South Side Depot
Built c. 1854, it is the oldest railroad station in Virginia. The two-story center section was the passenger depot, with freight wings on the east and west. Many of the goods sold from Petersburg businesses and shops entered the city through this depot.
During the Civil War, The Southside Railroad was one of five railroad lines that converged in Petersburg, hence the city’s strategic importance to the Confederacy. Thousands of Confederate soldiers rode into the city on this railroad. A 30-pound Parrott shell hit a roof support beam in the western freight wing after piercing the roof. The location of this shell damage can still be seen, and the depot was struck by one other shell during the siege.
After the war, former Brigadier General William “Billy” Mahone’s office was on the second floor, with his desk overlooking the city. In 1861 he was the president and superintendent of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. He created the Norfolk and Western system.
The eastern freight wing was severely damaged in the August (?) 1993 tornado that struck Petersburg and Colonial Heights. In the early 2000s, The War Between the States, Inc. owned the depot. The City of Petersburg currently owns the depot, and the National Park Service plans to place a visitor’s center in the center section highlighting the Civil War in Petersburg.
This structure was prominently portrayed in the movie “Lincoln,” filmed in Petersburg in the third week of December 2011.