If you have special accommodation requests or limited mobility, please call us at 804-732-1220 before making online reservations.
The Petersburg Farmers Market Building was constructed in 1878 - 1879. This was the fourth market building built on this site since 1787. Before 1787, the site was occupied by warehouses owned by Robert Bolling, the owner of Centre Hill Mansion. In 1806, Bolling deeded the property to the City for use as a market. After soliciting competitive proposals, the City commissioned Major B.T. Black as the architect, and the contractor selected was H.W. Williams, a former Petersburg resident, whose name is on the cornerstone visible from the mezzanine. When it opened, the "City Market" or "Old Market House", as it was often referred to, was a butcher shop with 16 butcher stalls with marble countertops along the perimeter of the walls, with four stalls in the center of the building, each with a primitive form of refrigeration. On the plaza outside the building were fishmongers, a saloon, and a clerk's office with scales for weighing hay. The building was "open air" with ventilation provided by wooden louvers alternating with glass window sash, ceiling fans, and 16 sliding doors. In the winter, Franklin-style iron stoves were in use, with one in each of the eight corners connected to the clay chimney "pots" on the roof.
According to early news articles, the raised octagonal cupolas was referred to as the "lantern" and emitted a yellow light. The cast iron columns in the center of the room are original, as is the heavily trussed wooden ceiling with its wrought iron hardware. The original fine cast iron roof brackets supporting the lower roof are among the important architectural features. The building underwent a substantial renovation in 1952 when half of the 16 doors were converted to windows, and ceramic tile was installed on the first floor walls. For many years, there was a 76-foot shed roof, also with iron roof brackets, on the north side of the building that provided shelter form farmers and their wags until the shed roof was destroyed by a tornado in 1993.
In 1974, the City leased the building to George Rafey of Hopewell, who ran a popular supper club in the building that featured music, including appearances by a young Pat Benatar. After it closed in the early 1990's, the market building remained shuttered for over 20 years until Alexander C. "Sandy" Graham leased the building from the City for a 40-year term beginning in 2011. While plans were being drawn to convert the building to a restaurant, the film and television industry used the market building as a moving set for Spielberg's "Lincoln" (the mezzanine was portrayed as Grant's headquarters in Hopewell), and two TV miniseries used it regularly: "Turn", AMC's series on George Washington's spy network during the Revolutionary War and the PBS series "Mercy Street". Every episode of "Mercy Street" opened with a shot of the Farmers Market standing in for Old Town, Alexandria in the series.
Today, after a two million dollar renovation, the building is a key part of the rebirth of Old Towne Petersburg, and houses City Table Restaurant at the Farmer's Market...a partnership concept dedicated to Petersburg's revitalization efforts. It serves as a magnet, drawing visitors from all parts of the Commonwealth. Not surprisingly, in 2015 it was named as one of the 100 most recognizable structures in Virginia. City Table at the Farmer's Market is proud to inhabit the Farmer's Market and to be its official steward.
9 East Old Street, Petersburg, Virginia 23803, United States
Monday | Closed
Tuesday | 3pm - 10pm
Wednesday | 3pm - 10pm
Thursday | 3pm - Until*
Friday | 3pm - Until*
Saturday | 11am - Until*
Sunday | 11am - 9pm
*Please note we are open later for special events and live music.