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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
While playing around with Google Earth and streetview earlier, I thought I'd look for Interarms' old address in Alexandria, VA. The sorely-missed company that made so many great Walthers possible for we Americans, to include US-made PPK's and the like. We all know the company is long gone, but what does the place look like today? I was very surprised to see...



Interarms was located - at least on paper anyway - at 10 Prince Street, Alexandria, Virginia. In the above image, we have a small two story building in along a small block. Here's what it looks like from the street:



This is the door at 10 Prince Street:



All along, my imagination has painted the picture of a sizable office building bustling with trucks delivering nice PPK's to gun dealers across the land, or at least a larger business center. Maybe this has been knocked down and replaced with the buildings we see, or maybe it was always housed there? Though I'll never know myself, it is my hope someone with personal knowledge of the area (or dealings with Interarms) might be able to shed some light on the old neighborhood. Whatever may play out, I still found this quite interesting.

-Pilotsteve
 

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Someone on this forum used to work for Ranger in Gadston and maybe they went to Alexandra and will be able to help.I think that is an interesting question and hopefully they will read your post.I do not remember what the post was about and I wish I could help more.
 

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I was doing the same thing a couple weeks ago, went looking for old pictures and found this link:

Interarms and Potomac Arms



From Prince Street you need to go a block and a half south on Union Street to the old warehouse. The warehouse and dock are still there - just not much to look at from the street.



I don't know that you could still get a freighter in there. The Potomac has silted to the point that it is no loner navigable to large vessels that far up. Dredging is also problematic in the Potomac and in the Anacostia, as the water quality has improved as most of the heavy metals and other toxins are now contained in the silt on the bottom of those rivers. However that means that if any dredging is done the soil has to be removed from the river and treated, rather than just dredged off the bottom and released in the current, so it's probably never going to happen unless the US Navy decides the Washington Navy Yard needs to be an actual navy yard again.
 

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It certainly looks different now. Years ago, I used to go to Alexandria, VA quite often. This certainly is not what I remember Interarms looking like. The area in which it was at is known as Old Towne Alexandria: many historical town homes, businesses, restaurants, and bars. There were a couple of nice gun shops around the corner; Old Towne Armory (title II dealer) and Potomac Arms.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
From Prince Street you need to go a block and a half south on Union Street to the old warehouse. The warehouse and dock are still there...
Awesome BB57, thanks for the wonderful information! I did a bit more snooping around the old Interarms this evening with help from your data and found some interesting imagery - here is a virtual view of the warehouse from the southwest:



From the street, looking at the warehouses from the northwest - at the intersection of Duke and South Union Street:



From down Duke Street... terminal buildings?:



I played around with streetview, maneuvering around until I came to the end of Wolfe street. Amazingly, the imagery vehicle must have had to turn around at that point and caught images of the very back of the warehouses! How many PP's from europe came and went through these doors? How many trucks came from Ranger with boxes of stainless steel PPK's and backed up to these loading docks?



Sigh.

-Pilotsteve
 

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... How many PP's from europe came and went through these doors? How many trucks came from Ranger with boxes of stainless steel PPK's and backed up to these loading docks?

...
Answer: None.

Except for the office at Number 10 Prince Street, you've shown the wrong set of buildings.

M
 

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Mike,

Are you holding out on the correct location? Are there still a couple of boxes of PPK's laying around in the corner of some deserted building?

Tractor Pulls ....... yeah sure!
 

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Here is what some of the buildings looked like in 2011, 12 years after Interarms closed. In the 1960s there were 10 warehouses in the complex. Railroad tracks ran down the center of S. Union Street, so hundreds of thousands of rifles from U.S. Government arsenals were unloaded from boxcars by forklifts running from the warehouses out into the street. Shiploads of surplus material from abroad arrived at the big Robinson Terminal pier next door and were likewise shunted across the street into three warehouses at the corners of S. Union and Duke.

With the cessation of military surplus importation in 1968, the need for vast warehouse space abated, and some of the buildings were sold or leased for other uses. By 1980 the Alexandria waterfront became yuppified and upscale. Warehouse No.2, a small building used as a showroom for dealers, became a bicycle shop; another became the "Christmas Attic". Warehouse No. 3, formerly a U.S. Customs bonded area, was converted to a parking garage. Warehouses 7 and 8 were occupied by the Alexandria Art League, the loading bays bricked closed. Warehouses 10-11, down Union Street at Franklin, are gone completely, replaced by townhouses.

Very little remains today to reveal their former use. All of the real estate formerly occupied by Interarms was sold last year, and the entire block is currently being redeveloped.

M
 

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A few more pix.

The last photo shows a former waterfront restaurant, converted in the 1950s to an upper-story gun store called by various names, Hunter's Haven, Ye Olde Hunter, Potomac Arms, etc. This store was a familiar landmark in Northern Virginia, often mistaken (due to its location; just visible at the far left in the first pic) as an Interarms retail outlet. In fact it was separately owned by the late John Richards, who operated it for nearly 50 years. The building was derelict in 2011 (and might be torn down by now, I don't know).

M
 

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The second pic shows South Union St. facing south, from where a railroad spur came. The tracks were torn out in the 1970s. The lady is at the steel door of 206 S. Union, an entrance to Interarms Warehouse No. 6. Before moving to Alabama, Mike McClellan of M&M Gunsmithing occupied space at no. 204 (seen in one of the earlier pictures).

The 3d pic is the unit block of Duke Street, with the Potomac River in the background. To the right, out of camera view, is the Robinson Terminal complex, photos of which Steve posted. Hundreds of tons of arms and ammunition were hauled across this street from the pier to the bricked-up loading bays of Interarms No. 8 Warehouse, still visible on the left.

The townhouses shown in the first pic now occupy the site where Interarms' Warehouses Nos. 10-11 once stood.

M
 

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Last batch, 2011.

The former Interarms dealer showroom, Warehouse No. 2: converted to a bike shop.

Across the street from Interarms offices at Number 10, the pic shows the 100 block of Prince Street, with some of the oldest homes in Alexandria. It is called "Captains' Row", as many ships' masters lived there. Alexandria at that time was a bigger port than New York.

The cobblestones were first laid during the Revolution by Hessian prisoners-of-war; the stones themselves had been brought over by sailing ships that carried them as ballast, removed when cargo was loaded for the return voyage.

M
 

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Mike, how does that square with this picture:



It's possible the article is in error - except I recall seeing exactly that same picture in some of Interarms' own advertising way back in the day.
 

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The article is substantially in error.

The photo --taken about 50 years ago-- was used by Interarms on postcards, but was (deliberately) misleading.

Everything within the big circle is Robinson Terminal. Some of the buildings in the small circle were Interarms, though Interarms occupied several others not within the photo. The building at the extreme right of the small circle (@ 3 o'clock) is No. 10 Prince Street. Just above it was the warehouse that is now the Christmas Attic. The left two of the three buildings @ 6 o'clock were not part of Interarms. The middle one was (and still is, I think) Chadwick's Restaurant.

The arrow points to Hunter's Haven, on the water at Zero Prince Street.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Mike, thank you for sharing this priceless information with us. I have been fascinated (and, at the same time, heartbroken) about the entire Interarms story for many years... since I first purchased my PPK and knowledge of the organization came to me. You have vastly increased my understanding and have helped paint a mental portrait of great things now gone to all of us. There will likely never be another Sam Cummings, International Armament Corporation, or the ability to do the things he did for all of us ever again. Such greatness will no doubt henceforth be stifled and smothered under crippling bureaucracy and preposterous laws.

Again, thank you Mike. Precious few have anything resembling your level of knowledge.

-Pilotsteve
 

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Mike,

Thanks, that is very helpful.

And very interesting given the intentional use of a poorly (and probably intentionally) composed photograph to make the facilities look more impressive than they were.
 

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I used to do photographic work for Interarms in the 80's. Nice people there. I also was extended deep discounts on the inventory....besides getting the obvious handguns, (many) I remember buying an Spanish SxS AYA shotgun for my uncle...they encouraged me to go through several boxes to fine the nicest stocks:D

I still have a dealers/distributors price list somewhere if anyone is interested in viewing it.

Photo
 

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MGMike,

Thanks for posting those photos. The houses on Captains Row bring back memories when I used to go in that area. They are certainly some of the nicest town homes in Old Town.
 
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