Petersburg City Highpoint Trip Report

four areas (180+ ft)

Date: July 2, 2005
Author: Michael Schwartz

Some comments and fine tuning of Don Desrosiers' 2004 report.

For the area with spot elevation 185 feet, when you take the left at the west end of Parkview, you are turning onto Boydken (or something like that) as opposed to Simpson. Take that a short distance to its multiple intersection with Fort Lee Road and Defense Road at a triangle of sorts. Extending south from the triangle is the gravel road, Budd Road. I drove Budd south past grain silos on the right and parked at the point where the first utility pole appears on the left. Note a grassy path heading east along the edge of the woods/field, with a large tree lying across it maybe 100 feet from Budd Road. Walk the path, using game trails to get under the tree, until high ground is on the right. GPS placed the 185 spot elevation just about what I estimated as highest ground.

From there you will see two sets of upright poles and remnants of movie sets, one close by and one some distance away down the hill. This route involves no fence hopping.

For the southernmost (184-foot spot elevation) area, the paved road on which you turn right is Defense Road. After you turn right again onto Squirrel Level Road, you will notice the New Millennium Studios on New Millenium Drive, followed almost immediately by the track road shown on the topo, which leads to an unoccupied farmhouse, shown on the map just north of spot elevation 184. Unfortunately, both the studio and farmstead are surrounded by the same stout chain-link fence, in a good state of repair and prominently posted.

When Squirrel Level Road turns right, you quickly see the wire strung along the right edge, marking the very overgrown dead-end road mentioned by Don. Guided by GPS, I followed the "road" to the midpoint of the low ridge. I worked north toward spot elevation 184, with very slight relief, then continued further north, with more relief to the fence line protecting the farm house. I felt that highest ground was at the farmhouse, perhaps one to three feet higher than the fence, which would make its elevation higher than spot elevation 185 in the area off Budd Road.

Next, I retraced south along the low ridge, crossing the overgrown road, and walked to the south end of the contour where there is some visible relief. You exit the contour behind some houses that front on Squirrel Level and I got to the road by walking through a backyard.

Next stop was the studio, which has a keypad that activates an automatic gate. No luck, even though there were several cars parked inside. I then moved my car near the locked gate across the farmhouse driveway and looked for a hole in the fence. For once, good judgment prevailed and I decided to return another day. On the way out, two vehicles pulled up to the gate, one of them driven by Bob, the owner of the property, some of which is for sale. I told him my story and was firmly refused access, for "insurance" reasons and because he has been having problems with trespassers. After I persisted, Bob got interested, then I showed him the map and he graciously drove me through the automatic gate and to the farmhouse, which I circumnavigated on foot. He was unaware that this was the Petersburg highpoint and asked to keep my Topozone printout. I did not broach the subject of future visits but I believe we have made a friend. As you face the studio from the road, notice a white house well back and to the right, which is Bob's home. Do contact him for access. Finally, I believe the farmhouse sits on the highest ground of area "184," if not the entire city. As a matter of interest, New Millennium Studio is owned by Tim Reid, who played "Venus Flytrap" on "WKRP in Cincinnati".