Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
City of Alexandria Est. 1749
The Powder House structure was built in a rural area far outside Alexandria in the late 18th century due to the dangers associated with the storage of gunpowder in populated areas. In January 1791, the Common Council passed an ordinance notifying the inhabitants of Alexandria that "...a house is now ready for the reception of powder under the care of Mr. John Yost..." and required that all gunpowder be deposited at that location within one week. Seven months later, a more permanent structure was required and in July of the same year the Council offered a contract to construct "...a powder house on ground belonging to Charles Alexander, Esq. near the Rope Walk. The building is to be made of brick 16 feet wide, 30 feet long, 10 feet high in the clear and 18 inch walls. The bricks may be made on the spot."
The wood-frame Carver School was built at the same location in 1944, under the auspices of National Defense Housing Act of 1941. Under federal funds offered during World War II, the school operated as a segregated school for African American children. By February 1946, when federal support began to decline, the two professional teachers at the school, Lucille G. Smith and Velma D. Leigh, were notified that they must assume all janitorial duties at the school including cleaning the building and maintaining the furnaces each day. When it became clear that white instructors working in other Alexandria schools were not subjected to this order, the teachers resigned within several days. The school closed in 1950 and the building became the William Thomas branch (Post 129) of the American Legion, named after the first African American to die in battle during World War I. By 2010, the building was vacant and neglected and was finally preserved in 2014 after a close call with demolition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans Education • War, World I. In addition, it is included in the Virginia, The City of Alexandria series list.
Location. 38° 48.349′ N, 77° 3.14′ W. Marker is in Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of King Street (Virginia Route 7) and North Fayette Street, on the right when traveling west on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1131 King Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Port City (within shouting distance of this marker); Capt. James McGuire House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); James Harris House (about 400 feet away); Alexandria, D.C. (about 600 feet away); Carver Nursery School / Post 129 (about 600 feet away); L’Ouverture Hospital (about 600 feet away); Freedom House Museum (about 700 feet away); L'Overture Hospital HQ (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Old Town.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 87 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 31, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.