Historic Alexandria Foundation Celebrates 50 Years

Historic Alexandria Foundation Celebrates 50 Years

The Historic Alexandria 2004 Antiques Show was held last weekend in the Commonwealth Center at the Holiday Inn Suites on First Street. The annual event benefits The Historic Alexandria Preservation Fund and The Alexandria Academy Restoration.

This year The Historic Alexandria Foundation (HAF) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Incorporated on Oct. 12, 1954, HAF was formed “to preserve, protect and restore structures and sites of historical and architectural interest in and associated with the City of Alexandria, to preserve antiquities, and generally foster and promote interest in Alexandria’s historic heritage.”

HAF president, Dr. Morgan D. Delaney noted that 50 years ago, “[Alexandria] was a different town then, not so prosperous, and not a particularly desired address in the Washington area. What was remarkable was that the entire early town had survived nearly intact, with complete streetscapes of 18th and 19th century structures. Most of the old buildings were run down; many were derelict.”

The newly formed foundations first project was a comprehensive survey of all the early buildings standing within the city. Architectural historian and Mount Vernon curator, Worth Bailey and professional photographer, Russell Jones were employed to “document every old building in downtown Alexandria.”

HAF board member and lawyer Ethelyn Cox volunteered to research the deeds and establish construction dates of the early structures. A synopsis of this inaugural project was published much later in 1976 as "Historic Alexandria: Street by Street."

HAF also initiated a “plaquing” program for historic buildings.  The program continues today. The foundation continues its preservation ethic through the Historic Alexandria Preservation Fund.