ABOUT seven miles from Washington, down the Potomac, is the ancient city of Alexandria, which was founded in 1748, and for some years was called Bellhaven. In its early days it was a thriving port and had a large foreign trade. The Virginia planters shipped great quantities of tobacco and flour from its wharves, and received supplies for their plantations. Its warehouses, most of which are now empty and dilapidated, were then filled with goods, and for a time it was an important commercial rival of Baltimore. So thrifty and enterprising was the town, so promising seemed its future, that it was even proposed to locate the national capital in it. But the promise of its youth was never fulfilled, and today it is chiefly notable for what ” might have been.”
The city lies on the sides of a range of hills, and is in the centre of a fertile agricultural district. It has nearly fifteen thousand inhabitants, one-third of whom are colored. The city hall is in a fine building used in part as a public market, and there are a number of large business structures. An object of interest is Christ Episcopal Church, erected in 1765, which was attended by General Washington, who was a member of its vestry.