Jackson House 410 High Street
Referred to in the records as the brick "mansion," this property has beautiful Second Empire styling. Described in the 1970s inventory cards as "unique," "architecturally significant," and "of great importance to the neighborhood," it showcase the enormous wealth of merchants in Petersburg at the time.
Backstory and Context
John and Ann Boisseau Jackson acquired this home in 1867. Originally, the property belonged to Ann's grandfather, then father who were both respected members of the Petersburg area. Later, Ann's son, John Q. Jackson, was a tobacco merchant like his father. Englehardt (1894) refers to him as the most illustrious owner of the property and mentions his service as president of the Petersburg Musical Association. This home is a blend of Italianate and French Second Empire styles. The mansard roof, added around 1876, is indicative of the later. Several architectural design elements are worth noting, including: paneled square columnns on pedestals, bracketed scalloped cornice, paneled frieze, cast-iron window caps, stucco scoring, and polychromatic slate. Originally there were balconies on the first-floor. There was also a porch with elaborate balustrades and consoles, which was removed in 1894. The front steps were broader than the current concrete version, splayed at the bottom with similar elements as the removed porch. Wall construction was brick with stuccoed ashlar finish, brownish gray in color. There are unusual double sets of arched double doors at the front entrance. The first set is flush with the exterior wall and paneled. The other set is four inches in with glass panels at the top. First floor windows are 10’ tall and arched tops and nine light bottom, six light top double-hung construction. There is a large curved ornamental cast hood springing from the arch overtop the windows. Three dormers can be found in the front and rear, with one on each side as well. The cast-iron lamp in the front yard is also a feature of the 1867 reconstruction.
At one time, this property was used as a boarding house, so the interior has been greatly modified. One central staircase connected the floors with simply detailed newels and balusters. The entry has parquet floors, and wood plank flooring exists throughout much of the remaining spaces. At the ceiling line on the first floor rooms, it was noted that large moulded plaster cornices existed. Iron fencing existed on the front perimeter. Also, there was a brick smokehouse in the rear that has since been demolished.
“John Jackson House, 410 High Street, Petersburg, Virginia.” Survey (photographs, measured drawings, written historical and descriptive data), Historic American Buildings Survey, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1968. From Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (HABS NO. VA-27-PET, 33-; https://www.loc.gov/item/va0361/ accessed March 15, 2018).
City of Petersburg. (1979). National Register of Historic Places nomination: Petersburg Old Town Historic District, Petersburg, Virginia. Richmond, VA: Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.
Historic Garden Club of Virginia. “Historic Garden Week in Virginia.” Richmond, VA: The Garden Club of Virginia.
Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc. “16th Annual Historic Petersburg Homes Tour.” [Brochure]. Petersburg, VA.Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. (1974, July). Architectural-Historic Inventory Card. City of Petersburg Department of Planning and Economic Development.