 near the river’s edge turned Alexandria into a flourishing port.

The city was officially founded as a city in 1749, two years before Georgetown, and in the 1780s, the city began a massive project to replace the cliffs along the water’s edge with several more city blocks, creating the coastline as it exists today.

The Alexandria Forum will dive into this history, with new information from excavations and more.

According to the release:

The Alexandria Forum is returning! On October 20th, the Office of Historic Alexandria will host this day-long conference, launching with the theme – The Waterfront Revisited: Birth and Rebirth, 1730-2023. The program will be held at the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum and explore the theme of revealing the history of the Alexandria Waterfront through new research lenses, technologies, excavations, and sources.

Presentations will weave together the many strands of historical evidence currently under examination, from deeds to store ledgers, from manifests to material culture, and provide new insights. The event’s keynote speaker is Dr. Abby Schreiber, sharing her recent research on a comprehensive documentary study of the waterfront. Event speakers also include Molly Kerr, Audrey Davis, African American Heritage Trail Committee Members with Committee Chair Dr. Krystyn Moon, Blake Wilson, Dr. Garrett Fesler, Dr. Ben Skolnik, and Dr. Tatiana Niculescu.

The symposium is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum (201 S Washington Street). Tickets are $60 per person, or $40 for Office of Historic Alexandria members, volunteers and students.

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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).

ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.

This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.

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If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!

In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!

We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.

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Submit your own Community Post here.

Family Fun Fall Fest

Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!

This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA

2023 Alexandria Fall Festival

Food trucks, bounce houses, pony rides, magic shows and more at the 2023 Alexandria Fall Festival, an Alexandria Living event presented by The Patterson Group. Join us at River Farm on Sunday, Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


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