Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Blandford Church was built in 1735 as the seat of worship for colonists who were members of the Anglican Church. The church building was abandoned in 1806 when membership in its congregation dwindled as a result of the consecration of a new church building in downtown Petersburg. In the late nineteenth century, work began to restore the building for use as a Confederate Memorial chapel. The Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg organized the restoration campaign. As part of the restoration project, the Ladies Memorial Association solicited funds from each former Confederate state for the creation and installation of a stained glass window in memory of the Confederate soldiers from that state. Louis Comfort Tiffany’s studio was commissioned to design the fifteen memorial compass windows. The Virginia, Missouri, and Louisiana windows were the first to be unveiled in 1904. The subject and theme of each window was left entirely up to the Tiffany studios. Each of the large windows contains the image of a Saint and symbols associated with the Saint. The four smaller windows were designed to complement the
Centre Hill Mansion
Built in 1823 by Robert Bolling IV, Centre Hill remained an opulent Petersburg residence until 1936, and became a museum in 1950. Through guided tours, visitors learn about the history of Centre Hill, including its role during the Civil War and the Presidential visits by Abraham Lincoln and William Taft. Examples of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century decorative arts, many from the Petersburg area, are also exhibited. Visitors can also view the service tunnel, constructed in the 1840s that led from the back of the house to nearby Henry Street. The basement galleries in Centre Hill feature permanent and temporary exhibitions on the history of Petersburg. Permanent exhibits include memorabilia and photographs from Centre Hill’s archives, a turn-of-the-century aviary 0f stuffed birds from Australia and church furnishings from First Baptist Church, Harrison Street, Petersburg, the oldest African-American congregation in the United States.
A ghost watch is held ever January 24th, the dale that former residents heard what they believed to be the steps of ghosts of Civil War soldiers marching up and down the home’s staircase. During the month of December, Centre Hill host their holiday open house.
The cemetery adjacent to Blandford Church has been used as a burial ground since the eighteenth century. The oldest marked grave dates from 1702. As many as 30,000 Confederate soldiers are buried in Blandford. The gravestones, sculptures, and tombs represent a diverse array of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century artistic styles. In addition, some plots feature exquisite examples of nineteenth century decorative iron fences. A walking tour, highlighting some of the monuments and burial sites around the Church is incorporated into the Church tour, weather permitting. More extensive cemetery tours are offered throughout the year, including a Halloween evening tour on October 31.
The story of the 9½ month military siege and its effects on daily civilian life is told though artifacts and writings of the permanent exhibition house in the Siege Museum. Three lower level galleries feature changing exhibits relating to Petersburg’s four hundred year history. Visitors can also view the powerful film The Echoes Still Remain, narrated by the actor Joseph Cotton, a native of Petersburg.
Built in 1839, the building was originally constructed as an agricultural exchange building, one of the few remaining in the United States today. After the agricultural exchange folded in 1845, the Greek revival style building was used by various civic and commercial organizations. The City of Petersburg restored and opened the building as the Siege Museum in 1978. The building is a National Historic Landmark.
Erected by City of Petersburg.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Churches & Religion • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #27 William Howard Taft series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1808.
Location. 37° 13.99′ N, 77° 24.267′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of East Old Street and Rock Street, on the right when traveling east on East Old Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9 E Old St, Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pamplin Historical Park (here, next to this marker); African-Americans in Petersburg (here, next to this marker); The Revolutionary War in Petersburg (here, next to this marker); Petersburg National Battlefield (here, next to this marker); Petersburg Region (here, next to this marker); City Sights (here, next to this marker); Touring Old Towne (here, next to this marker); Arts & Recreation (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
More about this marker. The marker contains several photographs with the captions:
By 1912, fifteen Tiffany designed stained glass windows had been installed in the restored eighteenth century church building.
In 1909, a number of dignitaries accompanied President Taft to Petersburg. An elaborate luncheon was held for the guest of honor on the grounds of Centre Hill. Thousands of Petersburg residents crowed around the mansion to get a glimpse of the President.
The dog sculptures that flank Centre Hill’s front steps were purchased around 1850 by Robert Buckner Bolling, the second owner of the house.
Three centuries of graves, many containing elaborate monuments, can be viewed in Blandford Cemetery.
Built in 1839 in the Greek Revival style, the historic Exchange building is currently home to the Siege Museum.
Interior view of the Siege Museum showing permanent exhibits.
Also see . . .
1. Blandford Church. (Submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
2. Centre Hill Museum. (Submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
3. Blandford Cemetery. (Submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
4. Siege Museum. (Submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 535 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 10, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.