Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
—Welcome City of Alexandria 1749 —
Originally, Market Square was little more than a scruffy field where housewares, foodstuffs, animals, meat and local farm products would be sold to local townspeople or those coming to Alexandria from its rural hinterlands. The area was also used for other purposes, such as the sale of African slaves imported through an established process of global trade, and the mustering of local militias to maintain the town's security and military order in the region. But the late 18th century, the square itself began to be developed with permanent structures and buildings, providing a premier location for prospering shops, taverns and warehouses, which often included a residence for their owners.
By the start of the Civil War, buildings framed the block fronts of the square, with the marketplace reduced in size to an interior courtyard accessed by two small alleys. Sharpskin Alley connected the mid-block space between North Royal and North Fairfax
Until the mid-20th century, commercial activity at Market Square businesses thrived as Alexandria maintained its role as Northern Virginia's most important urban center. However, by the 1950s, development of new residential and commercial centers in outlying suburban areas caused Alexandria's downtown to decline. Within the next decade, a large urban renewal project was implemented to revitalize the downtown business district, resulting in the demolition of dozens of buildings to recreate the openness of the original public square. Instead of an open field, the current brick plaza and fountain serve as the focal point of a new, modern Alexandria, and a multi-level parking garage is provided beneath this public square.
The Old Town Farmers' Market has been held year round each Saturday morning at the Market Square for more than 260 years; George Washington sent his produce from Mount Vernon to be sold at the market. In fact, Old Town Farmers' Market is the oldest
Erected by City of Alexandria.
Location. 38° 48.281′ N, 77° 2.611′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of King Street and North Royal Street, on the right when traveling west on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Electric Railway (a few steps from this marker); Site of First Services of the Salvation Army (a few steps from this marker); Gadsby's Tavern Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Memorial Fountain (about 300 The Ramsay House (about 300 feet away); Edgar Warfield (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named The Ramsay House (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alexandria.
Categories. • African Americans • Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 2, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.