Day and night, John Hollensbury had to put up with the noise of pedestrians and traffic in the alleyway next to his home. What’s more, wheels had gouged deep marks into the walls of the alley as they scraped on by. However, Hollensbury is not alive today. In fact he was dealing with this problem almost 200 years ago – and, by 1830 it seemed as if he was nearing the limits of his patience with the noise and commotion in the street.
Hollensbury was a city council member and brickmaker. He owned two houses on Queen Street, in Alexandria, a city which faced Washington D.C. across the Potomac. The two buildings sat on either side of an alley. Eventually, Hollensbury decided to take action and silence the irritation for good. And in the process, he would put his street on the map.