"A small city with a large place in history" Petersburg by b1bob

Petersburg Travel Guide: 30 reviews and 57 photos

Petersburg is at a strategic location at the confluence of the Appomattox and James Rivers. The Appomattox River was a transportation lifeline for central Virginia in the early 17th Century: English settlements spread slowly up the James River from Jamestown. By 1643, the English first settled this area and called it Bristol Parish. The colonial government established a fortress at the falls of the Appomattox and named it Fort Henry, from whence Petersburg would later develop first as a launching point for trade expeditions to the west and then as a tobacco warehouse centre.

Petersburg is mainly remembered for its siege during the War Between the States, but the city also played a key role in the Revolution. Petersburg was where Lord Cornwallis met with General Phillips and decided to march to Yorktown. As the 19th Century went on, the city expanded along the river between the fortress and the market area. Tobacco remained the cash crop and the advances of transport (canals, steamboats, and railroad) added to the region's industrial growth.

Due to its location at the confluence of two rivers and its importance in transport, Petersburg was critical to the outcome of the War Between the States. General Grant believed that if he could capture Petersburg, Richmond would soon fall. It took ten months to capture, but once it fell, Richmond quickly followed suit.

Since its founding early in Virginia's history, Petersburg has been the gateway to and a centre of activity for the whole of Southside Virginia. It is large enough (as of 2000: round about 38000) to offer all the goods and services the region needs, but small enough to keep its small-town Southern charm. For me personally, I must have passed by here hundreds of times on the way to Southside Virginia, but I almost never stopped. In mid-October, 2008, I took my first in-depth look together with David "Karnubawax". Since then, I have brought several other friends. The tour guides now know me. My friends enjoy the history and architecture of the old town and the great, but reasonably priced, restaurants there.

This page will also contain a few tips from nearby Hopewell and Colonial Heights.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The historical old town has been restored to its former glory.
  • Cons:Outside the tourist area, crime is a big problem.
  • In a nutshell:Petersburg is a great historic area that still has a long way to go.
  • Last visit to Petersburg: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (28)

Comments (14)

  • Raimix's Profile Photo
    May 19, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    Great page of historical place! I love the way that place still have quite old architecture!

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    May 6, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    excellent updates nat. and thanks for the mail describing your weekend there in details.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    Very interesting new tips: a lot of great architucture and good choice for food lovers.

  • brazilnut30's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    This is a must for anyone who likes South American Cuisine!

  • MikeAtSea's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2009 at 7:42 AM

    Very historical area - magnificant page - need to explore more in the US! Michael

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    Very good and detailed pages on the area. It is historically a show piece and peace.

  • Jan 23, 2009 at 8:46 PM

    I live near this area. Downtown Petersburg is a really beautiful place. I would recommend staying in Colonial Heights and avoiding any hotels in Petersburg. Sadly, the crime rate is horrible. Most of the hotels are used for prostitution.

  • Nov 18, 2008 at 7:50 PM

    I confirmed that Poe stayed here through some thorough research, and bought the building. The plan is to resurrect Hiram Haines original coffee house much like it was in 1836 in 2009--Poe's bicentennial.

  • Mikebond's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2008 at 9:32 AM

    Excellent page, Nat!

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2008 at 4:32 AM

    Good page, Nat. I don't know that part of the US at all, but I'm now in the mood to get to know it!


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