South Boston, Virginia
Historic District Walking Tour
Adapted from the original hard copy publication created by the
Halifax County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee.
Comments and questions to Halifax Web WorX.
The houses listed on this tour are private residences and are not open to the public.
Click on each number for the photo and description.
South Boston Historic District.
1884 map showing the location of the covered bridge, Boyd's Ferry crossing and the railroad loading area for shipments of tobacco from river battueax.
How Did South Boston Get Its Name?
One of the largest and architecturally interesting historic districts in Southside Virginia
The South Boston Historic District is representative of South Boston's industrial, commercial, and residential development from the 19th century to the 1930s.
From its modest beginnings as a depot on the Richmond and Danville Railroad in 1854, the city prospered from the 1870s to become in the early 20th century the second largest bright leaf tobacco market in the United States.
Preserved in the district are a wealth of tobacco warehouses, factories and prizeries as well as related commercial and residential buildings associated with South Boston's golden age of tobacco trading.
In addition to its historical importance, the district is significant for its late Victorian commercial and residential architecture and for its interesting variety of late 19th and 20th-century vernacular dwellings.
We begin our tour at the Tucker Watkins Bridge over the Dan, as that is where South Boston itself was begun.
Looking North to your left is called Calaboose Hill, as there was a jail there when the town first moved to the north side of the river. It is now home to the SVHEC and The Prizery. Goodman's Chapel was there also. It was the first Methodist Church in town and was destroyed by fire in 1906.
West of the bridge, at a distance of several hundred yards is the spot where Boyd's Ferry crossed the river, and east of the bridge can be seen the pillars of the original covered toll bridge.
As you walk up Main Street, be sure to look up at the Victorian facades of the buildings. South Boston's commercial district is characterized by compact, mostly two-story brick buildings usually possessing modernized storefronts but preserved upper-story facades highlighted with corbeled brick cornices, round-arched windows, and other decorative features. Most of the commercial buildings on South Main Street date from the 1880s and 1890s.
It is also interesting to note that the cobblestones originally used for the streets of South Boston were later used to construct the wall around Oak Ridge Cemetary, located on the corner of North Main Street and Hamilton Blvd. Main Street was first paved around 1910.
First stop: Planters and Merchants Bank