May 9, 2018
The historic preservation leader stewarded the property for over 50 years
PETERSBURG – Preservation Virginia, a private, non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader, has transferred ownership of the Farmers Bank in Petersburg to Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank. The transfer, which comes in time for Preservation Month, concludes a multi-year process during which Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank have operated the museum facilities.
“The Farmers Bank is in good hands with Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank,” says Elizabeth S. Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia. “Ensuring the continued preservation of Petersburg’s historic resources, like the Farmers Bank, will help bolster heritage tourism in the City. Transferring ownership allows us to maintain our active commitment to historic preservation initiatives in Petersburg while helping to support local stewardship efforts of this site.”
Built in 1817, the Federal-style building was a frequent gathering place for the Petersburg community. The first floor of the building held the banking area while the upper floors housed the bank’s executive officer and his family. Farmers Bank operated through the Civil War, but was forced to liquidate its assets in 1866. The bank became a private residence and passed through several owners before Preservation Virginia acquired it in 1960. It was restored with local funds raised by the former Fort Henry Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia), which was dissolved and re-organized into the current Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank. Today, it is one of the few bank museums in the United States.
Currently the bank is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, both as a museum and as the Petersburg Area Information Center. The apartment in the kitchen building has been rented, and the two apartments on the upper floors of the bank are being prepared for rental. Preservation Virginia, based in Richmond, continues to maintain an office in the building.
“This transfer of ownership to our organization is wonderful,” says Alice S. Martin, chairman of the board of Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank. “We are so grateful to Preservation Virginia for their past guidance and help as we worked together for many years to maintain this handsome building and to spread the word of its historic importance. We now move ahead with renewed enthusiasm to make this Petersburg treasure an even greater asset to our city.”
About Preservation Virginia
Preservation Virginia is a private, non-profit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889 that is dedicated to preserving, promoting and serving as an advocate for Virginia's cultural and architectural history.
About Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank
Friends of the Historic Farmers Bank is a private non-profit organization with an educational mission to preserve and promote the historic Farmers Bank in Petersburg, Virginia.
804-648-1889 ext. 304