Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 2, 1978):
Between 1828 and 1836, Isaac Franklin, in partnership with John Armfield, created the largest-scale slave trading operation in the antebellum South. They established their headquarters in Alexandria (then a part of the District of Columbia), adjacent to an area with a surplus of slaves available at low prices. This building served as the firm's Alexandria office, where Franklin purchased slaves who were then transported New Orleans and Natchez, where Armfield handled sales. At its peak, their firm had agents in almost every important Southern city; owned a fleet of sailing ships; and trafficked in thousands of slaves annually. In the process, both partners became enormously wealthy. After Franklin & Armfield sold the this building, the house continued as a center for slave trading until 1861; during the Civil War, it housed captured Confederate soldiers.