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Thread: Alexandria Historical Bike Ride (No Drop Ride)

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post
    Wait... Is there a Duck Donuts at Bradlee?!?!?!?!
    In the space that used to be Pro-Feed pet supplies?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starduster View Post
    In the space that used to be Pro-Feed pet supplies?

    I think the space that used to be Crave Froyo, and was an ice cream place before that.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by streetsmarts View Post
    It opened recently! I'm not a big fan..esp. since I have Sugar Shack so close to home.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    I have never had their (Duck) doughnuts... But I am willing to ride my bike the mile to Bradlee and check it out!

    I have had Sugar Shack and I am REALLY glad the closest locations are not on a regularly traveled route for me.

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  5. #14
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    I'm excited for Saturday, and I'm hoping for great weather (current forecast shows high of 85 (F) and 30% chance of isolated storms).

    I just finished creating my notecards for the ride.


    If you need to reach me, my cell is #571-201-7189. See you Saturday!

    (Edit: the notecard should read 1865 not 1875; my notes had the correct date, but I mistyped when I did the notecard.)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by bobco85; 08-09-2017 at 07:08 PM. Reason: typo on notecard

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  7. #15
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    I'll be there for the first part of the ride unless thunderstorms are nearby. looking forward to it!

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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  9. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by streetsmarts View Post
    I'll be there for the first part of the ride unless thunderstorms are nearby. looking forward to it!

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
    I went through my route and found places along the way for the group to take shelter should we encounter any storms. The way the forecast looks, any storms will be brief. Should storms bring additional delays, I have shortcuts we can use to make up time (the shape of the route allows for this).

    I will bring my rain jacket which will surely ward off any storm clouds (that's how it works, right?)

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  11. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobco85 View Post
    I will bring my rain jacket which will surely ward off any storm clouds (that's how it works, right?)
    Yes - that is exactly how it worked for the Purple line ride...

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  13. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LhasaCM View Post
    Yes - that is exactly how it worked for the Purple line ride...
    I should add the following corollary to my hypothesis based on today's events: being prepared for potential thunderstorms by having a rain jacket works in warding off said thunderstorms.

  14. #19
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    Default History Notes - Part 1 of 5

    Thank you, everyone, for coming on my ride today! We managed to ward off all thunderstorms and attract some bits of sunny blue sky, and this time we were able to visit all 34 stops! Sadly, a mechanical failure (completely stripped pedal on a tandem) caused an early departure for a few, but the rest of us soldiered on. I'm tired, throat a bit sore, and sunburnt (wasn't expecting so much solar goodness a.k.a. harmful UV radiation), but very happy to have this experience with everyone.

    That said, here are my notes on the ride that y'all must study because I may quiz you someday


    • Stop #1 - Windmill Hill Park
      • Alexandria
        • Named for John Alexander who purchased the land that would become Alexandria
        • Established in May 11, 1749 by the Virginia Assembly to form a town around a tobacco warehouse at Hunting Creek
        • Originally called Belhaven by a few prominent citizens for 12 years, but the name did not stick (there are old maps referencing "Belhaven formerly known as Alexandria" and "Alexandria or Belhaven")
        • In 1800, it became part of the District of Columbia under boundaries formed after the 1790 Residence Act
        • In 1847, Alexandria County (included both Alexandria and Arlington) was retroceded back to Virginia
        • In 1863 when West Virginia joined the Union, the capital of Virginia switched from Wheeling to Alexandria (7 counties in Northern Virginia and the Eastern Shore were Union-controlled, and Richmond was the capital of Confederate Virginia)
        • In 1865 when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered and the Confederacy was dissolved, the capital switched back to Richmond
      • Virginia
        • Named after Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen
        • Was the name given to all of North America in the early 1600's that was not claimed by Spain or France
      • Windmill Hill
        • Named for a wind-powered water mill built by John R. Remington from Alabama that occupied the sandy bluff in 1843
        • Used to be much steeper, but the bluff was carved out for safety
        • Established as a park in 1945
      • Occupation of Alexandria during the War of 1812
        • On August 20, 1814, the British sent ships from the Chesapeake Bay to attack Washington to distract from a northern attack, but the fleet was delayed due to navigating the tricky Kettle Bottom Shoals near the mouth of the Potomac River
        • August 27, Fort Washington (the last defense for Alexandria) went down quickly after 4 hours of bombardment as Captain Dyson spiked its guns and blew up the fort and its magazine (3,000 pounds of gunpowder) before retreating; he was then court-martialed
        • August 28, Alexandria (no defenses, all troops had been pulled back to DC by President James Madison) sent its mayor on a boat under a white flag to surrender the town
        • August 29, Alexandria became occupied by Captain James Gordon of the HMS Seahorse (38 gun frigate) and his fleet (2 frigates, 2 rocket ships, 2 bomb ships, 1 schooner) for 3 days
        • British gained 22 merchant ships and vast quantities of flour, cotton, tobacco, wines, and cigars
        • The delay from navigating the Potomac River back to the Chesapeake Bay led to a delay in the British attack on Baltimore which allowed American forces to set up their defenses and win that battle (same battle that inspired the creation of "The Star Spangled Banner")

    • Stop #2 - Pioneer Mill
      • Pioneer Mill Grain Warehouse was built in 1854 by William Fowle (Alexandria Steam Flour Company) at the end of Duke Street
      • It was 6 stories in height and one of the largest steam flour mills in the US, powered by a 250 horsepower steam engine that turned a dozen run-of-burr millstones and produced 800 barrels each day
      • Grain would arrive via both ships and trains
      • Went into ruin after it was not used in the Civil War and burned to the ground in a major 1897 fire
      • The Robinson Terminal Warehouse Company built a warehouse (Robinson Terminal South Warehouse) in 1939 on the former site of Pioneer Mill, but now that is being taken down for new development

    • Stop #3 - Ramsay House
      • Ramsay House
        • Built in 1724, traditionally referred to as the oldest house in Alexandria
        • Now the Alexandria Visitor Center
      • William Ramsay
        • Scottish merchant, one of the founders of Alexandria
        • First mayor of Alexandria

    • Stop #4 - Carlyle House
      • Carlyle House
        • Stone mansion built in 1753
        • Used by General Braddock as his headquarters during the French & Indian War
        • Became used as a hotel by James Green, then used by Union troops as a hospital during the Civil War, went into disrepair, then became an apartment building, then a museum during WWI, then apartments again, finally restored in 1970-1976 by NOVA Parks for part of nationwide bicentennial celebration
      • John Carlyle
        • Scottish merchant, one of the founders of Alexandria
        • Married to Sarah Fairfax, cousin of the 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron

    • Stop #5 - Market Square
      • Market Square
        • George Washington led his troops to fight in the French & Indian War from here
        • Rallies were held for both Union & Confederate soldiers & sympathizers
        • Slaves were sold here along with other goods
        • Held the public whipping post
      • Sophia Browning Bell
        • Slave woman who sold goods in Market Square
        • Earned enough money to free her husband George Bell in 1801
        • Helped establish the first school for black children in DC
      • Gadsby's Tavern
        • Oldest building that has been preserved and restored in Alexandria
        • Mary Hawkins was the proprietor of this tavern
        • George Washington frequented the tavern that served primarily upper class people

    • Stop #6 - East Coast Greenway Midpoint
      • Greenway was launched in 1991
      • 3,000 mile route running from Calais, ME to Key West, FL
      • Over 30% of the route is on firm-surface trails
      • Oronoco Bay Park is at the midpoint of the Greenway

    • Stop #7 - Tide Lock Park
      • Alexandria Canal
        • Built in 1833-1843 to connect Georgetown to Alexandria
        • 7 miles long, 50 feet wide, ran along Eads St, Commonwealth Ave, & Washington St
        • Used to ship coal (most important), wheat, corn, flour, whiskey, fish, salt, & lumber
        • Responsible for the economic rebirth of Alexandria in the mid-19th Century
        • 4 lift locks lowered boats 38 feet to the Potomac River
        • Ended operation in 1886, towpath was used to build an electric railway
      • Canal Center
        • Features "Promenade Classique" sculpture garden created by French artists Anne & Patrick Poirier

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  16. #20
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    Default History Notes - Part 2 of 5

    It's kinda cool, as I type these notes I have memories of each of the actual stops that we did on the ride today. Good times were had!


    • Stop #8 - Charles Houston Recreation Center
      • Charles Hamilton Houston
        • Civil rights lawyer and Dean of the Howard University Law School
        • Died before Brown v. Board of Education SCOTUS case was ruled
        • Mentored Thurgood Marshall
        • First special counsel for the NAACP
      • Parker-Gray School
        • Founded in 1920 to combine the Snowden School (boys-only) and Hallowell School (girls-only) for grades 1-8, named for principals of previous schools
        • Black students used to have to travel into DC for education past 8th grade
        • 1st students to graduate from the new high school (11th grade) in 1936
        • Renamed to Charles Houston Elementary School in 1950 when the new Parker-Gray High School was built
      • John Parker - principal of Snowden School which was destroyed in a fire in 1915
      • Sarah Gray - principal of Hallowell School
      • Earl Lloyd - student at Parker-Gray, first black person to play in NBA (3 other black players debuted in that same season, but the team Earl was on had its season opener earlier than the others)

    • Stop #9 - Alexandria Black History Museum
      • Robert H. Robinson Library
        • Constructed in 1940 after a court agreed that black citizens should have access to a library after Samuel W. Tucker's sit-down strike
        • Became the Alexandria Black History Museum in 1983

    • Stop #10 - Lee-Fendall House
      • Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee
        • Cavalry officer in the Continental Army during the American Revolution
        • Served as the 9th governor of Virginia and a representative to US Congress
        • Gave the eulogy at George Washington's funeral, famously saying of Washington: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
      • Robert E. Lee's Boyhood Home
        • Across the street, Robert E. Lee left from here to attend West Point
        • The home also hosted George Washington
      • Lee-Fendall House
        • Built in 1785, 37 members of the Lee family called it home until 1903
        • Housed hundreds of Union soldiers during the Civil War
        • Owned by the Downham family and later by John L. Lewis (1937-1969)
      • John L. Lewis
        • Foremost national labor leader of his time and very controversial figure
        • Worked as a coal miner at age 16
        • Worked with the United Mine Workers Association and organized coal mine strikes across the country

    • Stop #11 - Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library
      • Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library
        • Constructed in 1937, formerly known as the Alexandria Library or Queen Street Library
        • Named for Kate Waller Barrett, a humanitarian, social crusader, and political reformer who founded a shelter for unwed mothers
      • Samuel Wilbert Tucker
        • Attorney who orchestrated the 1st sit-down strike on August 21, 1939 that involved 5 individuals (Otis L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, William Evans, Clarence Strange)
        • After Samuel and retired Sergeant Wilson requested a library card and were refused, they took the issue to court
        • Samuel had the 5 kids tried separately, boiled down to their race being the only issue, charges were dropped
        • Became the leading attorney for the NAACP in Virginia and crusaded against segregation in public schools

    • Stop #12 - Beth El Synagogue
      • Established by ~40 Jewish families on September 4, 1859
      • Rented facilities until building the first synagogue in the DC area in 1871

    • Stop #13 - Eugene Simpson Stadium Park
      • On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, a man opened fire on Republican members of Congress who were practicing for a charity baseball game
      • House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (Louisiana) was critically injured during this event, but has been doing much better as he recovers

    • Stop #14 - Potomac Yard
      • Potomac Yard
        • Opened in 1906, was 450 acres, 2.5 miles long, and had 52 miles of track
        • Employed up to 1,500 people at its peak, people settled in Del Ray and St. Elmo neighborhoods
        • Closed in 1982, was declared a Superfund site, cleaned up by 1998, then converted to parks, commercial, and residential areas
      • Pearson Island
        • First settled by Native Americans, it was technically an island because it was surrounded by a swamp and a creek
        • Later named Daingerfield Island
        • Was modified to bow out toward the East to deflect ebbing currents toward the main river channel and away from the Southern half of the island
        • National Park Service has had a tree nursery on it for over 60 years

    • Stop #15 - Preston
      • John Alexander and his wife lived in a spacious dwelling on the site of current-day Barnes & Noble
      • In 1808, the Washington Turnpike passed by Preston
      • Destroyed by a fire in 1862, it was graded over for development

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