ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

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ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

 

alexandria5Located along the western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately 7 miles (11 km) south of downtown Washington, DC.

Like the rest of Northern Virginia, as well as central Maryland, modern Alexandria has been shaped by its proximity to the U.S. capital. It is largely populated by professionals working in the federal civil service, in the U.S. military, or for one of the many private companies which contract to provide services to the federal government. One of Alexandria’s largest employers is the U.S. Department of Defense and another is the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Living within the confines of the City of Alexandria, Virginia is a unique experience   unlike many other locales given its rich history and background.   There is always something new to discover about the city on a weekly basis. Given my love of history, I feel quite honored to live in such a town and still learning much about the city and its founding. Many homes and businesses (structures) date back to colonial times and have special designations.

The historic center of Alexandria is known as Old Town. With its concentration of boutiques, restaurants, antique shops andold-town-alexandria theaters, it is a major draw for tourists. Like Old Town, many Alexandria neighborhoods are compact, walkable, high-income suburbs of Washington, D.C. It is the 7th largest and highest-income independent city in Virginia. It also boasts the oldest and continually operating farmers market on Saturdays (which I love going to every week.). There are many activities during the year for just about every taste.   One of the most popular takes place in early December that being the Annual Scottish Christmas Walk which pays homage to the cities Scottish heritage and a fabulous way to ring in the Christmas season for everyone. I’ve always enjoyed going to watch and browse the shops in search of a holiday bargain.

A portion of adjacent Fairfax County is named “Alexandria”, but it is under the jurisdiction of Fairfax County and separate from the city; the city is sometimes referred to as the City of Alexandria or Alexandria City to avoid confusion. In 1920, Virginia’s General Assembly voted to incorporate what had been Alexandria County as Arlington County to minimize confusion.

The addressing system in Alexandria is not uniform and reflects the consolidation of several originally separate communities into a single city. In Old Town Alexandria, building numbers are assigned north and south from King Street and west (only) from the Potomac River. In the areas formerly in the town of Potomac, such as Del Ray and St. Elmo, building numbers are assigned east and west from Commonwealth Avenue and north (only) from King Street. In the western parts of the city, building numbers are assigned north and south from Duke Street. Neighborhoods in Alexandria include Old Town, Eisenhower Valley, Rosemont, The Berg, Parker-Gray, Del Ray, Arlandria, West End, and North Ridge. The population is mixed between a plethora of nationalities and incomes.

As an independent city of Virginia (as opposed to an incorporated town within a county), Alexandria derives its governing authority from the Virginia General Assembly. In order to revise the power and structure of the city government, the city must request the General Assembly to amend the charter. The present charter was granted in 1950 and it has been amended in 1968, 1971, 1976, and 1982.

Kathy Kiefer

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