Alexandria, VA

There were years of debate and lobbying, Alexandria finally has state authorization to move the Appomattox statue in the middle of the S. Washington Street and Prince Street.

The statue has defenders who say that the statue should not be moved at all. The placement in the center of the street represents the spot where Alexandrians gathered to leave the Union-occupied Alexandria and join the Confederacy. The statue also, pointedly, faces away from Washington D.C. and to the south. While many of the statues being removed across the south glamorize the southern cause, defenders of the statue note that the pose was more solemn.

Opponents of the statue’s location argue that it presents both a traffic hazard and is part of a broader legacy of celebrating both the slavery-supporting Confederate States of America and the lost cause mythos that frequently comprised the bulwark of opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

Plans approved in 2016 suggested moving the statue to the lawn of the Lyceum, a historical museum that sits at the same intersection. The city lacked the authority to move the statue at that time, but Mayor Justin Wilson said those plans for the statue still stand.

Still others have suggested that the public display of the statue still honors the Confederacy, with suggested alternative locations including the bottom of the Potomac River.

So with the statue’s future currently uncertain, do you think the statue should be moved? If so, where?

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Once again, the Confederacy has been handed a defeat in Richmond that sends ripples up to Alexandria.

Alexandria has debated and put plans in place for the Appomattox statue at the intersection of Prince and S. Washington Streets for years, but state law stood in the way of actually making any progress toward removing it.

On Saturday, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill that authorizing localities to remove or alter Confederate monuments, overturning the earlier state prohibition.

The Appomattox statue is owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and commemorates the Alexandrians who left the Union-occupied city from that spot to join the Confederacy. This May 24 marks the 131st anniversary of the statue in Alexandria.

In 2016, the City Council unanimously approved not only recommending that the statue be moved the nearby grassy lot outside the Lyceum, but began advocating the state authorization to do so. Those petitions fell on deaf ears until last November when Democrats took control of the Virginia legislature and breathed new life into the city’s ambitions to eliminate Confederate memorials and iconography.

A driver nearly accomplished the city’s goals in December: crashing into the statue and fracturing its base, but the statue was subsequently repaired.

“It has been the policy of the city for several years now to pursue movement of the statue out of the middle of Washington Street,” Mayor Justin Wilson said. “We have had dialogue with the Daughters of the Confederacy over the past few months and with the enactment of this legislation, we would now work to realize city policy.”

Former Alexandria Mayor William “Bill” Euille got his start protesting against the statue while he was a student at T.C. Williams High School and applauded Northam’s decision.

“I applaud the governor’s action to allow local governments to make the proper decisions on the relocation and removal or placement of Confederate monuments, which is long overdue, but provides an opportunity to correct racial injustice while allowing for inclusiveness in telling a more complete story,” Euille said. “Alexandria has already studied this matter and a citizens panel has made recommendations to the City Council on how to move forward in fairness while protecting our history.”

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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A new deli is in the works for a building on S. Washington Street that was once Union officers’ quarters during the Civil War.

The site is planned to be turned into Delicious Deli Inc., a full-service, 1,600 square foot restaurant. The restaurant will be a neighbor to Ally & Indy Pet Boutique, which shares the ground floor of the double-house.

While the official title in the documents is Delicious Deli, it is also listed as Manna Chicken and Burger in the application. The owner could not be reached for comment.1

In an application for a Special Use Permit, the restaurant was described as a small, eight-seat restaurant. Menu options will include burgers, chicken and sandwiches.

Somewhat less appealing cuisine was likely served in the 1860s, when the then-recently built double-house was used as Union officer’s quarters, then contraband lodging, and later a medical dispensary, according to its listing on LoopNet.

The restaurant is also planning to apply for permits to serve beer and wine on the premises.

Top photo via Google Maps, plans via KMIN Design Consulting

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A few months after telling a pair of local companies to pump the brakes on plans to renovate three Washington Street gas stations, the Board of Architectural Review has approved changes to the facades.

The stations in question are the Shell station at 801 N. Washington Street and a pair of Exxon stations at 703 N. Washington Street and 501 S. Washington Street. There are assorted changes with the stations themselves, but the biggest changes for anyone driving down Washington Street will be the price signs that currently are manually set will be replaced by LED signs that can update as prices change.

At a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 20, the BAR unanimously approved the visual overhauls for the three gas stations on Washington Street.

The companies that own the stations had pushed for bigger and more visible signage at a June 5 BAR meeting, but after discussions with staff, the applicants came back with scaled-down plans.

“Fortunately I was in Italy, but I hear things did not go well,” said David Houston, a lawyer representing applicants NOVA Petroleum Realty and Mount Vernon Petroleum Realty, about the June meeting.

The large, plastic Shell sign will be replaced by a smaller 4’x4′ sign with LED lighting on a brick pedestal. The current 14 and 17-foot signs at the Exxon stations will also be replaced by smaller LED-lit signs.

The Exxon stations will continue to have the company logo prominently displayed, but in response to criticism from staff, other parts of the signage was scaled back. The applicants had also originally requested that the sign be illuminated by external lighting, but later adhered to the BAR request that the signs be illuminated only from the LEDs in the sign.

“I want to thank the applicant for coming back and fully integrating all of the comments,” said Christine Roberts, a BAR member. “They managed to come back and make it 100 times better than what it was.”

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