New Alexandria Homes For Sale in Alexandria, VA
Located in southern Alexandria is New Alexandria—a neighborhood that never quite materialized in the way it was envisioned. Situated along the Potomac River, it is often associated with its larger neighbor, Belle Haven. This is due to New Alexandria’s tiny size of about 150 homes. But those homes are quite attractive and highly sought-after. And, the community itself has an intriguing if oft-interrupted history.
The land that makes up New Alexandria comes from one of the oldest grants along the Potomac River coastline—a 500-acre parcel recorded in 1658. The land patent changed hands numerous times until the New Alexandria Land and River Improvement Company bought it in the 1880s and packaged it with adjoining parcels to form a total of 1600 acres of prime territory. The company had a million dollars in funding—a staggering sum in that day. The plans were grand indeed.
The Washingtonian, Alexandrian and Mt. Vernon Railroad was completed in September 1892, featuring a streetcar capable of speeds up to 30 miles per hour, and running from Washington, DC to New Alexandria. Next came the platting of 500 acres for residential development with lots ranging from one to five acres, plus 200 acres set aside for industry and another 800 designated for parkland and future development. Three streets paved with stone and four city blocks were laid out.
The Deis Company which produced furniture was built, and a wooden basket manufacturing company also moved in. A fancy hotel, a grocery store, a post office and the first 12 houses quickly followed. But in December 1892 the Deis Company went up in flames. The company rebuilt but the town itself never really took off. Some additional cottages were constructed but there were other setbacks—a deep water channel was dredged but soon filled with silt, and the streetcar line eventually went out of business. The New Alexandria Company went bankrupt in 1924. About 800 acres of land were subsequently sold at auction and were developed as the Belle Haven Country Club.
The two factories and the hotel eventually closed and were torn down for scrap. And in 1932, the George Washington Memorial Parkway was commissioned, passing over some of the streetcar tracks.
The New Alexandria story might have ended there, but in fact, it didn’t. More homes were developed and sold in a lengthy and gradual process, from the mid-1930s all the way to the 1970s. There’s also a few newer custom homes, although those have been built on a very limited basis. This is an area that tends to feature luxury properties, including older homes that have been renovated and enlarged.
Today, the community exists as the land that time forgot—at least to most outsiders. But there’s a well-organized New Alexandria Citizens Association, local coffee shops, organized events and a few historical remnants. Those include four of the original railroad homes, as well as some sections of the old streetcar track that remain inside the country club grounds. Residents can stroll to the shared amenities in Belle Haven, including a sailing marina, a shopping center and the country club. There’s also the river itself and the Mount Vernon Recreation Trail.
To learn more about a community that flies under the radar, call District Partners at Compass, (202) 798-3600.