When workers John Hawkins and Joe Bryant began remodeling work to transform the beautiful and mysterious “Centre Hill House” into the city of Petersburg, Virginia’s own museum, they could not know the treasure, clues, and evidence they would encounter.
Before very long, the house would so disclose a sight unseen for many years. In short sequence, scenes and secrets, held only by a very select few, long dead, individuals would shine one day soon for all to see. Named “Centre Hill Museum”, it sits on top of the highest hilltop near downtown Petersburg. The mansion overlooked the lower half of a mostly refurbished older business district. The Appomattox River, which is a few short blocks away, flows below its stately perch. In those days, the front of such homes were built to face the water, which in this case, was the shipping route into Petersburg. Centre Hill was no exception. Hundreds of men died fighting the Civil War just around the bend from its watch. From the south looking north toward Richmond, the porch offered a sweeping expanse. There, soldiers could monitor General Grant’s Army for more than a mile, another unintended purpose for the home’s porch during this time.
Buried and obscured, a tunnel dug into the side of a hill near the Appomattox River at the north end, found its destination beneath the stately house. As the two old friends and workers worked, Joe’s curiosity and intuition would reveal an extraordinary discovery with a history and drama long buried within the reinforced walls of the secret tunnel.
Follow the story of presidents and explorers, of soldiers and protectors, as the plan that they hatched to restore a war-torn young country with millions in gold following the civil war is foiled and rediscovered decades later.