The base of the Appomattox statue has resurfaced atop Confederate graves in Alexandria.
More than two years ago, the Appomattox statue was removed from Old Town by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). The base was moved into Bethel Cemetery last summer, while the statute itself reportedly remains in storage.
Bethel Cemetery owner James Clink wants the statute and base reunited atop the graves of 10 members of Col. John Singleton Mosby’s Rangers and 15 soldiers of the Confederate States of America (CSA) 17th Virginia Regiment from the Alexandria area.
Clink has been working with the UDC to get the statue moved to the cemetery, and had the base of the statue moved in last summer. He has also installed a number of security cameras around the base.
“Personally, I’d like to see it up there myself,” Clink told ALXnow. “It’s a piece of history. Right now it’s somewhere in a warehouse in storage. They won’t say where, just that it’s in a big crate.”
Appomattox was erected by the Robert E. Lee Camp at the intersection of Prince and S. Washington Streets in 1889 and depicted an unarmed CSA soldier facing south with his head bowed. The names of CSA soldiers from Alexandria who died in the Civil War are carved on the base of the statue.
Fruitless attempts were made to remove the statue over the years and multiple drivers crashed their cars into it. The statue was toppled once by a crash in 1988. After getting the go-ahead from then-Gov. Ralph Northam in 2020, UDC quietly removed the statue.
Mayor Justin Wilson says before it was removed, City Council wanted it to be relocated to either a cemetery or museum.
“We did say all along that we felt it belonged in a museum or graveyard,” Wilson said. “This sounds like an issue for the private property owner to work through.”
Neighbor Diane Devendorf lives near the cemeteries and finds the Appomattox statue and its base offensive.
“I think that it’s very disrespectful to place that statue there without any regard for the families that have loved ones surrounding the location,” Devendorf said. “There are traditional African American cemeteries right up the street and there is no way to get to them without passing what will be the Appomattox eyesore.”
Bethel Cemetery is part of the Wilkes Street Cemetery Complex, which is a collection of 13 cemeteries located near the Carlyle neighborhood. More than 35,000 people are buried in the cemeteries, including previously enslaved men and women, U.S. Colored Troops, thousands of Union troops and CSA troops. There are nearly 11,000 people buried at Bethel Cemetery, which was founded in 1885 and remains an active cemetery.
The cemeteries were founded in the early 19th century in response to a Yellow Fever epidemic that resulted in more than 300 deaths, according to David Heiby, who conducts tours at the sites and is the caretaker of Douglass Cemetery.
The following lists the 13 established cemeteries in the area and the years they were founded:
- Penny Hill Municipal Cemetery (1796)
- Christ Church Cemetery (1808)
- Trinity Cemetery (1809)
- St. Paul’s Cemetery (1809)
- The Presbyterian Cemetery and Columbarium (1809)
- Alexandria National Cemetery (1862)
- Methodist Protestant Cemetery (1829)
- Home of Peace Cemetery (1857)
- Union Cemetery of the Washington Street Methodist Church (1860)
- Bethel Cemetery and Little Bethel Cemetery (1885)
- African American Heritage Park (1889)
- Douglas Memorial Cemetery (1895)
- Agudas Achim Cemetery (1933)
More than 200 people have signed a petition against ABC Virginia opening a new location on S. Washington Street in Old Town. At the same time, another Change.org petition has gotten about 75 signatures in support of the new liquor store.
A Change.org petition from “Southwest Quadrant Neighbors” has garnered more than 200 signatures, with petitioners complaining that the location at 825 S. Washington Street is “ill-suited as it is located in the middle of a tight-knit residential neighborhood, close to several schools and family and child-oriented establishments, and is without dedicated parking for ABC to secure.”
Virginia ABC is considering the 3,000-square-foot building for a new store, and posted a notification for public comments for two weeks.
“We have received comments both in favor and against the proposed location,” Valerie D. Hubbard, a senior public relations specialist with Virginia ABC, told ALXnow. “We do not have a lease agreement currently.”
Hubbard said that Virginia ABC weighs a number of factors when determining the location for new stores and expanding customer access.
“These include a location’s demographics, traffic patterns, rental rate and population density,” she said. “It also considers the distance of a location to existing stores, sales at those stores, tenant mix at the shopping center, and the accessibility and deliverability to the location. This process has led to the creation of 398 stores throughout the Commonwealth, with 92% of Virginians living only 10 minutes from a Virginia ABC store.”
Those petitioning against ABC moving into the 3,000-square-foot property say that there are four other ABC stores located within two miles of 825 S. Washington Street. There are, in fact, three ABC stores within two miles of the proposed location.
The nearest ABC stores are at 501 Montgomery Street in Old Town North (1.4 miles away), at 3161 Duke Street (about 2.6 miles away), at 5940 Richmond Highway (about 1.4 miles away) in the Huntington area of Fairfax County, and at 1524 Belle View Boulevard in Fairfax County (about 2 miles away).
Opponents say that the new store will result in a crime increase, are “not neighborly,” and will result in decreased parking and increased traffic, but proponents say that there are no ABC stores on the southern section of Old Town.
“It’s a long walk to the north side store that is inconvenient and puts one at risk to other crimes,” states the pro-ABC store petition.
The Alexandria Housing Development Corporation has been rebranded as “Housing Alexandria.”
No official word on the name change has yet to be released on AHDC’s website, but residents at its numerous properties were notified via email. Additionally, Housing Alexandria’s 14-story Park Vue apartment complex (511 Four Mile Road) in Arlandria has been renamed “The Square at 511.”
Housing Alexandria says that the strategic rebranding will mean a rollout of new logos.
“Along with this change in the company name, we will also adopt new logos to fully express our initiative of continued improvement,” Housing Alexandria told residents. “The re-branding, however, shall not affect the manner in which we operate our business, as well as the organizational structures of the company.”
The City of Alexandria website has also recognized the new name in its listing of affordable housing partners.
The rebranding is part of the organization’s 2021-2025 strategic plan, as it pursues “a brand that differentiates us from our peers and helps us more clearly express our values.”
“AHDC residents and community members will be able to identify our brand and work more efficiently,” the nonprofit said in the plan. “Increased presence will yield more community advocates, resident voices, and financial support for AHDC.”
Housing Alexandria is developing a 500-unit affordable housing complex at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and Glebe Road in Arlandria as well as an affordable homeowner development on Seminary Road.
Updated at 6 p.m. Old Town residents and business owners are up in arms for not being officially notified of a route change for the George Washington Birthday Parade on Feb. 20 (President’s Day).
The parade will shut down large sections of Old Town North and Old Town near the King Street-Old Town Metro station, restricting parking and vehicular access for residents and businesses. The parade will start at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Pendleton Street and Fayette Street, and marchers will walk south down Fayette Street, hang a right on King Street and then end at the foot of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial at King Street and Commonwealth Avenue.
The new route was chosen by the volunteer-led the George Washington Birthday Parade Committee to recognize the 100th anniversary of the parade, which is the biggest annual parade celebrating George Washington in the world. The parade is traditionally held east of Washington Street near City Hall in the Old Town Historic District, but this year’s event will commemorate the construction of the Memorial in 1923, which saw then-President Calvin Coolidge, Chief Justice William Howard Taft and Virginia Governor E. L.Trinkle laying the cornerstone.
In November, the Committee submitted a request to the city to change the route. That request was approved on Jan. 24, and two days later parade organizers publicly announced that the parade will happen on Feb. 20, and that a number of side streets will also be closed.
“As with any large-scale event of this magnitude, a months-long process was necessary to assess the best approach,” Ebony Fleming, the city’s director of the Office of Communications and Public Information, told ALXnow. “While we are honored our city is home to such notable celebrations, we recognize how changes, and even temporary road closures, can be an inconvenience to our residents and business owners, especially on a holiday weekend. We will continue promoting the new parade route and ask impacted Alexandrians for their grace and flexibility as we prepare to welcome excited visitors for this historic occasion.”
The parade will be held between 1 and 3 p.m., and parking restrictions and access will be lifted no later than 5 p.m.
“If it’s such a big deal — the 100th anniversary — don’t you want to let people know?” said an Old Town resident who will be affected by the parking. “I haven’t heard anything about this parade at all.”
Parade spokesperson Bud Jackson said that the new route is a one-time experience, and acknowledged the inconvenience for residents and businesses. Jackson said that parade volunteers will soon be going door-to-door to inform those affected about the change.
“Like most parades, the George Washington Birthday Parade has always included portions of residential neighborhoods and inconvenienced some businesses,” Jackson told ALXnow. “We acknowledge that this year’s one-time only parade route change will inconvenience some residents and businesses.”
But many residents and business owners are either unhappy about the late notice or unaware of changes to the route.
“Certainly the organizers knew it was the 100 anniversary of this event for quite some time,” a business owner told ALXnow. “Perhaps even for the last 100 years. Why did the City allow them to change the route well after event permits were submitted and approved? Why were impacted residents and businesses not notified? Would a for profit organization like Pacers be given the same leniency? I don’t think so.”
The parade will also restrict vehicular access to a number of housing complexes, including The Asher (620 N. Fayette Street), The Henry (525 N. Fayette Street), The Prescott (1115 Cameron Street), 1111 Belle Pre Apartments (111 Belle Pre Way), as well as Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority properties.
“I didn’t know about (the new parade route) and none of the residents that I spoke with knew about it either but I haven’t heard any complaints,” said Kevin Harris, president of the ARHA Resident Association.
Another Old Town business owner said they will be losing up to $7,000 in business.
“We already have events and staff scheduled for February,” the business owner said. “Federal holidays are typically huge retail sales days. This will be a $5,000-to-$7,000 hit on our business. This is why notifying impacted businesses is required in the permitting process.”
Parade traffic and parking restrictions
While the parade starts at Pendleton and N. Fayette Streets, all parking on nearby side streets will be cleared by 9 a.m., according to organizers.
- The bridge at King Street and Commonwealth Avenue will be cleared by 5 a.m.
- All vehicles parked on the street will be towed between the 100 and 900 blocks of N. Fayette Streets (at the intersection with Braddock Place)
- All vehicles parked on N. Payne Street will be towed
- All vehicles parked on N. West Street from the intersection at King Street to Princess Street will be towed
- All vehicles parked on Queen Street and N. Fayette Street
- All vehicles parked on Princess Street, starting at the intersection with N. Fayette Street and going down to the intersection with King Street
- Traffic will be shut down (except for residents) on King Street to Janneys Lane
- Traffic will be shut down on Callahan Drive (except Amtrak station traffic and buses)
- Traffic will be shut down on Diagonal Road and portions of Daingerfield Road (except buses and local traffic)
- Traffic will be shut down on Sunset Street, Russell Road and Cedar Street near the intersection of King Street and Commonwealth Avenue
A 23-year-old Lorton man was charged with driving while intoxicated after allegedly crashing into four cars in Old Town.
The crash occurred near the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Three people suffered minor injuries and went to the hospital, and the driver was released later that day.
The driver failed a field sobriety test, refused medical attention and admitted to police that he drank four Modello beers before the crash, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.
“I shouldn’t have driven tonight,” the suspect allegedly told police, according to the search warrant affidavit.
The suspect was charged with driving while intoxicated (first offense) and goes to court on Feb. 2.
Map via Google Maps
The Alexandria Fire Department confirmed that fire alarms in a high-rise West End apartment building didn’t go off during a two-alarm blaze on Saturday and residents say they were notified to evacuate by the property manager via text message.
Residents were notified of a fire on the fourth floor of the Pavilion On The Park building at 5340 Holmes Run Parkway at around 10 a.m., which was the same time that the Alexandria Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.
“The fire alarm system did not function at the time of the incident,” AFD confirmed to ALXnow. “Upon further investigation, fire marshals determined that the system had been shut off by the main power switch. The switch was turned back on and the alarm system reset and restored to service. Fire marshals instructed management to have the alarm system checked to ensure there are no faults or malfunctions.”
Property manager Rosewood Management could not be reached for comment.
The fire started at around 10 a.m. in a closet in unit 414, an empty three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment that sold last month. Flames and smoke quickly spread to the fifth and sixth floors. Residents tried to activate a number of fire alarm stations in the building, but none of them worked, according to multiple residents.
“It’s incredible,” said one resident. “The fire alarm didn’t go off and we got a text from the building telling us to evacuate.”
The fire was deemed accidental in nature, with “probable cause determined to be spontaneous ignition from discarded rags and painting materials,” according to AFD.
One person was injured due to a “physical hazard” at the scene and was treated at the hospital for a non-life threatening injury, according to AFD. It is not clear the exact number of affected residents being relocated, and Rosewood Management is not assisting with their relocation, according to AFD.
“This was a condominium, so residents are making their own relocation arrangements as needed,” AFD said.
After the blaze, unit 414 was condemned, and apartments 114, 214, and 314 (directly below unit 414) were deemed uninhabitable due to water damage. Rosewood later texted residents at around 7 p.m. that it would be testing the fire alarm and there was no need to evacuate.
The Fairfax County Fire Department assisted AFD in extinguishing the blaze.
Notification:: There are traffic detours near and around the 5300 block of Holmes Run Parkway. This is in response to a fire in the area. APD and @AlexandriaVAFD are on scene. The fire is reported to be under control. pic.twitter.com/3bWW6fCyxb
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) January 28, 2023
A 25-year-old Alexandria man faces multiple charges after being found with a stolen car and allegedly running away from police earlier this month.
The car owner told police that someone must have entered his unlocked apartment and gotten the keys to his 2015 white Honda CRV between midnight on Jan. 1 and 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, according to a search warrant affidavit. The Honda owner then checked a GPS tracker, which showed it parked a mile-and-a-half away in the 5600 block of Derby Court in the Mark Center area.
Police went to the address and found the male suspect getting a black jacket out of the backseat of the stolen Honda. The suspect “took off running” when he saw police, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Police could not confirm whether the suspect arrested was the same as the person who stole the car.
“(The officer) was unable to find any information on who stole the vehicle at this time and (the suspect) was not currently driving the vehicle when it was located,” police said in the search warrant affidavit.
The suspect was arrested and charged with driving on a suspended/revoked license, public intoxication, entering a stolen vehicle, preventing law enforcement from making an arrest and possession of Schedule I/II drugs. He was released from jail on Jan. 6 on a $2,500 unsecured bond and goes to court on Feb. 23.
Map via Google Maps
After 15 years, Bloomers (924 King Street) is moving to a new location on King Street in the first week of March, it’s owner tells ALXnow.
Bloomers owner Nicole White says knew that the lease her shop at 924 King Street was expiring in 2023 when she bought the business in 2018.
The 1,500-square-foot space at 706 King Street is the former longtime home of Crown Wigs, which closed last year. It’s located next door to Village Brauhaus (710 King Street) and directly across the street from Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub (713 King Street).
“We’re more than doubling our footprint,” White told ALXnow. “We’re excited to have more space, expand our bra lines and brands and provide a great experience for people.”
Bloomers was founded by Kim Putens in 2008. By 2013, she had locations in Old Town, Shirlington and Georgetown, but the growth was short-lived. In 2014, Putens announced she was closing the Georgetown shop from lack of business, did not renew the lease on the Shirlington location and consolidated everything into the Old Town shop.
White says customers are tired of being comfortable, and that strapless bras and shapewear are selling out, reversing a years-long trend of customers working from home and needing loungewear.
“We had a crazy run on strapless bras this summer, because everyone was going to events,” she said. ” We didn’t sell a single strapless bra during the pandemic. It’s funny how things have turned back around.”
White is reopening the shop sometime in the first week of March, and said that customers should follow the Bloomers Instagram page for updates.
As for her long-term aspirations, White said she hopes to continue running a business that personally fits women with bras.
“I just want to be able to continue being a brick-and-mortar store in a digital world,” she said. “To really get a proper bra that fits, you need to come in person, so we hope to be able to do that for a long time.”
A 28-year-old Woodbridge man is being held without bond for allegedly cutting a man with a knife in the West End on Sunday morning, Jan. 15.
The incident occurred just after midnight in the 1400 block of N. Beauregard Street, near the William Ramsay Recreation Center. The 45-year-old victim was cut with a sharp object and treated at the scene, police told ALXnow.
The suspect, Mateo Amaya, knows the victim and was arrested that day and charged with malicious wounding, according to police.
“A weapon was recovered (in connection to the incident),” Alexandria Police Department spokesperson Marcel Bassett told ALXnow. “Nothing was reported stolen.”
Amaya goes to court for the offense on February 17.
Map via Google Maps
The Alexandria City Council could be signing a lease tonight for the new ‘West End City Hall‘.
The council is scheduled to review a 10-year lease agreement for the future home of the city’s Department of Community and Human Services at 4850 Mark Center Drive tonight (Tuesday). If approved, the City’s Health Department’s lease for the Redella S. “Del” Pepper Community Resource Center would go into effect on March 1.
That initial agreement was for a 15-year lease, and would go into effect in February. The term has since been reduced to a decade. If approved by City Council, the Health Department would pay the landlord, which is the City, $1.8 million in rent every year, or $158,000 per month.
Council will review the lease agreement at its meeting tonight.
“The facility will include the Department of Community and Human Services, the Alexandria Health Department, Neighborhood Health, and a West End Service Center with a Permit Center, Finance Department transaction functions and limited Clerk of Court services,” according to the city.
The 270,000-square-foot property also includes an adjacent 800-space parking garage.
The article previously stated that the Institutes for Defense Analyses owns the building. It is, in fact, owned by the city, which bought it from IDA.