Historians aim to restore pre-Civil War look of Alexandria slave trafficking hub

The Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) is hoping to take a hammer to a dozen later additions to the Freedom House Museum (1315 Duke Street) to take the building back to its mid-19th century look.

The museum was once the Franklin and Armfield Office, a slave trafficking hub that forcibly shipped thousands of Black men, women and children around the country between 1828 and 1861.

In a proposal submitted to the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) for the meeting on Wednesday, July 19, the OHA said the goal is to recreate the look of the building from 1828-1861 based on historic reports and Civil War-era photos.

According to the report, the work includes”

  • Repointing masonry walls
  • Masonry infill of window openings added after the period of significance
  • Removal/replacement or restoration of doors windows and shutters
  • Repaint all previously painted walls
  • Reveal and restore the historic sign
  • Siding replacement
  • Demolition of the south slope of the existing mansard roof and portions of the east and west gable ends

“The overall intent is to repair or restore each massing section of the building to the period of significance of that portion of the building, as defined in the Historic Structure Report,” the report said. “The museum will remain in operation throughout the construction.”