Unseen Old Town

February’s Unseen Old Town

(Photo and caption: Governor Burke)

Alexandria, VA – Last month’s Unseen Old Town featured a photograph of the beautiful mechanical device called a wheel lift, used to raise an old freight elevator that I discovered recently on the fourth floor of the old Christmas Attic shop at the foot of the 100 block of Prince St.

The former warehouse, called the Norman Fitzhugh building fronts at 125 S Union St., where it has stood since the early 1800s. According to the Office of Historic Alexandria, the building is one of the oldest in the city. Faded signage on the facade of the building suggests its one-time use as a storage for agricultural products and fertilizer.

In the 1960s, the building was used as a warehouse for Interarms, the infamous international small arms and munitions dealer, whose office was across the street. As a child, I once saw a stack of Thompson submachine guns being stored just inside an open door of the building. In more recent decades, of course, it was the beloved Christmas Attic until it closed in 2020.

(Photo and caption: Governor Burke)

Have you noticed this around town? Where is it? What do you know about it?

To see more quirky photos and close-up angles of secret and not-so-secret spots in Old Town Alexandria, jump in with guesses and comments, follow the discussion, and submit your own photos for consideration, join the Unseen Old Town Facebook group!

As for the photo above, we will reveal what it is and where it is in our next issue, along with a new one for you to ponder.

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