Alexandria’s Del Ray Neighborhood Kicks off Year Long Cenntenial Celebration with Pot Luck at Historic Firehouse
Home made desserts, stick to the rib casseroles, and hoppin john (that’s Southern talk for rice and blackeyed peas) were just some of the offerings at the Town of Potomac’s New Year’s Day Pot Luck. The Town of Potomac – the predecessor to our modern day Del Ray - has kicked off a year long series of events to celebrate the town’s 100 birthday and New Year’s Day was just the beginning. Del Ray’s historic fire station was destination central and residents, old and new, gathered to share stories, sign up for volunteer efforts and tour the fire house. As one father of three said, “Thank you, my kids are thrilled to be here!”
Elected officials on hand included Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, a long time Del Ray resident, Councilman Tim Lovain and Virginia House of Delegate’s Adam Ebbin. Mayor Euille took particular note of 2007 crime statistics – the entire northern Virginia area had a total of 33 violent deaths as compared to over 200 in the District of Columbia – and Alexandria’s reputation for safe neighborhoods. The mayor also urged citizens to “talk to your elected officials.”
The host fire station originally served as the Town of Potomac’s City Hall beginning with the incorporation of the town in 1908. The building itself was originally located at 208 East Howell Ave., moved to 204 E. Del Ray Ave. where it served as a public school, then a Catholic school, and finally a Baptist Church! The Potomac Fire Company bought the building for $73 and moved it with windlass and mule to E. Windsor Ave. A new fire station was built in 1924 and the old building was again sold and moved to become part of 51 E. Windsor Ave.
The Town of Potomac was annexed by the City of Alexandria in 1930. The occasion was commemorated January 1, 1930 with a “gala program of music and dance” at the fire station. At midnight, a siren wailed to mark the New Year and the official annexation. The action was originally controversial and a majority of the townspeople refused to re-elect council members who favored joining the city.