Many Alexandrians are proud that George Washington played a key role in surveying and laying out the plans for the town, founded in 1749.

But according to the latest edition of the Alexandria Historical Society's book "Historic Alexandria," Washington, when he was 16 in 1748, prepared only a drawing of Alexandria. He didn't receive his surveyor's license until 1749.

That historical tidbit is one of many in the historical society's annual publication. This year, the book consists of six scholarly articles on subjects ranging from the founding of Alexandria and shipbuilding in the city to archeological investigations at historic Christ Church and the end of slavery in the town.

One article, "A New Look At the Founding of Alexandria," by James Munson, which was originally published in May 1985 in the periodical Fairfax Chronicles, may be the most surprising. In addition to maintaining that Washington did not do the original survey of the city, Munson was unable to establish that Alexandria was an outgrowth of an earlier Scottish community called Belhaven, which many in the city had believed.

Munson, a retired marine, completed his doctoral dissertation on colonial Alexandria at the University of Maryland in 1984. Other authors represented in the book are area historian Frederick Tilp; Anne Paul, conservator of the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop Museum in Alexandria, which is housed in a building erected in 1792; author T. Michael Miller, a research historian at the Alexandria Library's archives, Lloyd House; archeologist Donald Creveling, and Catherine Hollan, who has conducted research on early American silversmiths.

"There are facts in a number of the articles in the {"Historic Alexandria"} book that are not generally known by a lot of people," explained Thomas Worsley, president of the Alexandria Historical Society.

Said Elizabeth Hambleton, who edited the book: "The one {Munson} article challenges the idea that Alexandria was founded by these altruistic people, and they all turned out to be real estate investors, including Washington, who were probably more concerned with making a profit."

The Alexandria Historical Society was founded in 1975 and has about 250 members. The latest edition of "Alexandria History" is available for $3.50 at Lloyd House, at 220 N. Washington St. in Alexandria.