Great Civil War Photograph of Alexandria

We dug up a great old photo of Alexandria from a distance the other day, and found another gem at the Library of Congress.

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View of Alexandria, Va., showing new engine house in which sixty engines can be stored in working order
View of Alexandria, Va., showing new engine house in which sixty engines can be stored in working order

What do you recognize in this photo?

Source: Library of Congress

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  • kevinmcd

    Assuming this is taken from the Old Dominion Boat Club deck? Looks like the Friendship Firehouse cupola in the top right, with the Christ Church spire just North.

  • ET

    Christ Church is more obvious than it was in the other photo but I don’t Alexandria now or historical to ID the other spire (don’t think it is Washington St. or Trinity). There is a long building with arched windows that looks church-ish.

    I see a 229 Restaurant 229 sign with a saloon next door. I wonder if the Athenaeum is in this frame but hidden/unidentifiable

    Interesting US Military Railroad Cars which seems to be related to that long wooden barn like building in the center. Another photo from LC from around that time but from a different angle.

  • rick

    I love this photo. Can you find anymore of NW DC, possibly Columbia Heights during the same era?

  • Brent

    Looks like the spires are City Hall and Christ Church. Here’s the reverse angle today….

  • Not sure but I think the large building middle left with three arches was Grace Church on 200 block of S. Patrick. The congregation moved in 1940s, and the church was turned into condos.

    This is a tough one because of the angles.

    This railroad round house spread out around Duke and S. Henry. They left a few feet of track near the NW corner of Rt 1 South and Duke Street. The Old Town Village’s pool house is shaped like the roundhouse. And Roundhouse Lane is an obvious nod.

  • Jim Mackay

    This photo was most likely taken from the rooftop platform erected on the Orange & Alexandria RR roundhouse during the Civil War, and is facing roughly NE. The long wooden buildings in the right foreground are locomotive sheds built by the US Military Railroad, which was created during the war to organize and administer rail transport for the Union Army during the conflict. The large building in the center distance is definitely Grace Episcopal Church, which still stands on Patrick St. in Old Town, though the facade was changed years ago. The spire to the right of the church is the old steeple and bell tower of the Friendship Firehouse on S. Alfred St., which had to be partially dismantled in the early 1870’s due to structural problems. To the right of that is the steeple of Christ Church.