The building dates to 1814. Although not well documented, Poe is reported to have honeymooned there with his child bride Virginia Clemm, staying in a second-floor suite above his friend’s coffee shop.
Hiram Haines was a Petersburg newspaper editor, poet and
friend of Edgar Allen Poe’s.
In 1829, he took over the “restorative” at 12 West Bank
Street, and moved his wife and six children into the adjacent 16 West Bank
Street. Together, they operated the coffee
house/ restorative from 1829 until late in 1836, when he sold it.
Petersburg was a bustling commercial center on the
Appomattox River when Poe visited in 1836. The once-fancy upstairs suite has remained largely untouched
since the building opened; there is no electricity or heat, though the elegance
of its woodwork and other architectural trappings remain evident. It appears to have been repainted only once
in 200 years. Confederate soldiers
reportedly were holed up in the space during the Siege of Petersburg.