The Historic Alexandria Waterfront

Learn about the waterfront of historic Alexandria with the resources below.

Page updated on Jan 10, 2016 at 12:32 PM
Pioneer MillsAlexandria Waterfront, May 1865. Courtesy Alexandria Library, Special Collections. 

The Alexandria waterfront has an extensive history. While much has been written about various aspects of maritime history and activities on the waterfront, there is not one easy source from which to acquire information. The materials assembled here include research projects by Alexandria Archaeology staff and volunteers, as well as members of the Alexandria Archaeological Commission, about historic buildings, places and preservation planning tools such as GIS maps. These studies are not intended as the definitive history of the waterfront but are part of an ongoing program to study the complexities of Alexandria’s maritime heritage and to preserve historic resources. Links and references are also provided to additional sources that are particularly helpful in understanding the historic waterfront.

  • Archaeological Discoveries on the Waterfront. As waterfront development proceeds, Alexandria Archaeology will update this web page to provide photos and possible interpretations of the archaeological finds as they are unearthed on the waterfront projects. The excavations have the potential to elucidate many themes significant to the city’s history and to unearth evidence of early wharves and piers, derelict vessels, early industries, and commercial and domestic activities.
  • Studies of the Old Waterfront. Researched studies of events, people, and buildings important to the history of the waterfront.
  • Historic Buildings and Places on the Waterfront. History and images of historic buildings along the waterfront.
  • Maps of Sites and Historic Buildings on the Waterfront. Maps of the current Alexandria waterfront with historic sites and buildings noted.
  • First-Person Accounts of the Historic Waterfront. Descriptions of Alexandria by travelers span nearly three hundred years from the early 17th century to the early 20th century. These observations of life that have been recorded are the closest we can get to the reality of the historic town. The combination of different perspectives and observations presents a cohesive timeline of Alexandria during this three-hundred-year period and effectively illustrates the history and culture of the town.
  • Alexandria Waterfront History Plan . The Alexandria Waterfront History Plan (December, 2010) was prepared by the Alexandria Archaeological Commission as a general framework and direction for the City's Waterfront Plan.