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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

123-5494 Halifax Triangle & Downtown Commercial Historic District

Halifax Triangle & Downtown Commercial Historic District
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 03/16/2017

NRHP Listing Date 02/12/2019

NPS property number 100002886

The Halifax Triangle and Downtown Commercial Historic District consists of two distinct but interrelated areas that tell the story of African American culture, commerce, and experience in Petersburg from the mid-19th century through the present day. The northern part of the district arose as a thriving downtown commercial district as the city’s growth and prosperity extended northward during the mid-20th  century. This area contains high-style Victorian-era commercial and industrial buildings, a Classical Revival church, and a bus station. The southern portion of the district, primarily set along Halifax Street, evolved in the mid-20th century as a prosperous and cohesive yet segregated African American community complete with businesses, residences, churches, and an open market containing smaller scale Italianate style and vernacular commercial buildings. As race relations remained tense in the second half of the 20th century, coupled with severe economic struggle and subsequent “white flight” throughout Petersburg, the African American neighborhood expanded into the northern portion of the district and combined with the Halifax Street area to become a larger yet still cohesive commercial district. Today, the district struggles with blight and poverty, but remains as an important center and reminder of the African American heritage of Petersburg. The oldest building in the district is the Greek Revival Washington Street Methodist Church, constructed in 1842. Other buildings in the district individually listed in the state and national registers include a Moderne-style Trailways Bus Station and the 1851 Second Empire style Cohen House. The district’s period of significance ends in 1964, when Joseph Owens, a Halifax Triangle resident and business owner, became the first African American elected since Reconstruction to serve on Petersburg’s City Council.


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

Updated February 15, 2019