Alexandria, Virginia was settled on the west bank of the Potomac River in 1695. It became a slave-trading port and, later, an early dividing line of the Union and Confederacy. Today it's an affluent Washington, D.C. suburb on the southern perimeter of the capital beltway, sixty-four miles of highway circling the bulls-eye of power and influence in U.S. government.

Nighttime traffic between Maryland and Virginia is fast to reckless, but daytime gridlock reveals an expanse of high rises stretching out to Alexandria's West End.

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