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With a land survey completed by George Washington, the Virginia Assembly approved an act on May 11, 1749 which established the town of Alexandria. By 1760 a traveler described the burgeoning city as ''a small trading place, situated on an arch of a large circular bay ... at one extremity of which is a wharf; at the other a dock for building ships." Annexed as part of the District of Columbia in 1791, a young merchant from London commented around this time that "the town was mainly one street, running northeast and southwest ... Wooden houses predominated with a few good ones of brick, but no remarkable buildings worthy of a stranger's attention." Yet, by later in the decade another visitor observed the "vast number of buildings under construction," and declared it "beyond all comparison the handsomest town in Virginia." Positioned at the edge of the Potomac River and at the threshold of the nineteenth century, Alexandria, Virginia, in 1799 stood at the brink of becoming...

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Faculty Mentor

C. A. Centz