Historic Preservation

Historic Alexandria is a treasure trove of early structures, artifacts, and records that creates a unique way of life for its citizens and provides enjoyment for thousands of people who visit this special community every year. The City continues to add resources to its collection of local and nationally designated historic districts.

Page updated on Feb 22, 2019 at 1:39 PM

Historic Districts/100 Year Old Buildings

Historic DistrictThe Old and Historic District, established in 1946, is the third oldest historic district in the United States. The historic African American community known as Uptown was designated as the Parker-Gray Historic District in 1984. Owners wishing to make exterior changes to buildings in the historic districts must present their plans for approval to the  Board of Architectural Review in the Department of Planning and Zoning.  

Historic Preservation Throughout Alexandria

Historic Alexandria Association plaqueHistoric Preservation in Alexandria is not limited to Old Town. More than 40 Alexandria districts, sites, buildings and structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Preservation of African American Sites

Fort WardThe Parker-Gray Historic District, in the northwest quadrant of Old Town, encompasses the historically black Uptown neighborhood. Nine African American historic sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including churches, slave trading sites, and homes. City parks and museums also preserve African American sites and history.

Red BrickPreservation Easements

An historic preservation easement is an agreement, set forth in a legal document recorded in the city's land records, which allows the donor to retain ownership and possession of an historic site or structure while granting to a trusted preservation organization the authority to protect its historic features.

Major Preservation Projects

Freedmen Cemetery MemorialCity of Alexandria laws and policies help to protect historic and archaeological resources during development. The following are some recent and ongoing preservation projects. 

Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery

Fort Ward Park

Potomac Yard

The Waterfront

Del Ray

George Washington Memorial Parkway

History of Alexandria

History of AlexandriaDuring its long history, Alexandria was a tobacco trading post, one of the ten busiest ports in America, a part of the District of Columbia, home to both the largest slave-trading firm in the country and a large free-black community, a Civil War supply center for Union troops, and a street-car suburb for Federal workers. Alexandria was also the hometown of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Jim Morrison and Mama Cass.