This fertile patch of Potomac Riverfront hit the American stage in the mid-1750s. At the time, the town was an English seaport. All that changed during the American Revolution. General George Washington even ran training exercises in Market Square.
At the turn of the 19th century, Alexandria joined the newly-formed District of Columbia. Around this time, the city became home to the family of the legendary Civil War general to-be, Robert E. Lee. By mid-1800s, the lack of voting rights led Alexandria to secede back into Virginia. Unfortunately, this led to the seizure of Alexandria by Union troops on the second day of the American Civil War.
The 20th-century brought constant excitement. Orville Wright demonstrated flight at Shuter's Hill. Civil rights protests erupted in 1939, pre-dating the movement by 20 years. The torpedo factory on the Potomac employed 6,000 local workers during WWII. The high schools racially integrated in 1971. Finally, in 1999, Alexandria celebrated 250 years of American prominence.
Things have calmed in Alexandria, but the city is still at the forefront of American trends. In 2006, the city began to offer free wireless Internet access to all outdoor spaces in Old Town. The robust history of Alexandria is also celebrated today more than ever. The abundance of 18th and 19th-century homes and buildings is recognized for its historical significance nationally. Likewise, popular haunts of founding fathers like Gadsby's Tavern are wildly popular local attractions.