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Remembering the Highlights of 2005

In 2005, there were plenty of good events to be remembered. Among those were a series of anniversaries, celebrating and commemorating events and activities in the city's history.

In 1855 seven Alexandria firefighters lost their lives in one of the city's most devastating blazes. This event was the central theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week Memorial Service at Ivy Hill Cemetery.

Complimenting that observance was the 150th Anniversary of Friendship Fire House on Alfred Street. Known as George Washington's Fire Company, it is the home of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association organized in 1774. In recognition of this event, the Christmas tree in City Hall's Vola Lawson Lobby this year was decorated with handmade ornaments from students at Jefferson Houston Elementary School, symbolizing the fire service and firefighters.

Old Dominion Boat Club, at the foot of King Street, marked their 125th anniversary this past year. The club was organized in September 1880 and acquired its first home on May 1, 1881. Its present location was established in 1921.

During the anniversary flag-raising ceremony, Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille promised those in attendance, "We will maintain the Old Dominion Boat Club on the waterfront."

This past fall saw the 100th Anniversary of Alexandria Union Station. Located on Callahan Street, it was once part of an important rail center that included a roundhouse at Duke and Henry streets and one of the largest switching yards in the nation — Potomac Yard.

"Union Station has played a very important part in this city's history, both socially and economically. It remains a very important spoke in the city's continued development," Euille said at the anniversary celebration.

Finally, one of the city's flagship business enterprises celebrated 25 years of not only success but also of involvement with Alexandria.

McEnearney Associates real estate reached $1.5 billion in sales in 2005 and hope to surpass the $2 billion mark in 2006.

Just short of 80 years old, John McEnearney, founder, owner, president and CEO of the real estate brokerage firm is still at the helm of this firm, which is one of the most successful in Northern Virginia. He has created a "management team" that ensures a seamless transition to the future.

Some of the other remembrances of 2005 include the retirement of Mike Connor as the city's chief fire marshal after 40 years of service; the appointment of William North-Rudin, a Del Ray resident and native New Yorker, as the city's new Town Crier; and the untimely sudden death at 59 of Fay Elbert "Deac" Heath who served as Alexandria's harbormaster for 20 plus years.

Residents didn't forget those who suffered catastrophic loses in 2005. Fundraisers occurred for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with residents of all walks of life volunteering to serve in the disaster areas. This generosity was topped off by the Alexandria Transit Company donating six buses to the New Orleans Transit Authority.