New tour explores the lost history of historic black neighborhoods the Berg and Parker-Gray

Parker-Gray School (photo via City of Alexandria)

A new tour will bring locals on a tour around the ‘Lost Buildings’ around the historic Black neighborhoods of the Berg and Parker-Gray.

The Berg is a neighborhood around North Pitt, North Royal and North Fairfax Streets. The neighborhood was founded by liberated Black families who moved to the neighborhood and sought the protection of the Union Army. Many were from Petersburg — thus “the Berg”. Many of the new Alexandria residents worked on the wharves and railroads during the Union occupation of the city.

Parker-Gray was a little to the west and took its name from the Parker-Gray School, which opened in 1920 and commemorated principals John Parker and Sarah Gray.

The neighborhood predated the name, though. Like the Berg, the neighborhood experienced a population surge during and just after the Civil War.

The tour, hosted by the Lee-Fendall House Museum (614 Oronoco Street) and Carlyle Historic Park, will take visitors on a tour to explore how the neighborhood changed and to discuss historic buildings that were not preserved.

“The City of Alexandria has seen older buildings and spaces being restored, preserved, and reused in different ways,” a release said. “However, there were many buildings that were not preserved. Explore the Berg and Parker-Gray neighborhoods of Alexandria and stop at locations where historic buildings once stood.”

The tour starts at the museum every Saturday in May, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Tickets are $20 and tours are limited to ten people.