Petersburg was founded in 1748 as a 'frontier' town at the site of Fort Henry. The city became a major manufacturing center and transportation hub for the shipment of tobacco, cotton, grains and lumber. British forces occupied Petersburg during the Revolutionary War, and the Union laid siege to it during the Civil War. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Old Town Petersburg is truly a step back in time and showcases over 250 fine original examples of residential and commercial architecture in an eclectic mix of all of the period styles popular during the 19th century.

Fans of the AMC series TURN will spot Old Town Petersburg serving as 'New York City' when Abe, Anna and Judge Woodhull travel there. The 1794 McIlwain House serves as Major John Andre's residence. The nearby 1823 Centre Hill Mansion, the 1878 octagonal City Market, the 1854 South Side Railroad Depot, and the 1817 Farmers Bank building that houses Old Town Petersburg's Visitor Center are visible in many scenes. Fans of Steven Spielberg will also recognized Old Town Petersburg as a filming location for his film Lincoln, and fans of the PBS original series Mercy Street will spot some of the iconic buildings of Old Town Petersburg including the Southside Railroad Depot and Centre Hill mansion.

Your best bet to tour Old Town Petersburg is to stop in at the staffed Visitors Center for a tour of the Farmers Bank building - one of the oldest banks in the United States - and information on touring the museums, historic buildings, shops and restaurants of Old Town. The McIlwain House, City Market, and South Side Railroad Depot are a short walk of less than a block from the Visitors Center. Arts and antiques shopping as well as casual and fine dining are also quite close and within walking distance of the Visitors Center. Centre Hill Mansion is visible from the Visitors Center, but you'll probably want to drive up there and park at the mansion or in the public lot across the street.

Visit Preservation Petersburg for more information about historic Old Town Petersburg.

Pictured at the top: Old Town Petersburg's iconic South Side Railroad Depot.

old town petersburg ghost sign

Old Town Petersburg possesses a treasure trove of late 19th and early 20th century ghost signs. This one advertises a 'fatigue relieving' potion.

old town petersburg ghost sign

This ghost sign advertises a 'refreshing' potion.

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