The McIlwaine House
The McIlwaine House dates back to 1794 and is the finest surviving example of Petersburg's early 19th century wooden domestic architecture. The home's general configuration, with high English basement and vertical mass, was obviously thought appropriate for the new men of substance and authority who initiated the industrialization of 19th century America. The three bay 2 1/2-story frame Federal structure consists of a central block with a single 1 1/2story wing on the north side, opening into a side hall passage running from front to rear. The house and wing have A roofs and beaded weatherboarding. The entrance porch is covered by a pediment with modillion cornice and Doric columns. The house and wing have modillion cornices. The McIlwaine House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Historic Landmark. The home isprivately owned, occasionally open to the public for special events, and available for event rental.
South Side Railroad Depot
Built in 1854, South Side Depot is the oldest railroad station in Virginia. This depot served the South Side Railroad line, the last railroad left operating during the Siege of Petersburg. When Union troops finally severed the rail line, it ensured the surrender of Petersburg and Richmond, bringing the war to an end. In recent years the station served as a back-drop for the movie Lincoln and television series TURN. The station played a critical role as part of the Confederate logistical efforts during the Siege of Petersburg in 1864-1865. In 2017, extensive repairs to the center two-story block are being completed in preparation for building becoming a visitors’ contact center for the Petersburg National Battlefield.
Peter Jones Trading Station
Traditionally this stone structure has been thought to date back to c. 1665 as part of the Peter Jones Trading Station, and therefore the oldest building in Petersburg. Also called the Stone Lumber House, this property was part of the original Fort Henry tract owned by Abraham Wood and Peter Jones, his son-in-law, in the 17th century. It is located at the most historic intersection of Old and Market Streets, just south of the Appomattox River. Fort Henry served an important role in early colonial exploration and trade with the Indians.
Golden Ball Tavern (1750-1944)
Located at the southeast corner of Grove Avenue and North Market Streets, the Golden Ball Tavern was reportedly built about 1750. The original tavern included a dwelling house which was added in 1764 by Richard Hanson, a prosperous tobacco merchant and fervent Loyalist who fled Virginia in 1776. In 1781, British troops occupied the city and the officers were quartered at the tavern. The tavern was expanded in the 1820s and rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 1850. The structure was razed in 1944 to create room for a parking lot. Today, the land where the historic tavern stood is owned by the Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc.
Elizabeth Keckley Residence in 1844
Born a slave in Dinwiddie County, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818–1907) purchased her freedom in 1855 and supported herself as a seamstress, first in St. Louis and then in Washington, D.C. Her skills brought her to the attention of Mary Todd Lincoln, who hired Keckley in 1861. She became Mary Lincoln's favorite dressmaker and later her personal companion, confidante, and traveling companion. It was a remarkable friendship between two very different women, but it ended with the publication of Keckley's memoir in 1868.
High Street Residences
High Street exhibits a wide variety of 19th-century architectural styles. Viewed from Market Street, on the north side of High Street are May’s Row (## 217, 219, 221 and 223) and Smith’s Row (##209, 211, and 215). Smith’s row is a well detailed example of Federal townhouses. May’s Row is a well detailed example of Italianate style Houses. On the south side of High Street is Baltimore Row (## 230, 232, 235, 236 and 238), built in 1870 on the site of the first Second Presbyterian Church which had been organized in 1841. A great many more residences can be found on High Street.
The Trapezium House
Built in 1817 (after the fire of 1815), this architectural curiosity by an eccentric Irish bachelor Charles O’Hara, is in the form of a trapezium, a four-sided figure with no two sides parallel. Tradition has it that a West Indian servant persuaded O’Hara that a house without right angles could not harbor evil spirits. In fact, the lintels of two doors appear to have been tilted deliberately, and mantels, floors, and other elements converge on an imaginary vanishing point so that the interior appears to be elongated. The house is now privately owned and not open to the public.
The structure is Federal in style, brick, three stories; gable roof with three bays. The façade is Flemish-bond. Entrance with fanlight is located in the north bay.
Petersburg Hustings Courthouse
The Courthouse, constructed between 1838-1840, is a Classical Revival structure that is of both architectural and historical importance to the City of Petersburg and to the State of Virginia. The Petersburg Courthouse houses one of the five remaining hustings courts in Virginia and, for that matter, in the entire United States. Historically, the courthouse played a major role during the 1864-1865 Siege of Petersburg. Union troops used the tower for a sighting mark and spared the structure from the bombardment. Both sides relied upon the clock in the tower as an accurate timepiece.