Edgar Allen Poe slept here
A friend of Edgar Allen Poe's, Hiram Haines, once owned a coffee house on Bank Street where poets of that area loved to gather. Haines let his friend and his bride honeymoon there in 1836. Back then, there wasn't a Red Roof Inn at every stone's throw and only rich folks could stay at the inns along the way. Oftentimes, even on honeymoon, folks had to rely on the hospitality of their friends. The guide directly across the street at the Siege Museum wasn't 100% certain, but she was willing to bet that this cream-coloured building was the one because there is more lodging space in the upper floors than any other building on Bank Street.
A small city with a large place in history
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". A year and a half later, I brought Jimmy "brazilnut30" here to do basically the same thing, but with a few different things.
This page will also contain a few tips from nearby Hopewell and Colonial Heights.