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Thread: Tuesday Tidbits - Biking-Related Factoids & History in the DC Area

  1. #31
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    I have ridden past that urn hundreds if not thousands of times and never stopped to look at it closely.

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  3. #32
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    Made a Cuban Friendship Urn visit. First I pretended that it was a trophy to my bike for doing so many HP laps.



    It has a nice depiction of the sinking of the Maine on the back.



    It's also been poorly repaired. Looked like someone went to Home Depot and got a bag of Quickcrete. I can't imagine it lasting too many more years if it remains outdoors.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  5. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post

    It has a nice depiction of the sinking of the Maine on the back.
    No one did fake news like Hearst!

  6. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    No one did fake news like Hearst!
    This is an example of a yellow monument.

  7. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    Made a Cuban Friendship Urn visit. First I pretended that it was a trophy to my bike for doing so many HP laps.



    It has a nice depiction of the sinking of the Maine on the back.



    It's also been poorly repaired. Looked like someone went to Home Depot and got a bag of Quickcrete. I can't imagine it lasting too many more years if it remains outdoors.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I know where it is now! Thanks again to our emerging historian bobco85 for reminding us!

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  9. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    It has a nice depiction of the sinking of the Maine on the back.
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    No one did fake news like Hearst!
    The USS Maine sank in 1898 as a result of the explosion. In 1911, the US patched up the remains of the ship including the mast so it would float and performed a Navy burial at sea, so the depiction could be of that ceremony.
    Last edited by bobco85; 08-09-2017 at 07:46 AM. Reason: misworded a few things

  10. #37
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    Thanks for posting the photo of the rear, I'd never thought to peek back there! One of the masts of the Maine is at Arlington Cemetery, and one of the 6"/30 cal. guns is at the Navy Museum, I think.

  11. #38
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    Default Civil War Cemetery Finds Its Freedom

    Located a block from the Mount Vernon Trail at the corner of Church St and Washington St in Alexandria lies the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery (seen here: https://goo.gl/maps/Ejxy7Y1Cv8M2). But even as recently as 20 years ago, one would never have known it existed. (Pics of entrance and historical marker)
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    During the Civil War, the Union occupied and controlled Alexandria. Many slaves who had been freed came to Alexandria, and the influx of people created a refugee crisis. They were called Contrabands because slaves were considered property and contraband refers to goods that have been illegally imported/exported a.k.a. smuggled. Poverty and disease led to many deaths.

    In January 1864, the federal government established a cemetery for freedmen, their families, and, for a time, black veterans (in 1865, they were moved to Alexandria National Cemetery) on land seized from a pro-Confederate owner. Graves were marked with a whitewashed wooden grave marker. It is estimated that around 1,800 people were buried at this site, over half of which were under the age of 16. Burials stopped in 1869 when the government abandoned the property and original owner reclaimed the land. (Pic of grave information sign)
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    After the original owner reclaimed the land, the cemetery became forgotten, and groups started to encroach on the cemetery grounds. In the 19th Century, the Alexandria Brick Company eroded the dirt from the west edge of the cemetery, and the Manassas Gap Railroad overlapped a portion of the cemetery. After 1948, the cemetery location was no longer marked on a city map. Then, in 1955, a gas station, an office building, and parking lots were built on top of the cemetery. In 1961, construction of I-95 impacted the south edge of the cemetery. Things were not looking good for the cemetery.

    Then, in 1987, City of Alexandria historian T. Michael Miller rediscovers an 1894 Alexandria Gazette article referencing the cemetery, and an effort is started to turn it into a memorial park. The Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery forms in 1997 “for the purposes of preserving, commemorating, and researching a little-known Civil War-era African-American burying ground in Old Town Alexandria” (from their website: http://www.freedmenscemetery.org/). Archaeological studies and excavations then occurred from 1996 to 2007 finding many graves and even some Native American artifacts. The gas station and office building were eventually demolished in 2007.

    A rededication ceremony was held on May 12, 2007, and a design competition was held for the memorial. Eventually, on September 6, 2014, the memorial was completed and became open to the public. You can still see the base of a wall on the north side of the former office building, and the walking area at the memorial is on top of the gas station’s concrete because removing both would cause further disturbances to the graves. (Pics of information sign that can be read on Church St and aerial images of the area)
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    Last edited by bobco85; 08-15-2017 at 11:50 AM.

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  13. #39
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    Thanks Bobco--the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery was my favorite stop on the Alexandria history ride last Saturday. I must have seen it a hundred times when biking in Alexandria, but never knew exactly what the memorial was.

    For those of you who haven't checked it out, you need to. The sculpture is incredibly moving, and the full memorial and space is beautiful.

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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    Located a block from the Mount Vernon Trail at the corner of Church St and Washington St in Alexandria lies the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery (seen here: https://goo.gl/maps/Ejxy7Y1Cv8M2). But even as recently as 20 years ago, one would never have known it existed. (Pics of entrance and historical marker)
    I'm looking forward to visiting. Erin and Robyne both said that this was a great stop on the Alexandria History ride.

    The history of the site reminds me of Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois which was the largest known Native American settlement in North America. The site had several of the mounds destroyed and used as fill dirt and a housing subdivision and a drive in movie theater built on top of it at one point. One of the mounds is known as "Boy Scout Mound" because a metal tent spike was discovered during an archeological dig.

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