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Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia

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Petersburg is an independent city
Independent city
An independent city is a city that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity. These type of cities should not be confused with city-states , which are fully sovereign cities that are not part of any other sovereign state.-Historical precursors:In the Holy Roman Empire,...

 in Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 located on the Appomattox River
Appomattox River
The Appomattox River is a tributary of the James River, approximately long, in central and eastern Virginia in the United States, named for the Appomattocs Indian tribe who lived along its lower banks in the 17th century...

 and 23 miles (37 km) south of the state capital city of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

. The city's population was 32,420 as of 2010, predominantly of African-American ethnicity. The city's unique industrial past and its location as a transportation hub combined to create wealth for Virginia and the region.

The location on the Appomattox River at the fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

 (head-of-navigation of the U.S. east coast rivers) early in the history in the Colony of Virginia caused Petersburg to become a strategic place for transportation and commercial activities, as well as the site of Fort Henry
Fort Henry (Virginia)
Fort Henry was an English frontier fort in 17th century colonial Virginia near the falls of the Appomattox River. Its exact location has been debated, but the most popular one is on a bluff about four blocks north of the corner of W. Washington and N...

. As railroads emerged beginning in the 1830s, it became a major transfer point for both north-south and east-west competitors. The Petersburg Railroad
Petersburg Railroad
Petersburg Railroad was chartered in 1830 and opened in 1833. It ran from Petersburg, Virginia south to Garysburg, North Carolina, from which it ran to Weldon via trackage rights over the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad...

 was one of the earliest predecessors of the modern-day CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation operates a Class I railroad in the United States known as the CSX Railroad. It is the main subsidiary of the CSX Corporation. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and owns approximately 21,000 route miles...

 (CSX) system. Several of the earliest predecessors of the area's other major Class 1 railroad, Norfolk Southern (NS), also met at Petersburg. Both CSX and NS rail systems maintain transportation centers at Petersburg. Due to the railroad network, during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 (1861–65), Petersburg was key to Union plans for the defeat of the Confederate capital of Richmond. The city was the site of nine months of trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 during the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

. Battlefield sites are located throughout the city and surrounding areas, partly preserved as Petersburg National Battlefield
Petersburg National Battlefield
Petersburg National Battlefield is a National Park Service unit preserving sites related to the American Civil War Siege of Petersburg. The Battlefield is centered around Petersburg, Virginia, and also includes outlying components in Hopewell, Prince George County, and Dinwiddie County...

.

The city is significant for its role in African-American history. Petersburg had one of the oldest free black settlements in the state at Pocahontas Island. In the post-Bellum period, a historically black college which later became Virginia State University
Virginia State University
Virginia State University is a historically black and land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Chesterfield, in the Richmond area. Founded on , Virginia State was the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans...

 (VSU) was established in nearby Ettrick
Ettrick, Virginia
Ettrick is a census-designated place in Chesterfield County, Virginia, United States. The population was 6,682 at the 2010 census. The town is home to Virginia State University and the Petersburg Amtrak train station....

 in Chesterfield County
Chesterfield County, Virginia
Chesterfield County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. In 2010, its population was estimated to be 316,236. Chesterfield County is now the fourth-largest municipality in Virginia . Its county seat is Chesterfield...

. Also nearby, Richard Bland College
Richard Bland College
Richard Bland College of The College of William and Mary is a public junior college with about 1,400 students located near Petersburg, Virginia...

, a junior college
Junior college
The term junior college refers to different educational institutions in different countries.-India:In India, most states provide schooling through 12th grade...

 was established originally as a branch of Williamsburg's College of William and Mary
College of William and Mary
The College of William & Mary in Virginia is a public research university located in Williamsburg, Virginia, United States...

. Two Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

 churches in the city, whose congregations were founded in the late 18th century, are among the oldest black congregations and churches in the nation. In the 20th century, these and other black churches were leaders in the national Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

.

Petersburg remains a transportation hub, with the network of area highways include U.S. Interstate Highways 85, 95, and 295
Interstate 295 (Virginia)
Interstate 295 is an eastern and northern bypass of the cities of Richmond and Petersburg in the U.S. state of Virginia. The southern terminus is a junction with Interstate 95 southeast of Petersburg...

, and U.S. highways 1
U.S. Route 1 in Virginia
U.S. Route 1 in the U.S. state of Virginia runs north–south through South Hill, Petersburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Alexandria on its way from North Carolina to the 14th Street Bridge into the District of Columbia...

, 301
U.S. Route 301 in Virginia
U.S. Route 301 is a part of the U.S. Highway System that runs from Sarasota, Florida to Glasgow, Delaware. In Virginia, the U.S. Highway runs from the North Carolina state line near Skippers north to the Maryland state line at the Potomac River near Dahlgren. US 301 forms the local complement...

, and 460
U.S. Route 460 in Virginia
U.S. Route 460 in Virginia runs east–west through the southern part of the state. It has two separate pieces in Virginia, joined by a relatively short section in West Virginia...

. In the early 21st century, Petersburg leaders were highlighting its historical attractions for heritage tourism, and its industrial sites making use of the transportation infrastructure. Military activity has expanded at nearby Fort Lee, home of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's Sustainment Center of Excellence
Sustainment Center of Excellence
The U.S. Army Sustainment Center of Excellence [pronounced sko or sko-e] is a subordinate organization under the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia.- SCoE definition :...

, as well as the Army's Logistics Branch, Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation Corps.

Indigenous people


In 2006 archaeological excavations at Pocahontas Island
Pocahontas Island, Virginia
Pocahontas Island, Virginia is a peninsula located on the north side of the Appomattox River within the limits of what is now Petersburg, Virginia. There is evidence of prehistoric Native American settlement dating from 6500 BCE. The area is more recently notable as the first predominately free...

 found evidence of prehistoric Native American settlement dated to 6500 B.C. This is in the early third of the Archaic Period (8000 to 1000 BC). Varying cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the area for thousands of years.

When the English arrived in Virginia in 1607, the region was occupied by the Appamatuck, a significant tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy. They were governed by a weroance
Weroance
Weroance is an Algonquian word meaning tribal chief, leader, commander, or king, notably among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. The Powhatan Confederacy, encountered by the colonists of Jamestown and adjacent area of the Virginia Colony beginning in 1607,...

, King Coquonosum, and by his sister, Queen Oppussoquionuske. This Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

-speaking people later had a town at Rohoic Creek (formerly Rohowick or Indian Towne Run), on the western edge of present-day Petersburg.

Founding and early history


Petersburg was founded and settled by English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 colonists. By 1635 they had patented land along the south bank of the Appomattox River as far west as present-day Sycamore Street, and about 1 miles (1.6 km) inland. In 1646, the Virginia Colony established Fort Henry
Fort Henry (Virginia)
Fort Henry was an English frontier fort in 17th century colonial Virginia near the falls of the Appomattox River. Its exact location has been debated, but the most popular one is on a bluff about four blocks north of the corner of W. Washington and N...

 a short distance from the Appamatuck town, near the falls. Col. Abraham Wood
Abraham Wood
Abraham Wood , sometimes referred to as "General" or "Colonel" Wood, was an English fur trader and explorer of 17th century colonial Virginia...

 sent several famous expeditions out from here in the following years to explore points to the west, as far as the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

.

Some time around 1675, Wood's son-in-law, Peter Jones, who then commanded the fort and traded with the Indians, opened a trading post
Trading post
A trading post was a place or establishment in historic Northern America where the trading of goods took place. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts, was known as a trade route....

 nearby, known as Peter's Point. The Bolling family, prominent tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 planters and traders, also lived in the area from the early 18th century. In 1733, Col. William Byrd II
William Byrd II
Colonel William Byrd II was a planter, slave-owner and author from Charles City County, Virginia. He is considered the founder of Richmond, Virginia.-Biography:...

 (who founded Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 at the same time) conceived plans for a city at Peter's Point, to be renamed Petersburgh. The Virginia General Assembly
Virginia General Assembly
The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members,...

 formally incorporated both Petersburg and adjacent Blandford on December 17, 1748. Wittontown, north of the river, was settled in 1749, and became incorporated as Pocahontas in 1752. Petersburg was enlarged slightly in 1762, adding 28 acres (113,312.1 m²) to "Old Town".

Post-colonial period


During the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, the British drive to regain control erupted in the Battle of Blanford
Battle of Blanford
The Battle of Blandford , also called the Battle of Petersburg, took place near Petersburg, Virginia on 25 April 1781, late in the American War of Independence...

 in 1781, which started just east of Petersburg. As the Americans retreated north across the Appomattox River, they took up the planks of the Pocahontas bridge to delay the enemy. Although the British drove the Americans from Blanford and Petersburg, they did not regain a strategic advantage in the war. Cornwallis' forces surrendered at Yorktown
Yorktown, Virginia
Yorktown is a census-designated place in York County, Virginia, United States. The population was 220 in the 2000 census. It is the county seat of York County, one of the eight original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1634....

 soon after this battle. After the war, in 1784 Petersburg annexed the adjacent towns of Blanford (also called Blandford) and Pocahontas and the suburb of Ravenscroft, which became neighborhoods of the city. An area known as Gillfield was annexed in 1798.

In the first two decades after the war, inspired by the Revolution's principles of equality, numerous Virginia slaveholders manumitted
Manumission
Manumission is the act of a slave owner freeing his or her slaves. In the United States before the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished most slavery, this often happened upon the death of the owner, under conditions in his will.-Motivations:The...

 their slaves. Some of those freed were the mixed-race "natural children" of white planters, born to enslaved mothers outside of legal marriage. The number of free blacks in Virginia rose markedly between 1782 and 1810. Because of the availability of jobs in Petersburg, many free people of color
Free people of color
A free person of color in the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, is a person of full or partial African descent who was not enslaved...

 in Virginia migrated to the growing urban community. They established First Baptist
First Baptist Church (Petersburg, Virginia)
First Baptist Church was the first Baptist church in Petersburg; one of the first African-American Baptist congregations in the United States, and one of the oldest black churches in the nation. It established one of the first local schools for black children in the nation.Its congregation was...

 (1774) and Gillfield Baptist Church (1797), the first and second oldest black congregations in the city and two of the oldest in the nation. The black churches were the first Baptist churches established in Petersburg.

For years the center of the free black residential area was Pocahontas Island
Pocahontas Island, Virginia
Pocahontas Island, Virginia is a peninsula located on the north side of the Appomattox River within the limits of what is now Petersburg, Virginia. There is evidence of prehistoric Native American settlement dating from 6500 BCE. The area is more recently notable as the first predominately free...

, a peninsula on the north shore of the Appomattox River
Appomattox River
The Appomattox River is a tributary of the James River, approximately long, in central and eastern Virginia in the United States, named for the Appomattocs Indian tribe who lived along its lower banks in the 17th century...

. With access to waterways and a sympathetic population, this neighborhood was an important site on the Underground Railroad
Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. The term is also applied to the abolitionists,...

. Two surviving houses in the Pocahontas Island Historic District are associated with it.

The Port of Petersburg became renowned as a commercial center for processing cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 and metal, then shipping products out of the region. The city became an important industrial center in a mostly agricultural state with few major cities.

Residents' devotion to the cause during the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 led to the formation of the Petersburg Volunteers—who distinguished themselves in action at the Siege of Fort Meigs
Siege of Fort Meigs
The Siege of Fort Meigs took place during the War of 1812, in northwestern Ohio. A small British army with support from Indians attempted to capture the recently-constructed fort to forestall an American offensive against Detroit, which the British had captured the previous year...

 on May 5, 1813. President James Madison
James Madison
James Madison, Jr. was an American statesman and political theorist. He was the fourth President of the United States and is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution and at first an opponent of, and then a key author of the United...

 called Petersburg "Cockade of the Union" (or "Cockade City"), in honor of the cockades which Volunteers wore on their caps.

Flourishing businesses helped the city make improvements. Starting in 1813, the city paved its streets. A development company created a canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

 to bypass the Appomattox Falls. Next came railroad lines to link the city to all points of the compass. As travel technology developed in the mid-19th century, Petersburg became established as a railroad center, with lines completed to Richmond to the north, Farmville and Lynchburg
Lynchburg, Virginia
Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 75,568 as of 2010. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Seven Hills" or "The Hill City." Lynchburg was the only major city in...

 to the west, and Weldon, North Carolina
Weldon, North Carolina
Weldon is a town in Halifax County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,374 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:Weldon is located at ....

 to the south. The last major line was completed in 1858 to the east, with the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad
Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad
The Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad was built between Norfolk and Petersburg, Virginia and was completed by 1858.It played a role on the American Civil War , and became part of the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad in 1870. The AM&O became the Norfolk and Western in 1881...

 connecting to an ocean port.

In 1851 the city introduced gaslights and by 1857 installed a new municipal water system. All these civic improvements helped attract and hold a substantial business community, based on manufacture of tobacco products, but also including cotton and flour mills, and banking.

Civil War


At the time of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Petersburg was the second largest city in the state, and the seventh-largest city in the Confederacy. Its 1860 population was 18,266, half of whom were black. Free blacks numbered 3,224 or one-third, attracted to the city for the job opportunities in industries and trades. The Petersburg population had the highest percentage of free blacks of any city in the Confederacy and the largest number of free blacks in the Mid-Atlantic. Many free blacks had settled on Pocahontas Island
Pocahontas Island, Virginia
Pocahontas Island, Virginia is a peninsula located on the north side of the Appomattox River within the limits of what is now Petersburg, Virginia. There is evidence of prehistoric Native American settlement dating from 6500 BCE. The area is more recently notable as the first predominately free...

. Because of this significant past and prehistoric archaeological evidence, the Pocahontas Island Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

. Ninety percent of the population were native Virginians, as most of their ancestors had been in the state since the 17th and 18th centuries.

When the Civil War started in 1861, Petersburg's men responded. They provided the Confederacy several infantry companies and artillery units, as well as three troops of cavalry. In April 1861 more than 300 free blacks from Petersburg volunteered to work on the fortifications of Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

 with their own leader. Slaveholders "volunteered" the work of numerous enslaved men.

In 1864, Petersburg was a significant target during the Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 of Union General Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

. Its numerous railroads made Petersburg a lifeline to Richmond, the Capital of the Confederacy, and other major points. The depot at Pocahontas Island
Pocahontas Island, Virginia
Pocahontas Island, Virginia is a peninsula located on the north side of the Appomattox River within the limits of what is now Petersburg, Virginia. There is evidence of prehistoric Native American settlement dating from 6500 BCE. The area is more recently notable as the first predominately free...

, built for the Richmond & Petersburg line, was an embarkation point for Confederate troops and supplies.
During the war Petersburg was the headquarters of the Confederate Second Regiment of Engineers, whose members included Benjamin Morgan Harrod
Benjamin Morgan Harrod
Benjamin Morgan Harrod was an American civil engineer who from 1895 to 1902 directed the construction of the water and sewerage systems in his native New Orleans, Louisiana....

, the Harvard
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

-trained civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 who later designed the water and sewerage systems of his native New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

.

After the Battle of Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 . It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles...

, Grant stayed east of Richmond and headed south to Petersburg. Grant decided to cut off the rail lines into Petersburg, and thus Richmond's supplies. On June 9, troops under William F. "Baldy" Smith
William Farrar Smith
William Farrar Smith , was a civil engineer, a member of the New York City police commission, and Union general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

, of the 18th Corps
XVIII Corps (ACW)
XVIII Corps was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War.- Origins and makeup :The XVIII Corps was created on December 24, 1862, and initially composed of five divisions stationed in North Carolina, making it one of the largest in the Union Army , placed under the command of General...

, attacked the Dimmock Line, a set of defensive breastworks
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks are engineering works created through the moving or processing of quantities of soil or unformed rock.- Civil engineering use :Typical earthworks include roads, railway beds, causeways, dams, levees, canals, and berms...

 originally constructed in 1861 and 1862. They were to protect Petersburg against the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 under General George McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

 during the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

. The Confederate troops numbered around 2,000. Union generals Smith and Winfield S. Hancock were reluctant to attack a fortified line. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard alerted Lee that he was facing the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg. Lee later arrived, and the 292-day Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

 began.

On the Eastern Front, the trench lines were close together. One soldier in the 48th Pennsylvania, a coal miner in civilian life, remarked aloud, "We could blow that battery into oblivion if we could dig a mine underneath it." Colonel Henry Pleasants
Henry Pleasants
For the English music critic Henry Pleasants, see Henry Pleasants .Henry Clay Pleasants was a coal mining engineer and a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War...

, division commander, took this idea seriously and moved it up the chain of command. The plan was given the go ahead. On July 30, the mine was exploded. Due to poor Union leadership and the timely arrival of Confederate General William Mahone
William Mahone
William Mahone was a civil engineer, teacher, soldier, railroad executive, and a member of the Virginia General Assembly and U.S. Congress. Small of stature, he was nicknamed "Little Billy"....

, the Union lost the Battle of the Crater
Battle of the Crater
The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade The...

. They suffered more than 4,000 casualties. This famous battle was portrayed in the film Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain (film)
Cold Mountain is a 2003 war drama film written and directed by Anthony Minghella. The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Charles Frazier...

(2003) (based on the novel by the same name).

In early April 1865, Union troops pushed successfully on their left flank to reach both the railroad to Weldon, North Carolina
Weldon, North Carolina
Weldon is a town in Halifax County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,374 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:Weldon is located at ....

 and the Southside Railroad. With the loss of Petersburg's crucial lifelines to the rest of the Confederacy, the siege ended in victory for the Union Army.

The fall of Petersburg also signaled that the Confederate capital of Richmond could not be defended, and precipitated Robert E. Lee's last retreat march. Later that month Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House
Appomattox Court House
The Appomattox Courthouse is the current courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia built in 1892. It is located in the middle of the state about three miles northwest of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, once known as Clover Hill - home of the original Old Appomattox Court House...

, essentially ending the war. Confederate General Ambrose P. (A.P.) Hill died on the last day the Confederates occupied the Petersburg trenches. The use of an extended network of fortified entrenchments around Petersburg established a warfare precedent. Armies on both sides used trenches extensively in Europe during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 (qv. Trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

).

Post-Civil War history



By the end of the war, the city was ringed with a series of fortifications. Many of these have been preserved within Petersburg National Battlefield Park and in neighboring Dinwiddie County.

The Freedmen's Bureau established new facilities for freedmen, including a mental health hospital in December 1869, at Howard's Grove Hospital, a former Confederate unit. In 1870 the General Assembly incorporated the Central Lunatic Asylum as an organized state institution, as part of an effort by the Reconstruction-era legislature to increase public institutions for general welfare. The legislature also founded the state's first system of free public education.

In the years after the Civil War, many freedmen migrated to Petersburg for rebuilding, work on the river, and to escape the white control prevalent in more rural areas. They found numerous churches, businesses and institutions founded by free blacks, and added new energy to the community. In 1874 James M. Wilkerson, Sr. founded the Wilkerson Undertaking Company. It continues to operate as the James M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc. http://www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com and is one of the oldest black-owned firms in the United States. Although in the 1870s, conservative whites took power in the state and began to legislate racial segregation
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

, African Americans continued to create their own businesses and community organizations in Petersburg.

During the 1880s, a coalition of black Republicans and white Populist
Populist Party (United States)
The People's Party, also known as the "Populists", was a short-lived political party in the United States established in 1891. It was most important in 1892-96, then rapidly faded away...

s held power for several years in the state legislature. This resulted in two major public institutions in Petersburg, as the legislature invested for education and welfare. In 1882, the legislature founded Virginia State University
Virginia State University
Virginia State University is a historically black and land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Chesterfield, in the Richmond area. Founded on , Virginia State was the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans...

 in nearby Ettrick as Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. It was one of the first public (fully state-supported) four-year historically black colleges and universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community....

 (HBCU) in the Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic States
The Mid-Atlantic states, also called middle Atlantic states or simply the mid Atlantic, form a region of the United States generally located between New England and the South...

. This was part of a drive to improve public education that started with the Reconstruction legislature. John Mercer Langston
John Mercer Langston
John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, and political activist. He was the first dean of the law school at Howard University and helped create the department. He was the first president of what is now Virginia State University. In 1888 he was the first African...

, a national political leader and former dean of Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

's law department, was selected as the college's first president. An Oberlin College
Oberlin College
Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college in Oberlin, Ohio, noteworthy for having been the first American institution of higher learning to regularly admit female and black students. Connected to the college is the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the oldest continuously operating...

 graduate, he was an accomplished attorney
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 who had been a leader of abolitionists in Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 and held national appointments. In 1888, Langston was elected to the US Congress on the Republican ticket, the first African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 to be elected to Congress from Virginia. He was also the last for nearly a century.

Also in 1882, the state legislature authorized moving the asylum facility to the Mayfield Farm and developing a new campus there. This is the site of the present-day Central State Hospital
Central State Hospital (Virginia)
Central State Hospital is an institution for mentally handicapped adults near Dinwiddie, Virginia. It is supported and administered by the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services. It was established in 1870....

, which provides a variety of mental health services.

20th century


The limitations of Petersburg's small geographic area and proximity to Richmond were structural problems which hampered it in adapting to major economic changes in the 20th century. Other forces in the mid-20th century acted to pull people and jobs from the city. It suffered from competition with nearby Richmond, which grew to dominate the region in a changing economy as industries restructured.

World wars led to major federal institutions being constructed at Petersburg, which created local jobs. Soon after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 started, the US Army established Camp Lee for training draftees. The facility was used again during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In 1950 the camp was designated Fort Lee
Fort Lee, Virginia
Fort Lee is a census-designated place in Prince George County, Virginia, United States. The population was 7,269 at the 2000 census.Fort Lee is a United States Army post and headquarters of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command / Sustainment Center of Excellence , the U.S. Army Quartermaster...

, and additional buildings were constructed to house the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Center and School.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Virginia's conservative white Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

–dominated legislature instituted Jim Crow laws, including imposing racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

. It also approved constitutional changes that effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites. Those disfranchised suffered major losses in the ability to exercise their rights as citizens. For instance, without being able to vote, they could not serve on juries or be appointed to certain offices. The white legislature consistently underfunded services and schools for blacks.

With many African Americans having served the nation and cause of freedom in WWII, in the postwar years they pressed for social justice, an end to segregation and restoration of voting power. Even after the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 of blacks to northern jobs and cities, Petersburg was 40 percent black in 1960. Those citizens were barred from free use of public spaces and facilities. Major black churches, such as First Baptist and Gillfield Baptist, formed the moral center of the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 in Petersburg, which gained strength in mid-century and was a major center of action.

Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker
Wyatt Tee Walker
Wyatt Tee Walker is a United States black pastor, national civil rights leader, theologian, and cultural historian. He was a Chief of Staff for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in 1958 became an early board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference . He helped found the Congress for...

, the pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church, had become friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

 in the early 1950s when they were both in divinity school. In 1957 they co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...

 (SCLC), an important force for leadership of the movement in the South. Walker also founded the Petersburg Improvement Association (PIA), modeled on the Montgomery Improvement Association
Montgomery Improvement Association
The Montgomery Improvement Association was formed on December 5, 1955 by black ministers and community leaders in Montgomery, Alabama. Under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr...

 in Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

. According to Walker and other close associates of King, Petersburg had played an important role, a kind of blueprint for the national civil rights struggle. King spent time in the city on several occasions in the 1950s and 60s, and several of his top lieutenants were recruited from the local movement.

African Americans in Petersburg struggled, with federal government support, to desegregate public schools and facilities. Through sit-ins in the bus terminal in 1960, the PIA gained agreement by the president of the Bus Terminal Restaurants to desegregate lunch counters in Petersburg and several other cities. Virginia officials at the top levels resisted school integration and initiated the program of Massive Resistance
Massive resistance
Massive resistance was a policy declared by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. on February 24, 1956, to unite other white politicians and leaders in Virginia in a campaign of new state laws and policies to prevent public school desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision...

. For instance, rather than integrate, the school board of neighboring Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County, Virginia
Prince Edward County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the population was 23,368. Its county seat is Farmville.-Formation and County Seats:...

 closed public schools for five years, starting in 1959.

In the 1950s, Petersburg became the southern terminus of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike
Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike
The Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike was a toll road located in the Richmond-Petersburg region of central Virginia, USA.After World War II, major traffic congestion occurred in the area around Richmond and Petersburg along U.S. Route 1 and U.S. Route 301...

, predating the U.S. Interstate Highway System.

In 1958 Petersburg was named an "All American City" for its quality of life. Retail and industry prospered there until about the early 1980s. De-industrialization and structural economic changes cost many jobs in the city, as happened in numerous older industrial cities across the North and Midwest. The postwar national movement of highway construction and suburbanization
Suburbanization
Suburbanization a term used to describe the growth of areas on the fringes of major cities. It is one of the many causes of the increase in urban sprawl. Many residents of metropolitan regions work within the central urban area, choosing instead to live in satellite communities called suburbs...

 added to problems. Many middle-class families moved to newer housing in the suburbs and to nearby Richmond, where the economy was expanding with jobs in fields of financial and retail services. Some companies moved industrial jobs to states further south, where wages were lower, or out of the country altogether. Without sufficient jobs and decreasing middle-class population, city progress slowed.

The declining economy increased the pressure of competition and racial tensions. These flared from 1968 to 1980. Following the assassination of King in 1968, Petersburg was the first city to designate his birthday as a holiday, an observance that is now a national holiday. Regional tensions were heightened by the city's two large annexations of adjacent portions of Dinwiddie and Prince George Counties in the early 1970s. Despite the large addition of suburban school-age children, a downward trend in public school enrollment continued. Projected industrial development of large tracts of vacant land in the annexed areas did not materialize. In 1985 city leaders were unable to keep Brown & Williamson
Brown & Williamson
Brown & Williamson was an American tobacco company and subsidiary of the giant British American Tobacco, that produced several popular cigarette brands. It became infamous as the focus of investigations for chemically enhancing the addictiveness of cigarettes...

 tobacco company, a top employer, from relocating to Macon, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Macon is a city located in central Georgia, US. Founded at the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, it is part of the Macon metropolitan area, and the county seat of Bibb County. A small portion of the city extends into Jones County. Macon is the biggest city in central Georgia...

. The company chose a job market with lower wages and a weaker labor union environment.

Partially due to the vacant land still available for potential industrial development, which had been used as justification for the earlier annexations, in 1986 the city failed in its attempt to annex a large section of neighboring Prince George County. It had hoped to enlarge its area for schools and tax base.

When negotiations soured in 1989 to build a new regional mall in Petersburg, the city suffered an economic setback. Numerous remaining retail merchants relocated to the new Southpark Mall
Southpark Mall (Colonial Heights, Virginia)
Southpark Mall is a shopping mall serving the Tri-Cities, Virginia area, which itself is part of the much larger Richmond-Petersburg metropolitan area.-Mall Description:...

 area in adjacent Colonial Heights. In a typical postwar US pattern, suburban development through the late 20th century drew off retail from the former downtown area. It was once vibrant near the north end of Sycamore Street but had declined by the late 20th century because of structural changes in industries, and loss of local jobs and customers.

21st century



In the early 21st century, Petersburg leaders are highlighting its attractive historical and industrial sites, with associated access to an exceptionally wide transportation network. As of 2007, Petersburg continued to evolve as a small city, even as the nature of its commercial activities changed. Downtown Petersburg, known as Old Towne, began experiencing a rebirth. The Army has substantially expanded activities at nearby Fort Lee, home of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's Sustainment Center of Excellence
Sustainment Center of Excellence
The U.S. Army Sustainment Center of Excellence [pronounced sko or sko-e] is a subordinate organization under the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia.- SCoE definition :...

, as well as the Army's Logistics Branch, Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation Corps.

Geography


Petersburg is located at 37°12′46"N 77°24′1"W (37.21295, -77.400417).

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 23.2 square miles (60.1 km²), of which, 22.9 square miles (59.3 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square mile (0.776996433 km²) of it (1.29%) is water.

Petersburg is located on the Appomattox River
Appomattox River
The Appomattox River is a tributary of the James River, approximately long, in central and eastern Virginia in the United States, named for the Appomattocs Indian tribe who lived along its lower banks in the 17th century...

 at the fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

, which marks the area where an upland region (continental bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

) and a coastal plain
Coastal plain
A coastal plain is an area of flat, low-lying land adjacent to a seacoast and separated from the interior by other features. One of the world's longest coastal plains is located in eastern South America. The southwestern coastal plain of North America is notable for its species diversity...

 (coastal alluvia
Alluvium
Alluvium is loose, unconsolidated soil or sediments, eroded, deposited, and reshaped by water in some form in a non-marine setting. Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, including fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel...

) meet. The fall line is typically prominent where a river crosses its rocky boundary, as there are rapids or waterfalls. River boats could not travel any farther inland, making the location the head of navigation. The need of a port and abundant supply of water power causes settlements to develop where a river crosses the fall line. The most prominent example of fall-line settlement was the establishment of the cities along the eastern coast of the United States where the Appalachian Rise
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 and the coastal plains meet.

Located along the eastern seaboard
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

, approximately halfway between New York and Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Petersburg is just 23 miles (37 km) south of Virginia's state capital, Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 and is at the juncture of Interstates 95 and 85. The city is one of 13 jurisdictions that comprise the Richmond-Petersburg
Richmond-Petersburg
The Greater Richmond Region is a region located in a central part of the state of Virginia in the United States. As of 2010, it had a population of 1,258,251, making it the 43rd largest MSA in the country...

 Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Economic Analysis
The Bureau of Economic Analysis is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides important economic statistics including the gross domestic product of the United States. Its stated mission is to "promote a better understanding of the U.S...

 combines the city of Petersburg with the cities of Colonial Heights
Colonial Heights, Virginia
Colonial Heights is an independent city in Virginia, United States. The population was 17,411 as of 2010. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Colonial Heights with Dinwiddie County for statistical purposes...

 and Hopewell
Hopewell, Virginia
Hopewell is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 22,591 at the 2010 Census . It is in Tri-Cities area of the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, and neighboring Dinwiddie
Dinwiddie County, Virginia
Dinwiddie County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the population was 28,001. Its county seat is Dinwiddie.- History :...

 and Prince George
Prince George County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 33,047 people, 10,159 households, and 8,096 families residing in the county. The population density was 124 people per square mile . There were 10,726 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile...

 counties for statistical purposes. Petersburg is also a part of the Tri-cities, Virginia
Tri-Cities, Virginia
The Tri-Cities of Virginia is an area in the Greater Richmond Region which includes the three independent cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell and portions of the adjoining counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, and Prince George in south-central Virginia...

 regional economy known as the "Appomattox Basin", which includes a portion of southeastern Chesterfield County.

Adjacent counties/independent city

  • Chesterfield County, Virginia
    Chesterfield County, Virginia
    Chesterfield County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. In 2010, its population was estimated to be 316,236. Chesterfield County is now the fourth-largest municipality in Virginia . Its county seat is Chesterfield...

    —northwest
  • Colonial Heights, Virginia
    Colonial Heights, Virginia
    Colonial Heights is an independent city in Virginia, United States. The population was 17,411 as of 2010. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Colonial Heights with Dinwiddie County for statistical purposes...

    —north
  • Dinwiddie County, Virginia
    Dinwiddie County, Virginia
    Dinwiddie County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the population was 28,001. Its county seat is Dinwiddie.- History :...

    —west, southwest
  • Prince George County, Virginia
    Prince George County, Virginia
    As of the census of 2000, there were 33,047 people, 10,159 households, and 8,096 families residing in the county. The population density was 124 people per square mile . There were 10,726 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile...

    —east, southeast

Major highways

  • Interstate 85
    Interstate 85
    Interstate 85 is a major interstate highway in the Southeastern United States. Its current southern terminus is at an interchange with Interstate 65 in Montgomery, Alabama; its northern terminus interchanges with Interstate 95 in Petersburg, Virginia, near Richmond...

  • Interstate 95
    Interstate 95
    Interstate 95 is the main highway on the East Coast of the United States, running parallel to the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Florida and serving some of the most populated urban areas in the country, including Boston, Providence, New Haven, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore,...

  • US Route 1
  • US Route 301
  • U.S. Route 460
  • Virginia State Route 36
    Virginia State Route 36
    Virginia State Route 36 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. The state highway runs from SR 602 and SR 669 near Matoaca east to SR 10 in Hopewell. SR 36 is the main highway between Petersburg and Hopewell; within each independent city, the state highway follows a byzantine path...


Demographics


As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 33,740 people, 13,799 households, and 8,513 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 1,474.6 people per square mile (569.4/km²). There were 15,955 housing units at an average density of 697.3 per square mile (269.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.00% African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

, 18.5% White
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

, 0.20% Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, 0.70% Asian
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

, 0.03% Pacific Islander
Pacific Islander American
Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population...

, 0.59% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races
Multiracial American
Multiracial Americans, US residents who identify themselves as of "two or more races", were numbered at around 9 million, or 2.9% of the population, in the census of 2010. However there is considerable evidence that the real number is far higher. Prior to the mid-20th century many people hid their...

. Hispanics or Latinos
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

 of any race were 1.37% of the population.

There were 13,799 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.1% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 26.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.98.

The age distribution was 25.1% under 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,851, and the median income for a family was $33,955. Males had a median income of $27,859 versus $21,882 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $15,989. About 16.7% of families and 19.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.1% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.

Economy


Arnold Pen Co., Seward Trunk Co.
Seward Trunk Co.
Founded in 1878 by Simon Seward, the Petersburg, Virginia-based Seward Trunk Co. was once the nation's largest manufacturer of steamers, trunks and luggage. In 1967, Seward was purchased by the Dayco Corporation, the former Dayton Rubber Company, of Dayton, Ohio. The company is now a unit of...

, Titmus Optical, Amsted Rail-Brenco bearings, and Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the top 20 pharmaceutical manufacturers, operate in Petersburg. The city has a long history as an industrial center for Virginia. It was home to many tobacco companies, including tobacco giant Brown & Williamson
Brown & Williamson
Brown & Williamson was an American tobacco company and subsidiary of the giant British American Tobacco, that produced several popular cigarette brands. It became infamous as the focus of investigations for chemically enhancing the addictiveness of cigarettes...

. The Southern Chemical Co., the original maker of Fleets Phoso-soda (used in hospitals world wide), was a well-known brand associated with the town.

Architecture and Arts


Since the departure of the Tobacco company Brown & Williamson, Petersburg has invested heavily in historic preservation
Historic preservation
Historic preservation is an endeavor that seeks to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, objects, landscapes or other artifacts of historical significance...

 of its rich range of architecture. The city's numerous 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century structures in its historic neighborhoods provide unique character of place. Groups such as Historic Petersburg Foundation and Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
Founded in 1889, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities was the United States' first statewide historic preservation group. In 2003 the organization adopted the new name APVA Preservation Virginia to reflect a broader focus on statewide Preservation and in 2009 it shortened...

 have worked to restore many of the city's buildings and recognized important districts.

The Petersburg Old Town Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

, as are other historic districts. People appreciate the preserved historic buildings and pedestrian scale of the downtown, as well as their architectural variety. The buildings are being adapted for new uses. Many restaurants, specialty shops, and up-scale apartments and condos have been developed, with more underway. Southern Living
Southern Living
Southern Living is a widely read lifestyle magazine aimed at readers in the Southern United States featuring recipes, house plans, and information about Southern culture and travel...

magazine featured this area, as did HGTV
HGTV
HGTV , is a cable-television network operating in the United States and Canada, broadcasting a variety of home and garden improvement, maintenance, renovation, craft and remodeling shows...

's What You Get For The Money.

The area has become a vibrant arts center. It has an area Arts League and a Performing Arts Center, Sycamore Rouge, "Petersburg's Professional Theatre for the Community". Sycamore Rouge produces a five-show mainstage theatre season and a "black box
Black box
A black box is a device, object, or system whose inner workings are unknown; only the input, transfer, and output are known characteristics.The term black box can also refer to:-In science and technology:*Black box theory, a philosophical theory...

" theatre season, supplemented with live music and cabaret performances. The city celebrates a "Friday of the Arts" on the second Friday of each month, in which many locations feature local artwork and live music.

Numerous historic properties and districts are associated with the downtown area, and Pocahontas Island was listed as a historic district
Historic district
A historic district or heritage district is a section of a city which contains older buildings considered valuable for historical or architectural reasons. In some countries, historic districts receive legal protection from development....

 on the National Register. Among the city's most architecturally refined properties is Battersea, a Palladian-style house built in 1767-1768. On the city's western edge above the Appomattox River
Appomattox River
The Appomattox River is a tributary of the James River, approximately long, in central and eastern Virginia in the United States, named for the Appomattocs Indian tribe who lived along its lower banks in the 17th century...

, the house is situated on 37 acres (149,733.8 m²). It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

. A non-profit group is working with the city to develop a long-term plan for the property.

Sports


Petersburg is home to the Petersburg Generals
Petersburg Generals
The Petersburg Generals are an amateur baseball team in the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer baseball league. The team plays its home games at the Petersburg Sports Complex in Petersburg, Virginia. The Generals first started participating in the Coastal Plain League in 2000...

 of the Coastal Plain League
Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League is a wood-bat collegiate summer league, featuring college players from throughout the nation. The league takes its name from a Class D minor league baseball league which operated in the same area from 1937 to 1952. The modern league was formed with six teams in 1997...

, a collegiate summer baseball league. The Generals play at the Petersburg Sports Complex
Petersburg Sports Complex
The Petersburg Sports Complex is a multi-purpose athletic venue located in Petersburg, Virginia, USA. The facility includes four softball and one baseball field. In addition to the field, the facility features a concession stand, restrooms, press boxes, offices, a public address system, and a...

. The Generals began play in 2000 and won a league championship in their inaugural season.

Elementary and secondary schools


Petersburg City Public Schools
Note: This section contains a listing only of the current and some of the past public schools serving the independent city of Petersburg, Virginia, all operating under the name of Petersburg City Public Schools. For history of the individual schools and the school system, see history section of this article, or click on links to individual articles as indicated below.

High school
  • Petersburg High School
    Petersburg High School (Virginia)
    Petersburg High School is located in Petersburg, Virginia.Petersburg High School is located on Johnson Road in Petersburg, Va. The new school combined the old Petersburg High School on Washington Street and the old Peabody High School on Wesley Street.Petersburg High School opened the current...


Middle school(s)
  • Vernon Johns, Jr. Junior High School (former Anderson Elementary building)
  • Peabody Middle School

Elementary schools
  • A.P Hill Elementary
  • Robert E. Lee Elementary
  • Walnut Hill Elementary
  • Blandford Academy K-5
  • J.E.B Stuart Elementary
  • Westview Early Childhood Education Center

Charter/tech

Schools closed, several buildings re-tasked http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/timesdispatch/access/870595481.html?dids=870595481:870595481&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jul+21,+2005&author=Andrew+Price&pub=Richmond+Times+-+Dispatch&desc=PETERSBURG+TO+CLOSE+ELEMENTARY+SCHOOL+;+PLAN+CALLS+FOR+VIRGINIA+AVENUE+STUDENTS+TO+MOVE;+BUILDING+TO+BE+A+DEVELOPMENT+CENTER&pqatl=google
  • David Anderson Elementary School (coverted to a middle school)
  • Virginia Avenue Elementary School-Closed in 2005
  • Westview Elementary (reduced to Head Start and early childhood education)


Independent schools in the Petersburg area currently include:
  • Bermuda Run Educational Center
  • Blandford Manor Education Center
  • Grace Baptist School
  • Restoration Military Academy
  • Rock Church Academy
  • Robert A. Lewis SDA School
  • St. Joseph School

Higher education


The area is served by three schools of higher education:
  • John Tyler Community College
    John Tyler Community College
    John Tyler Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education and is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. John Tyler is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and offers 17 associate degree programs,...

  • Richard Bland College
    Richard Bland College
    Richard Bland College of The College of William and Mary is a public junior college with about 1,400 students located near Petersburg, Virginia...

  • Virginia State University
    Virginia State University
    Virginia State University is a historically black and land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Chesterfield, in the Richmond area. Founded on , Virginia State was the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans...


City government and politics



The city of Petersburg has a council-manager form of city government. Therefore, the city is subdivided into seven wards and each ward elects one member each to the city council. The city council then hires a city manager.

The city council elects one of its members to serve as mayor and one member to serve as vice mayor, but generally those positions only have the authority of being chair and vice chair of the city council.

The members of city council:

Ward One: Treska Wilson-Smith

Ward Two: Mike Ross

Ward Three: Kenneth Pritchett

Ward Four: Brian A. Moore (Mayor)

Ward Five: W. Howard Myers

Ward Six: Ray Coleman

Ward Seven: Horace P. Webb (Vice Mayor)

Presently, W. E. Johnson III is Petersburg's city manager. Brian A. Moore serves as mayor and Horace P. Webb as vice-mayor.

Because Petersburg has a predominant black population (which votes heavily Democratic), the city has been a Democratic stronghold. It is represented by Rosalyn Dance in the House of Delegates (63rd District) and Henry Marsh in the State Senate (16th District). Both Dance and Marsh are both Democrats. Five of the City Council representatives are confirmed Democrats including the mayor and vice-mayor. All the local constitutional officers are also Democrats. In 2008, Petersburg gave the second-largest percentage of votes for the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama than any other municipality in the nation.

In 2009 for the first time in decades, the local Republican party actually nominated a candidate for constitutional office. When it became apparent that Petersburg's treasurer was going to lose the Democratic primary, Patrick N. Washington initiated a campaign to nominate Tammy Alexander as the Republican candidate for treasurer. In November, Tammy Alexander was defeated but captured a quarter of the votes, the largest percentage for a Republican in Petersburg in over thirty years.

Religion


The city is known as Baptist country which includes the oldest African-American congregation in the United States (First Baptist on Harrison Street). The two largest churches are Good Shepherd Baptist Church on Crater Road and Mount Olive Baptist Church on Augusta Avenue.

There are various religious traditions that have congregations in Petersburg with some history behind them. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South (known as the Southern Methodist Church denomination) was started in Petersburg on Washington Street.

Jehovah's Witnesses are very prevalent in the city with two kingdom halls located in the area.

Many Petersburg storefronts are occupied by Pentecostal/Charismatic/Non-denominational assemblies. Two of the oldest churches in the Pentecostal tradition that came to Petersburg are Bethesda Bibleway Church (founded by Bishop Bean) and Zion Memorial Apostolic Church (founded by Bishop Christian and now pastored by Bishop Samuel Wright,Sr). Zion is the largest Pentecostal church in Petersburg located on Youngs Road.

There is a Jewish synagogue, Congregation Brith Achim, which is officially non-denominational, but has a progressive-Conservative orientation with a Rabbi who was ordained by the Renewal movement of Judaism. Since 2000, there has been an emerging Hebrew Roots movement in Petersburg. Two Hebrew-Roots congregations are the Emmanuel Worship Center on Grove Avenue and Beth Yeshua For All People on South Crater Road.

The Petersburg Ward, a congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, meets at 1800 Johnson Road. It is part of the Richmond Virginia Chesterfield Stake. Members of this Ward are assigned to the Washington, D.C. LDS Temple
Washington D.C. Temple
The Washington D.C. Temple is the 18th constructed and 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is located in Kensington, Maryland, USA, near the Capital Beltway just north of Washington, D.C...

.

There is also significant interdenominational forums in the city. Elder Joseph P. Green of Emmanuel Worship Center has organized Community Prayer that brings the faithful from various religious backgrounds. The United Outreaches is also another group that works across denominational lines in Petersburg and the surrounding areas.

Notable residents


  • Victoria Gray Adams
    Victoria Gray Adams
    Victoria Jackson Gray Adams was an American civil rights activist from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was one of the founding members of the influential Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.-Early life and education:...

    , the first black woman to run for U. S. Senate from Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

    , as well as co-chair with Fannie Lou Hamer
    Fannie Lou Hamer
    Fannie Lou Hamer was an American voting rights activist and civil rights leader....

     in founding the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
    Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
    The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was an American political party created in the state of Mississippi in 1964, during the civil rights movement...

    , lived here near the end of her life.
  • Tyra Bolling
    Tyra Bolling
    Tyra Bolling is an American singer-songwriter. Bolling grew up singing with a local group by the name of Kraze with her sister and now cousin-in-law when she was 14...

    , R&B singer, was born here.
  • Trey Songz
    Trey Songz
    Tremaine "Trey" Aldon Neverson , better known by his stage name Trey Songz, is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer and actor. His debut album, I Gotta Make It, was released in 2005, while his second album, Trey Day, was released in 2007...

    ,R&B singer, was born here.
  • Joseph Cotten
    Joseph Cotten
    Joseph Cheshire Cotten was an American actor of stage and film. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair...

    , actor, was born and raised here.
  • Dr. John Crews, the first African-American robotic surgeon, was born here.
  • Harold Cruse
    Harold Cruse
    Harold Wright Cruse was an American academic who was an outspoken social critic and teacher of African-American studies at the University of Michigan until the mid-1980s. The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual is his best-known book....

     (1916-2005), social critic and teacher of African-American studies, born in Petersburg.
  • Ricky Hunley
    Ricky Hunley
    Ricky Hunley is an American football coach and former linebacker. He is currently the assistant linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League.-College career:...

    , NFL
    National Football League
    The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

     Defensive Player, was born here.
  • Stoney Jackson
    Stoney Jackson
    Stonewall W. "Stoney" Jackson is an American character actor. Jackson was born in Richmond, Virginia.-Career:He was featured in numerous teen magazines in the 1970s and 1980s, including Right On, Teen Beat, and Tiger Beat.He portrayed high school basketball player Jesse Mitchell on the ensemble...

    , actor, was born and raised here.
  • Rev. Dr. Vernon Johns
    Vernon Johns
    Vernon Johns was an American minister and civil rights leader who was active in the struggle for civil rights for African Americans from the 1920s....

    , civil rights leader.
  • John Mercer Langston
    John Mercer Langston
    John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, and political activist. He was the first dean of the law school at Howard University and helped create the department. He was the first president of what is now Virginia State University. In 1888 he was the first African...

     (1829–1899), abolitionist, activist, educator and politician—first dean of Howard University
    Howard University
    Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

     law school, first president of Virginia State University
    Virginia State University
    Virginia State University is a historically black and land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Chesterfield, in the Richmond area. Founded on , Virginia State was the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans...

    , in 1888 first black to be elected to the United States Congress
    United States Congress
    The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

     from Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    .
  • William Mahone
    William Mahone
    William Mahone was a civil engineer, teacher, soldier, railroad executive, and a member of the Virginia General Assembly and U.S. Congress. Small of stature, he was nicknamed "Little Billy"....

    , 19th century railroad builder, Confederate General (hero of the Battle of the Crater
    Battle of the Crater
    The Battle of the Crater was a battle of the American Civil War, part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on July 30, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade The...

    ), and politician was the mayor of Petersburg, where he and his wife Otelia Butler Mahone
    Otelia B. Mahone
    Otelia Butler Mahone from Smithfield, Virginia was a nurse during the American Civil War and the wife of Confederate Major General William Mahone, who was a civil engineer, teacher, railroad builder, and Senator in the United States Congress...

     made their home for many years.
  • Moses Malone
    Moses Malone
    Moses Eugene Malone is a retired American Hall of Fame basketball player who starred in both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association...

    , NBA
    National Basketball Association
    The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

     player, was born here.
  • Afemo Omilami
    Afemo Omilami
    Afemo Omilami is an American actor.-Career:He has appeared in many films such as Glory , The Firm , Gordy , Remember the Titans , Hounddog , and The Blind Side...

    , actor in the films Drum Line
    Drum line
    Drum Line commonly refers to:* Drum lines, An anti shark precautionary measure* Drumline, A formation for a section of percussion instruments* Drumline , A 2002 motion film...

    , Forrest Gump
    Forrest Gump
    Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic comedy-drama romance film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright and Gary Sinise...

    and Glory, was born and raised here.
  • Dee Dee Ramone
    Dee Dee Ramone
    Dee Dee Ramone was an American songwriter and musician, best known as founding member, bassist and main songwriter of the punk rock band the Ramones....

    , punk rocker, was born at Ft. Lee Army base.
  • Nancy Davis Reagan, former First Lady, lived in the city until age 13 with her stepfather and mother, Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Davis.
  • Joseph Jenkins Roberts
    Joseph Jenkins Roberts
    Joseph Jenkins Roberts was the first and seventh President of Liberia. Born free in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, Roberts emigrated to Liberia in 1829 as a young man. He opened a trading store in Monrovia, and later engaged in politics...

    , the first President of Liberia
    Liberia
    Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

    , lived for a time in Petersburg.
  • Winfield Scott
    Winfield Scott
    Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

    , United States Army
    United States Army
    The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

     General, diplomat, and presidential candidate, was born nearby in Dinwiddie County and spent much time in Petersburg in his youth.
  • Ricky Smith
    Rick Smith (American football executive)
    Rick Smith is currently the General Manager of the Houston Texans of the NFL.-Biography:Rick Smith played for the Purdue Boilermakers as a strong safety. He graduated from that institution, where he served as a coach...

    , general manager of the Houston Texans
    Houston Texans
    The Houston Texans are a professional American football team based in Houston, Texas. The team is currently a member of the Southern Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

     football team, was born here.
  • Morton Traylor
    Morton Traylor
    Morton Patrick Traylor was an American fine artist, designer, serigrapher and founder of the Virginia Art Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia.-Biography:...

    , artist, was born here.
  • Blair Underwood
    Blair Underwood
    Blair Underwood is an American television and film actor. He is perhaps best known as headstrong attorney Jonathan Rollins from the NBC legal drama L.A. Law, a role he portrayed for seven years. He has gained critical acclaim throughout his career, receiving numerous Golden Globe Award...

    , actor, was raised here.
  • Rev. Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, civil rights activist, Pastor of Gillfield Baptist Church, Executive Director of SCLC
    Southern Christian Leadership Conference
    The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...

    , and Senior Pastor of the Canaan Baptist Church of Harlem
    Harlem
    Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

    .
  • Tico Wells
    Tico Wells
    Tico Wells is an African-American actor, best known for his role as Choirboy in the 1991 film, The Five Heartbeats.. He has also appeared on The Cosby Show, 227, Hallmark movies and Beverly Hills, 90210. He was Tim in the movie, The Wishlist, and played Dexter Williams, the younger brother of...

    , actor, The Cosby Show
    The Cosby Show
    The Cosby Show is an American television situation comedy starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984 until April 30, 1992...

    and "Five Heart Beats" (choir boy), was born here.
  • Mark West, NBA player, was born here.

See also

  • Petersburg High School
    Petersburg High School (Virginia)
    Petersburg High School is located in Petersburg, Virginia.Petersburg High School is located on Johnson Road in Petersburg, Va. The new school combined the old Petersburg High School on Washington Street and the old Peabody High School on Wesley Street.Petersburg High School opened the current...

  • Petersburg (Amtrak station)
    Petersburg (Amtrak station)
    The Petersburg is located at 3516 South Street in the Ettrick area of Chesterfield County, Virginia . The station was built in 1955 by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and is located next to a former station....

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Petersburg, Virginia

Further reading

  • Luther Porter Jackson. A Short History of the Gillfield Baptist Church of Petersburg, VA, Petersburg, VA: Virginia Print Co., 1937
  • James Scott and Edward Wyatt, Petersburg’s Story: A History (1960)

External links