Pocahontas Island Historic District

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


The Pocahontas Island Historic District, located on the north side of the Appomattox River in the city of Petersburg, is an African American community dating from the mid-18th-century with evidence of earlier Indian occupation. The street grid is virtually identical to the one laid out about 1749. Pocahontas Island’s buildings demonstrate the evolution from a typical white-dominated river town to a largely African American residential and commercial neighborhood during the first half of the 19th century. Petersburg had the largest free black population of Virginia’s cities, and more free blacks lived in Pocahontas than in any other part of Petersburg. The district contains an abundance of archaeological sites that illustrate the scope of Pocahontas Island’s history from prehistoric times through the 20th century. Today, a quiet residential neighborhood where many of the residents are descendants of the earlier free blacks, Pocahontas Island continues as a representative of the African American community in Petersburg and their long involvement in the history of this city.

The Pocahontas Island Historic District was listed in the registers in 2006. Additional documentation to document the history of indigenous peoples within the district during its period of significance of 1749-1956 was approved in 2023. A significant number of Native American families, predominantly from the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, resided in Pocahontas Island throughout the 19th century.  An updated statement of significance adds two new areas of significance, Ethnic Heritage: Native American and Social History: Civil Rights, that pertain to the Native residents of Pocahontas Island.
[NRHP Approved: 12/21/2023]

Last Updated: January 31, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form

2023 Updated Nomination


William R. McKenney Memorial Building

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Walnut Hill Historic District

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Jarratt House

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