About the Building
The 200 block of Lee Street was originally part of a shallow bay of the Potomac River that was filled in by the mid 1780s. Just to the north, at Lee and Oronoco, Scotland native Andrew Jamieson began baking "an assortment of best white biscuits" in 1785. Andrew's son Robert joined the firm and continued the business after his father's death in 1823. In 1832 the bakery moved to a three-story building at the northeast corner of Lee Street and Thompson's Alley, across the street from 216-218-220 Lee Street. It has been said that Jamieson "Made Alexandria famous by his crackers." At its peak in 1850 the Jamieson bakery had twelve employees and produced $36,000 worth of crackers, a large manufactory for the time. Sadly, sales dropped and the "old Bakery House" was offered for lease in 1856. Robert Jamieson died in 1862. After the Civil War, a fire broke out on the property, damaging some subsidiary buildings. The bakery was still serviceable in 1869, when George R. Hill moved to Alexandria from Baltimore and purchased the property. In 1871, he moved the bakery operation across the street to 216-218-220.
Read the account of the fire. (http://www.crilleywarehouse.com/pdf/fire.pdf)
True to his promise, Mr. Hill restored the building, which still stands today. Candy was made in the first floor; the bake house was on the second floor; and storage was on the third floor. The George R. Hill Company was Alexandria's primary source of confections and a vital part of the local economy. Mr. Hill owed the building until his death in 1905.
From 1907 to 1919 a wholesale grocer named Jeremiah Crilly (not Crilley, the name given to the building in 1976) ran a profitable wholesale grocery on the site. After 1919 the building suffered a decline. It sat vacant between 1924 and 1976 except for a seventeen-year period around WWII when it was used for storage.
Rescued from obscurity in 1976 by Marilyn Hansen and Michael Reddan, the warehouse was successfully remodeled into a mixed-used commercial building. La Bergerie, Monday's Child and the Executive Office Suites on the third floor were its original tenants.
The limited partnership formed by Ms. Hansen and Mr. Redden in the 1970s still owns the building. In 2004 the owners retained the services of Cunningham + Quill Architects (http://www.cunninghamquill.com/) to update the building for the new millennium.