Eureka or Fifth Ward, Petersburg

Historical Significance

Eureka, also known as the Fifth Ward, was annexed to Petersburg in 1816. Originally part of the Pridesfield neighborhood to the north, in the early 19th century the area developed in response to the growth of the canal basin, mills and tobacco factories. In the antebellum era, a cluster of Free Black property owners resided on West Wythe, Farmer, and South Streets. By 1877, the black community had expanded to the north and south. Two important black leaders and successful businessmen lived on Rome Street: William Henry Johnson and James Wilkerson. The first Episcopal seminary for blacks, the Bishop Payne Divinity School (1884-1949), was located at the corner of West and Stainback Streets.

Physical Description

No Physical Description Available

Geographical and Contact Information

The neighbourhood bounded by West Wythe st, Steinbeck and West St.
Petersburg, Virginia

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Eureka or Fifth Ward, Petersburg,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed April 21, 2019,
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