Lessons of history
City’s historic sites on display for preservation conference
PETERSBURG — Petersburg’s rich history was put on full display Friday, as Preservation Virginia hosted their annual conference at various places around the city. Attendees got the chance to hear lectures about the preservation efforts currently going on in Petersburg, and how they can bring those ideas back to their own communities.
“This is our annual conference, and we put it on in partnership with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources,” said Justin Sarafin, director of Preservation Initiative and Engagement for Preservation Virginia. “A main reason we felt Petersburg was so appropriate this year was because of some of the partnerships that have come out of the city, that have formed following the closing of the museums and things like that.”
Sarafin said the preservation partnerships made in the wake of the city’s financial crisis are “unprecedented” and thus made Petersburg an interesting case study for organizations, businesses and individuals interested in historic
After attendees gathered at Union Station to start the conference, they got the chance to attend several lectures happening at different historic locations around the city. The topics covered several areas related to historic preservation, including how to use historic tax credits.
“I hope that people get to see the wonderful things going on in Petersburg,” said Elizabeth Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia. “The city is a laboratory for how economic development and historical preservation can work together.”
After the speaking sessions, visitors were able to take tours of several of Petersburg’s historic sites and areas, including Old Towne, the Battersea property and Pocahontas Island.
“We hope that through the sessions and the walking tours, people from other parts of the state can see how Petersburg is getting it done,” said Kostelny.
Visitors listen to a special panel at the Union Train Station during Preservation Virginia’s annual conference on Friday.
Visitors listen to Wayne Tucker, left, outside of the Siege Museum as he gives a walking tour of Old Towne on Friday.