Presented by Petersburg Garden Club
Tickets: $35 pp available on tour day only at The Exchange Building (formerly The Siege Museum), 15 W. Bank St. Credit cards accepted. Advance Tickets: $30 pp. by mail before April 19, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope with check payable to: Petersburg Garden Club c/o Marilyn Walker, 9200 Fort Dushane Rd., N. Dinwiddie, VA 23841. Available locally through noon on Monday, April 29, at Palmore’s Decorating Center and Abigail’s Antiques in Petersburg. Also available at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in Colonial Heights and Boulevard Flower Gardens in Chesterfield County.
Lunch (L) (A): $12 pp at Second Presbyterian Church, 419 W. Washington St., 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ticket includes a gourmet luncheon, continuous fashion show by “All Manor of Things,” marketplace shopping and a geranium sale, all hosted by The Cockade City Garden Club. Luncheon tickets and geraniums may be ordered in advance by contacting Linda Wynne, firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 399-5258.
Advance tickets may also be purchased at Boulevard Flower Gardens and Palmore’s Decorating Center. Tickets will also be on sale the day of the tour at Second Presbyterian Church. The church sanctuary will be open for tours. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit Petersburg’s Historic Blandford Cemetery, to repair tombstones and ironworks. This site is handicap accessible.
Refreshments (R): Complimentary tea and cookies served at the Douglas garden, 226 High St., from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Facilities: The Exchange Building, 15 W. Bank St. and Second Presbyterian Church, 419 W. Washington St.
Activities (A): Petersburg Grows, 133 S. Market St. at the Historic Halifax Triangle. Owner Paul Meyer will be available from 9:30 to 6:30 p.m. to talk about his urban farm and his CSA (community supported agriculture). His early spring gardens will include lettuces and crops being grown in burlap bags, including garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric. Come see how he is able to raise more than 10,000 nursery transplants on this city lot. Paul will have plants for sale and promises to give visitors a freebie to eat or take home.
Parking (P): On-street parking is available at each property and at The Exchange Building. There is additional parking for the Exchange Building behind the building or in a lot at the corner of Sycamore and Bank Streets.
Directions: Visitors may tour the properties in any order, but these directions begin at the Exchange Building. From the North, take I-95S to Exit 52, Washington St. Turn right onto Sycamore St. and then left onto Bank St. The Exchange Building will be on the right. Going east on Bank St., continue to Second St. Take a right, then a left onto Franklin St. Proceed to Centre Hill Ave. When leaving, turn right on Franklin St. and then left on N. Adams. Continue to 239 S. Adams St. 109 Central Park may be accessed by a connecting walkway. Take a left to Marshall St. Turn left to Sycamore St.
Turn left on Sycamore St. and proceed to 1730 S. Sycamore St. Return to the downtown area by Sycamore St. Turn left on Washington St. Take a right on Market St. Left on High St. Proceed to 226 High St. on left. There are two ways to proceed to 534 Grove Ave. depending on parking direction on High St. 1) Going west on High St., take a right on Cross St., left on Grove Ave.; or 2) Heading east on High St., take a left on Market St. and a left on Grove Ave. Proceed to 534 Grove Ave.
Ticket price includes admission to the following 6 properties and 1 garden:
Centre Hill Mansion, 1 Centre Hill Avenue
Centre Hill Mansion has been called “a symbol of grandeur that characterized the aristocracy of Virginia in the 19th century.” Completed in 1823 by Robert Bolling IV in the Federal style, it was updated to incorporate elaborate Greek Revival decorative elements twenty years later. In 1901, Colonial Revival-style architectural elements were added to the interior, which is furnished with decorative arts from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries – some of which are original to the house. U.S. presidents Lincoln and Taft each visited the home. The mansion has been the site of modern-day films, including Killing Lincoln, The Abolitionist, Ithaca, the AMC spy series Turn, and Mercy Street . Centre Hill is a restoration project of the Garden Club of Virginia, which began restoration of the gardens in 1980. In 2012, the Garden Club of Virginia further updated the landscape, planting numerous appropriate species including hypericum, plum yew, blackhaw viburnum, tulip poplar, Otto Luyken laurels and weigela, and in 2017, osmanthus was added to the laurel border and more hypericum. The City of Petersburg restored the shutters and the Petersburg Garden Club funded the lighting for the south portico and visitor’s entrance. The Petersburg Garden Club recently funded restoration of the original door surrounds and leaded glass windows at both the front and back entrances. City of Petersburg, owner.
239 South Adams Street
The Syme-Pollard House was built in 1842 in the Greek Revival style by Andrew Syme, the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church from 1794-1839. The home was sold by Syme’s son in 1857 to Captain John Pollard, great-grandfather to Judge Oliver “Buddy” Pollard, who resided in the home until his death in 1865. The home was struck by a Union cannonball during the Siege of Petersburg, damaging the fireplace and window in the parlor. The home retains many of its original features throughout four levels, including the walnut newel post on the staircase, wide-width hardwood flooring, picture molding and wide crown molding, front entry sidelights and six-over-six windows. The current owners have decorated with period antiques on the main level and upstairs including a grandfather clock in the foyer, a butler’s secretary and a claw-foot sofa in the living room. The dining room hosts a French armoire from the 1700s. The finished English basement is decorated in a more contemporary style, including an entertainment room with exposed brick walls, a recreation room with built-in bookcases, pool table and jukebox and a root cellar turned into a wine cellar. Their extensive collection of contemporary and classic French and American art is showcased throughout the home. The garden, planned and installed by the previous owner, has been embellished by Mrs. Noe. Laurie and Bruce Noe, owners.
109 Central Park
Nestled in the heart of the Poplar Lawn Historic District, this home was built in 1900 and enjoys a wonderful front view of Petersburg’s historic Central Park, also known as Poplar Lawn Park. This green space has taken on various important roles throughout history, serving as a training ground for American troops. The home acted as the location of the reception for the French nobleman, the Marquis de Lafayette, and later functioned as a Confederate hospital from 1863 to 1865. Its asymmetrical front facade, decorative dentils, classical columns and large front porch are all traditional elements in the reserved form of the Queen Anne style. Since 2014, extensive restoration and renovation work has been completed by the current owners, who have chosen hues from a historic paint palette in order to keep the exterior colors consistent with the original period. Also, the brick foundation was embellished with an Italian lime wash. In addition to the exterior restoration, the interior has been completely reworked to include a new gourmet kitchen on the first floor, a kitchen on the second floor, and two bathrooms. The home is decorated with an eclectic mix of antique and contemporary furnishings, including examples of Eastlake and Art Deco furniture. Laurie and Bruce Noe, owners.
1730 S. Sycamore Street
Petersburg residents will recognize this distinctive property by its picturesque, sloping side yard. The most recent owners have transformed the landscape once limited to pine, boxwood and ivy into gardens of flowering plants that encircle water features and fieldstone. Abutting a stone patio and visible from the screened porch is a formal rose garden. A cherub planter adds grace to this classical yet intimate garden that is enclosed in brick and wrought iron fencing. Slate stepping stones transitioning to a brick walkway provide a path from the house to a koi pond at the property’s lowest elevation. Two garden bridges span a pool of lily pads and offer a vantage point from which to view a tiered, gentle waterfall. The garden abounds with color provided by astilbe, hellebore, iris, azalea, dogwood, crape myrtle and redbud. Mature weeping willow, cedar, pine, river birch and Japanese maple add foundation to the gardens. Of interest inside the house are coordinating pieces in the dining room: a circular dining table and china cabinet both of olive wood and olive burl veneer, handmade in Italy. The homeowners display their collection of original art throughout the first floor of the home. Bill and Sheila Weller, owners.
226 High Street
In 1853 this historic home was built in the Greek Revival style with additional Italianate elements. The brick patio and stairs lead to an entrance highlighted by an antique gasolier which has been electrified. Original heart pine floors can be found throughout the home. Massive pocket doors separate the parlor and dining room, each sporting Bokhara rugs. Both rooms have original coal burning fireplaces with faux painted mantels. The home has been sparsely furnished on purpose to reinforce its role as the homeowners’ retreat from their busy life in the Washington metro area. Upon purchase of the property in 2017, the owners began renovation of the garden. It has been transformed into a formal French garden, noted for its symmetry, simplicity and cool color palette. Connecting the house to the renovated shed, redone in the Georgian style with a hipped roof, is a central cobblestone edged gravel path. Adding to the French ambiance, the path has been planted with liriope, columnar junipers, tree-form hydrangeas, mature boxwood, crested iris and fragrant Butterfly Ginger, as well as several other species. The focal point is the French reproduction Jubilee Vase Fountain, which brings the garden to life. This garden is the site of the Petersburg Garden Club’s annual tea. Lewis and Crystal Douglas, owners.
534 Grove Avenue
On Petersburg’s oldest street, wheelwright Devereaux Manly House built his home in a section of the city originally inhabited by tradesmen. Recently, the president of the Petersburg Preservation Task Force purchased this property, which had been restored 25 years ago to its historic 18th-century detail. To this day, the house remains without closets to retain the authenticity of the architecture of the period. The tour of this property begins in the English basement, featuring stone walls and exposed beams that are original to the house. Brick flooring has been added to enhance the appeal of this cottage basement, a space already made cozy by one of the home’s four working fireplaces. Artifacts found during a dig in and around Appomattox Iron Works are on display in this home. Presented as a piece of art, a collage of the factory’s odds and ends, is displayed above the fireplace in the basement. Most of the doors have survived two centuries, but those that were damaged have been restructured from templates of the originals. Upstairs in the dining room is a table made of magnolia wood salvaged from a fallen tree on the lot of Petersburg’s Cameron Foundation. Heart pine floors, wainscoting, chair rails and interior staircases are original to the home. Dean McCray, owner.
Marie Bowen Gardens, Between Fairfax St., Arch St. and Arch Circle. Garden Only.
Walk the inviting paths and view the native plants, flowering trees and shrubs found in this woodland garden nestled in the Walnut Hill neighborhood. This natural setting includes ‘Witchalder’ fothergilla, leatherleaf viburnum and Southern wax myrtle. Petersburg’s garden clubs have a long history of preserving native specimens and enhancing the natural beauty of surrounding landscapes. In April 1979, the Raleigh Parish Garden Club named this garden in honor of Marie Bowen, who spent more than a thousand hours propagating and establishing its native plants. The park is a tribute to her and to the many neighbors, club members and volunteers who have spent the last 40 years adding native plants, camellias, azaleas, a dry creek bed and a Chippendale bridge. Directions: Go to S. Sycamore St. and make a right at Tuckahoe St. Travel one block; turn left onto Fairfax Ave. City of Petersburg, owner.
Points of Interest:
Historic Battersea, 1289 Upper Appomattox Rd. This 18th-century Anglo-Palladian villa sits on 35 acres along the river. Built in 1768 by the American patriot Colonel John Banister, Battersea encapsulates the early beginnings of our country and America’s future successes with its own architectural grandeur and historical longevity. This year marks Battersea’s 250th anniversary. Highlights include the original Chinese lattice stair and an orangery. Both are fine, rare examples in Virginia. PBS’ Mercy Street has filmed major scenes on the property, as has Fox Network’s Legends and Lies. The house is currently under renovation. www.batterseafound.org
Farmers‘ Bank, 19 Bollingbrook St. The first Bank Museum in Virginia opened in 1817 in this three-story, Federal-style building.The bank maintained operations throughout the Civil War, but was closed in 1866. It became a private residence before becoming one of the few bank museums in the country. Owned by Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank.
Historic Blandford Church, 111 Rochelle Ln. was built in 1735 as an Anglican house of worship. Today it has been restored as a Confederate memorial chapel with 15 priceless Louis Comfort Tiffany stained-glass windows.
The Exchange Building, 15 W. Bank St. Erected in 1841 in the Greek Revival style, it served as a marketplace for commodities and a place for auctions and sales. Today it is the Petersburg Visitors Center and will soon tell the story of 400 years of the city’s history.
Lee Memorial Park, 1616 Defense Rd. Though established in 1921, geologists and paleontologists have unearthed fossils and prehistoric sites within Lee Park dating as far back as 330 million years. Unique to the park area is its geological setting, a natural joining of the Piedmont to the Coastal plain which created a fertile site and a rich “botanical meeting ground” for rare plant species. www.leeparkpetersburg.org
Hosted by the Petersburg Garden Club
Chair: Jo Anne Davis
Co-Chair: Kathy Hayes
Bus and Group Tour Information: Polly Williams