Row house with slave-trading history for sale in Alexandria

slave house alexandria
The property at 1315 Duke Street in Alexandria was the site of the Franklin and Armfield slave-trading business, from 1828 through 1836. (Google Earth)

A four-story row house in Alexandria, Virginia, that historians say was the site of one of the country’s largest slave-trading businesses is now up for sale.

The building at 1315 Duke Street, built in 1812, looks like many row houses in the area, but from 1828 to 1836, the Franklin and Armfield Company used it as a slave pen, sending 1,800 slaves each year to Louisiana and Mississippi.

After arriving in Alexandria on ships, slaves were walked to the property and held by chains in the basement and cells.

After Franklin and Armfield, other slave traders stayed in business at the location until 1861, when Union troops arrived.

The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

In 1996, the Northern Virginia Urban League moved into the property and opened the Freedom House Museum, which includes shackles and the names and prices of slaves who were sold on the property.

In 2018, the city of Alexandria provided a $63,000 interest-free loan to enable the museum and building owners to make needed repairs on the historic property.

In August 2019, Freedom House announced on its Facebook page that the building housing it is for sale.

In its real estate advertisement, Tartan Properties lists the property as office or residential and a price of $2.1 million.

While describing the 7,500 square foot building as having “amazing historic charm,” with high ceilings, original wooden railings, exposed brick walls and wood-burning fireplaces, its marketing doesn’t detail the building’s past.

It’s unclear whether the museum will move, remain open or close.

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