One of King Street’s greatest commercial buildings was built by one of Alexandria’s most beloved citizens. Edgar Warfield, Jr. was born in 1842, and at the age of 18 he co-founded the “Old Dominion Rifles,” a Confederate militia that served in the Civil War. After the war ended, he returned home to find his hometown in economic ruin. Undeterred, he supported former Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s commitment to help reunify the nation, and became a druggist, with a pharmacy on the opposite corner of North Pitt Street.
In 1906, Warfield replaced his small drugstore with a larger commercial/residential building, pictured in this 1949 photo. The three-story Warfield Building contained space for the pharmacy on the first floor, with luxurious flats above. Warfield prospered at his new site until his death in 1934, as the last Confederate veteran from Alexandria.
By 1950, King Street was the main retail center in Northern Virginia, with shops and department stores housed in buildings dating from as far back as the late 18th century. However, within a decade, the area began to deteriorate as new highways and suburban shopping centers developed nearby. By 1965, the once bustling thoroughfare was largely vacant, and an “urban renewal” project replaced six blocks of the historic downtown core, including Warfield’s grand edifice.
Where to find this sign
In Old Town, mini kiosks are located at designated intersections along King Street, Cameron Street, and the Waterfront to provide an orientation for pedestrians.
This wayfinding sign is located on King at the corner of N. Pitt Street. (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)