Wayfinding: Alexandria Furniture District
Alexandria Furniture District
King and Columbus streets
Between 1820 and 1860, Alexandria had a thriving cabinet and furniture-making industry, primarily along King Street, between Royal and Alfred streets. Among the city's best-known furniture makers-and business rivals-were Charles Koones and James Green. Green's first shop was on King Street between Pitt and Royal streets, while Koones' was located at the corner of King and Alfred streets, later moving here to King and Columbus. Their furniture reflected the change in customer taste from the elegant, straight lines of the Federal style to the ornate and curved details of Classical Revival. A prime example of this more ornate design is the pictured Koones sideboard with its carved legs and curved doors. Perhaps what best contrasts Green and Koones as furniture makers and businessmen was their approach to labor. Green hired itinerant workers and invested early in mass production techniques, while Koones employed masters, journeymen, apprentices, pieceworkers, and skilled specialists in a more traditional craftsman model. Other furniture makers operating in the Alexandria furniture district were Harrison and C.C. Bradley, William H. Muir, and Robert Abercrombie; these shops shared Koones' approach to hand-crafted, fine furniture using traditional methods.
Koones moved his shop from its original location on King and Alfred streets to the northwest corner of King and Columbus streets in 1844. With the purchase of two more properties, Koones Corner, as it came to be known, included a large residence, a furniture showroom and storage, shop space for manufacturing, and outbuildings, including a long shed for horses and vehicles. The growth of rail lines in Alexandria allowed furniture makers in the city to market and deliver their products to an ever-wider audience. In 1855, a fire devastated the Koones compound,
burning the manufacturing shop, a stable, a lumber shed, and the mill house. Then, the economic impacts of the Panic of 1857 spelled the end for Koones' business; he died shortly thereafter. But, the Alexandria furniture district survived and continued into the Civil War period.
Where to find this sign
In Old Town, mini kiosks are located at designated intersections along King Street, Cameron Street, and the Waterfront to provide an orientation for pedestrians.
This wayfinding sign is located on the south side of King at Columbus Street. (For those taking the King Street Trolley, please check the schedule as times may have changed.)
See all the wayfinding signs on and around King Street.