A devastating fire on a hot summer night in 1815 wiped out the old towne of Petersburg, a collection of wooden warehouses and homes along the Appomattox River. The brick commercial district that grew from the ashes became a crossroads for batteaux on the canals and trading ships on the river. Major railroads extended north and south from the city.
Old Towne today is a district of antique galleries, boutiques, craft shops, restaurants, cafes, and a mix of renovated residences. Although the oldest part of Petersburg lies along the bank of the Appomatox River, Old Towne Petersburg extends South to Wythe Street. City government offices, the beautiful Courthouse complex, the Petersburg Visitors Center, the Petersburg Area Art League and scores of historic and architecturally significant structures are located in Old Towne Petersburg.