Alexandria. 1 City (1990 pop. 49,188), seat of Rapides parish, central La., on the Red River; inc. 1818. It is a trade, rail, and medical center for a rich agricultural and timber area. Among its many manufactures are fabricated metals, wood panels, adhesives, and fishing lures. During the Civil War the city was burned (May, 1864) by federal troops. Alexandria is the headquarters for Kisatchie National Forest and the seat of a branch of Louisiana State Univ. Louisiana College is in the neighboring twin city of Pineville. 2 City (1990 pop. 111,183), independent and in no county, N Va., a port of entry on the Potomac; patented 1657, permanently settled 1730s, inc. 1779. Primarily a residential suburb of Washington, D.C., it also has extensive railroad yards and repair shops, a deepwater port, and varied industry (printing and publishing, fiber optics research, and machinery and computer-hardware manufacturing). A number of U.S. government buildings and scientific and engineering research firms are there; Crystal City and Pentagon City are vast office developments. George Washington helped lay out the streets in 1749. The city was part of the District of Columbia from 1789 to 1846. In May, 1861, it was occupied by federal troops; it was cut off from the rest of the South throughout the Civil War. Its many historic buildings include Gadsby's Tavern (1752), frequented by Washington; Carlyle House (1752), where Washington received his commission as major; Christ Church (1767–73), where Washington, and later Robert E. Lee, worshiped; and Ramsey House (1749–51). The George Washington Masonic National Memorial Temple (1923–32), modeled after the ancient lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt, houses Washington mementos. The Alexandria Gazette, among the nation's oldest daily newspapers, was first printed in 1784. Nearby are Mount Vernon; Woodlawn, one of the Washington family estates; an Episcopal seminary (1823); Fort Belvoir; and the U.S. Army Engineer Center, with an engineering school and research and development laboratories.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography