DANVILLE, Va.—A Danville couple is celebrating success in their effort to save an historic building.
They're taking ownership of what's thought to be a former slave quarters in the "Millionaires Row" neighborhood.
"The architecture here is the city's genealogy," says Sarah Latham, who is purchasing the property along with her husband. "It lets us know what we once were and tells the story of everything from the city's birth until today."
The Lathams started researching the building when they bought the house next to it.
"This building is practically right out our back door," says Latham.
By searching land records, Latham learned the house was built sometime in the 1800's, possibly before the civil war.
"And that leads to the intriguing possibility that this might have been constructed as slave's quarters," said Latham.
For years the building has been owned by the Danville YMCA. They've been using it as "basically a storage shed," said Sarah Folmar, executive director and CEO of the YMCA, which has made an effort to take care of the building.
Over the course of the last six years, the Y has worked out an agreement to sell its property to the Lathams.
"It's taken a little bit of time, but we've finally been able to work something out," said Folmar.
The Lathams are spending $9,000 to buy the former slave quarters and the property around it. They're expecting to spend another $10,000 fixing it up.
Latham isn't sure what she'll do with the house. Her main goal? Keep it standing.
"Urban slave quarters are almost non existent," says Latham. "Preserving our past is a lesson for our future."
The Lathams are finalizing their purchase from the YMCA. It should be a done deal by the end of January.