Historical Society workers in Botetourt County fights to save slave quarters

BOTETOURT COUNTY (WSLS10) The Botetourt County Historical society is trying to raise awareness on an issue they say could erase an important part of history in the area.

The Historical Society invited Joseph McGill -- who is part of The Slave Dwelling Project to visit the historic sites at the former Greenfield Plantation about a mile north of Daleville.

Botetourt county staff say they bought the property about 20 years ago in hopes of developing an industrial site to bring in more business.

However, the historic site is on the land the county wants to develop.

McGill, a South Carolina native has slept in nearly 80 historic sites in the Southeast U.S.

His goal is to raise awareness about sites like a slave kitchen and quarters in Botetourt County that will be moving.

"Sometimes these places are threatened like the two sites here in this county, I'm here to speak on their behalf," McGill said.

McGill said he wanted people to understand the historic value of the buildings and property.

"I'm here to learn about and understand why they want to move this historic property to another location," Lloyd Merchant, who attended the meeting with his family said.

Merchant is one of hundreds opposed to the county moving the buildings but the county leaders have said they will not tear down the buildings.

Botetourt County Deputy Administrator David Moorman said the county wants to move the two buildings to an area at the Greenfield Industrial site dedicated to other historical pieces.

"Because the county determined that it would protect the historic resources of the property" Moorman said.

Moorman says it's good that people are being informed about the sites because moving forward --- the county wants to develop a historic park area.

"To restore the structures and to make them available to the public but that's something honestly we need partners to accomplish and to do that in a timely manner," Moorman said.

But in the meantime, Mcgill is hoping his voice will at least give insight about property and structures that are an important part of American history.

"We are continuing to ignore a part of history that we've been ignoring for far too long, I've been at the site today and there's still a fighting chance," McGill said.

The county says it needs to clear the land to build more facilities and right now the two slave quarters are standing in the way.

The buildings are currently on stilts and weather permitting will move at the beginning of next month.

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