The Triangle (The Avenue)

South Avenue, Halifax and Harrison Streets

The Triangle, also known as the Avenue, was Petersburg's African-American business center until the 1970s.  During the 19th and early 20th century, New Market on South Avenue was the marketplace for hucksters and farmers from Southside Virginia and North Carolina.  During the 1870s and 1880s when the political and economic climate worsened as a result of white reaction to Reconstruction, blacks formed their own separate society.  During this period, many new black businesses were established, including Wilkerson's Funeral Home in 1874, as well as banks, drugstores, barbershops, and tailor shops.  During the 20th century, the Rialto Theater, designed by black architect, Charles T. Russell, was built in 1923 when blacks had limited access to white establishments.  The Rialto and the Club Chatter