Archaeology of the 500 Block of King Street
Urban Archaeology on Alexandria's Main Street
500 Block of King Street (south side)
In 1967, two thirds of the 500 block (south) of King Street were demolished as part of the King Street Urban Renewal Project undertaken by the City of Alexandria. A parking lot occupied the empty space until the fall of 1977, when construction of a new Courthouse and an underground parking lot were due to begin. The 500 block south redevelopment was the last of six urban renewal projects planned by the City of Alexandria.
Located on Alexandria’s main street, the inhabitants of the 500 block lived and worked in the commercial and political core of Alexandria. Since its first occupation in the 1780's, the block was characterized by social, economic, and ethnic diversity. From rich merchants to widowed wives to enslaved peoples, archaeologists uncovered the artifacts of a decidedly eclectic community.
This site was excavated in 1977 by former City Archaeologist Pamela J. Cressey, along with staff and volunteers. The work was funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Amanda Iacobelli worked with Dr. Cressey to cull through field records, artifact catalogues and historic research, to provide this summary of the archaeology and history of the block.
The Archaeology Project: Site 44AX1
- Project Overview
- Digging the Block
- Excavation Summaries
- Feature 5 (C), 518-520 King Street
- Feature 6 (D), 522-524 King Street
- Feature 7 (B), 104 S. St. Asaph Street
- Feature 14, 522-524 King Street
- Feature 17 (X), 121 S. Pitt Street
- Feature DD, 108-110 S. St. Asaph Street
- Feature LL, 108-110 S. St. Asaph Street
- Feature PP, 108-110 S. St. Asaph Street
- Feature QQ, 106 S. St. Asaph Street
- Feature VV, 112-114 S. St. Asaph Street
- Feature AAA (Y), 508-512 King Street
- Images: Urban Renewal in Action
- A Musket in a Privy
People on the Block
- William Halley, Millstone Maker. 508-512 King Street (Feature AAA).
- Adam Lynn Jr., a Prominent Merchant in Alexandria. 518-520 King Street (Feature 5).
- Ann Buckland, “Gentlewoman”. 104 S. St. Asaph Street (Feature 7).
- The Miller Family: Quakers and Merchants. 108-110 S. St. Asaph Street (Feature LL).
- Harriet Williams, Independent Enslaved Woman. 112-114 S. St. Asaph Street (Feature VV).
- Samuel Lindsay, insurance agent. 104 S. St. Asaph Street (Feature 7).
- A Legacy of Shoemakers. 508-512 King Street (William Morgan, Feature FF and Peyton Ballinger, Feature KK).
- Lewis McKenzie, First Mayor of Alexandria. 522-524 King Street (Feature 6).
- German and German-Jewish Immigrants. 518-520 King Street (Feature 4 and Feature HHH), and 522-524 King Street (Feature 6).
The site of the Alexandria Courthouse, on the 500 block of King Street, was the last of the six Urban Renewal blocks to be excavated in the 1960s and 1970s. The following publications and unpublished papers can be read by appointment at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.