The Cameron Valley

The Cameron Valley (HMI3H)

Location: Alexandria, VA 22314
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 48.07', W 77° 4.191'

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Early Industrial Development in Western Alexandria

The area west of the Mill Race complex once was a sloping meadow through which ran the meandering tail race of the Cameron Mills. The mill site itself was located beneath what is now the parking garage of the Hoffman Center complex. Built in the 1790s, the twin mills at Cameron produced flour, meal, and feed both for local consumption and for export. From the mid-19th century until 1919, the firm of Roberts and Hunt operated the mills, farmed the surrounding property, and maintained a feed and grain store on Alexandria's waterfront. The western mill building was destroyed by fire in 1928.

In 1851, the newly founded Alexandria Water Company converted the eastern mill into a pumping station, installing a new iron wheel and a pump inside the building. The pump drew water from the 60-year-old millrace and pumped it into a reservoir at the top of nearby Shuter's Hill. From there, it was distributed through a gravity-fed system to households and businesses throughout Alexandria. The Cameron Pumping Station continued to supply water to the city through the mid-20th century.

The Cameron Valley, through which Eisenhower Avenue runs, has served as an industrial and commercial center for Northern Virginia for over 250 years. At one time, Cameron Run and its estuary, Great Hunting Creek, provided direct access to the Potomac River, while surface routes funneled Northern Virginia's products to the stream's head of navigation. The "Road to Richmond" (today's Telegraph Road) and the Little River Turnpike (now Duke Street) were the major land routes into this area. In the mid-19th century, two railroads also acquired rights-of-way through the valley. These networks allowed Northern Virginians to ship their products to Alexandria's wharves, and from there, to markets around the world.

Water from Cameron Run also stimulated commercial and industrial development. A dam on the upper reaches of the stream diverted water through a mile-long millrace; this water supply turned the wheels of several gristmills in the valley, and later even provided water for the city. Today's office and condominium complexes, the Beltway, Metro, and Eisenhower Avenue itself represent the latest chapter in the economic development of the Cameron Valley.
HM NumberHMI3H
Placed ByThe City of Alexandria
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 7:57pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 320259 N 4296747
Decimal Degrees38.80116667, -77.06985000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 48.07', W 77° 4.191'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 48' 4.20" N, 77° 4' 11.46" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202, 703, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2337-2359 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria VA 22314, US
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