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Our 3 Favorite Vintage Photographs of Alexandria
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Our 3 Favorite Vintage Photographs of Alexandria

Alexandria holds a special place in our hearts at Old Town Print Gallery, as it is the home of our studio. Located so close to Washington, DC, Alexandria has a long history and is filled with historic landmarks and locations. Vintage photographs of the city allow us to take a look back in time at some of these historic locations that still stand today.

Historic Homes in Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, and in particular Old Town, is home to countless historic homes. These houses date back centuries and are a testament to the enduring appreciation for history. While many of these houses are just regular houses, there are some that have special and unique histories. 

The Infamous Spite House in Old Town, Alexandria

A vintage ford coupe parked in front of the spite house in Alexandria

While there are several incredibly narrow buildings in Old Town, Alexandria, one in particular has gained a widely known reputation. That house is the “Hollensbury Spite House”. There are several theories as to why such a house was built, wedged in between two already existing homes. The most commonly recognized theory is that the home’s original owner, John Hollensbury, built the tiny home in order to prevent damage to the sides of his adjoining home caused by wagon-wheel hubs as wagons passed through the alley in which the house was built. It may have also been in part to prevent people from loitering in the alley adjoining his home. Building the narrow home in 1830 closed off the alley. 

Almost a century later, in 1925, the photograph in our collection was captured. It shows the Spite House, painted white at the time, with a Ford Coupe parked on the street outside. This unique images combines a piece of Alexandria's history with a piece of Automobile history. Reproduction prints of this image would make the perfect gift for anyone interested in either of these histories. 

Alexandria’s Aviation History

While Alexandria’s railroad and maritime histories are more commonly known, the city also holds a piece of aviation history. In 1917, the Briggs Aeroplane Company began production of planes and seaplanes in the factory it established in Alexandria at St. Asaph and Pendelton Streets. 

Our Vintage Photograph of Alexandria’s Airplane Factory

Our collection holds a photograph depicting this piece of Alexandria’s history with aviation. The image “Alexandria Airplane Factory” was taken in 1918, just a year after the factory was established. The photograph depicts a number of men working on and around an airplane in the middle of the large factory space. 

We have digitally restored this iconic image, and offer reproduction prints on both fine art paper and canvas.

A vintage photograph of a group of men working in an airplane factory

Historic Roadways in Alexandria

With so much long history, Alexandria has a number of roadways that have long been home to historic buildings and hubs of daily life. King Street and Seminary Road are two examples of Alexandria’s prominent roadways. 

King Street in the 1920s

King Street in Alexandria has long been a hub of activity, as can be seen in this uniquely charming vintage photograph from our collection. Taken in 1921, this image shows the hubbub on King Street, with many people and vehicles coming and going. Today King Street remains a center for activity, with some of Old Town’s most prominent stores, restaurants, and other attractions. The street is also busy, packed with pedestrians on the sidewalks and cars navigating the busy streets. 

A black and white photogrpah of daily life on King Street in Alexandria

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