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Petersburg Museums and Visitor Services will present Ghost Watch on Sunday, January 24, 2016, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at Centre Hill Mansion located at 1 Centre Hill Avenue. Centre Hill has served as the home of many notable Virginia families--the Bollings, the Davis’ and the Pryor’s. It has also played host to two U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln and William Howard Taft.
According to the accounts from residents of this landmark house, every January 24 at 7:30 p.m. a regiment of soldiers, presumably Civil War, makes their presence known at the mansion. Legend states that at 7:30 p.m. horses are heard arriving on the front lawn of the mansion. Then a noise, such as soldiers marching across the hall and up the stairs with their sabers clanging, is heard going into a second floor room. Approximately twenty minutes later, the soldiers are heard descending the staircase, crossing the hall and leaving after slamming the door. Then all is quiet.
The house has also been noted as the home of another ghost, a beautiful woman dressed in white, who has been seen frequently by people strolling on the grounds. No one has ever known who she was. This “appearance” began to occur in the latter part of the 19th century. Once during this time, a small child living in the house told his mother of a “pretty lady” who had visited him during the night, sat on the side of his bed, held his hand and talked to him. He indicated that he could see right through her. The description he gave perfectly matched that of the woman others had seen in the window above the front entry door. Mrs. Campbell Pryor lived in the house in the late 1890s and told of the playing of a little melodeon that stood in a corner of the library (now in the south parlor).
Several areas not regularly open to the public (the attic and the service area) will be on the tour of the house. Space is limited and reservations must be made in advance (beginning on January 2) at Centre Hill Mansion, 1 Centre Hill Avenue, Petersburg, Va. Tickets are $10. (not recommended for children under 12). It is strongly recommended that you park in the lot on the corner of Tabb Street and Adams Street as there is limited parking at Centre Hill Mansion. Use the steps across from the parking lot to get to the mansion. For additional information please contact the Centre Hill Mansion at (804) 733-2401 or the Petersburg Visitors Center at (804) 733-2400.