The Petersburg Farmers Market Building was constructed in 1878 - 1879. This was the fourth market building built on this site since 1787. Before 1787, the site was occupied by warehouses owned by Robert Bolling, the owner of Centre Hill Mansion. In 1806, Bolling deeded the property to the City for use as a market. After soliciting competitive proposals, the City commissioned Major B.T. Black as the architect, and the contractor selected was H.W. Williams, a former Petersburg resident, whose name is on the cornerstone visible from the mezzanine. When it opened, the "City Market" or "Old Market House", as it was often referred to, was a butcher shop with 16 butcher stalls with marble countertops along the perimeter of the walls, with four stalls in the center of the building, each with a primitive form of refrigeration. On the plaza outside the building were fishmongers, a saloon, and a clerk's office with scales for weighing hay. The building was "open air" with ventilation provided by wooden louvers alternating with glass window sash, ceiling fans, and 16 sliding doors. In the winter, Franklin-style iron stoves were in use, with one in each of the eight corners connected to the clay chimney "pots" on the roof.