A major make-over is coming for the historic South Side depot in Petersburg. Several groups are joining forces to restore the facility and turn it into a National Park Service Visitor Contact station.
Built in 1854, it is the oldest railroad station in Virginia. Thousands of confederate soldiers rode into the city and stopped at the facility. The station even served as a back-drop for the movie Lincoln. The building also weathered many storms including a tornado in 1993.
Because this historic gem is still standing, Petersburg wants to make it a centerpiece for tourism.
“One of the main things that we are bringing to this project is stories and telling people’s stories,” says Lewis Rogers, the superintendent at Petersburg National Battlefield.
Petersburg resident Porcher Taylor Jr. said he wasn’t going to miss this announcement because he is excited for the city’s development.
“There is a terrific history here that needs to be told and I certainly want to be a part of that,” says Taylor. The city of Petersburg, the National Park Service, Virginia Department of Transportation, the Department of Historical Resources and the Civil War Trust are all partners in this project.
“People recognize the significance of what this building did during the civil war as well as what it can do for us in the future,” says Steven Hicks, the director of public works and utilities in Petersburg.
Approximately $750, 000 will be used to complete the first phase of the project. The new contact station could open as soon as May.
A second phase is being planned; however, leaders are searching for funding to complete that portion of the project.
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