Chesterfield Historical Society
c. 1860 Summerseat
a few feet off Chesterfield Avenue in
Ettrick, Chesterfield County, VA
small historic house referred to as
According to tradition, in the 19th
Century the house was used by a county
judge and took its name because the
magistrate used this house in the summer
to hold court. The county roads
were too muddy and rutted to travel so
he did the court’s business from this
house. It became another “seat” of
the government much like the newest
courthouse at the corner of Courthouse
and Ironbridge Roads. According to
Jeffrey Odell, the author of
County, Early Architecture and Historic
the structure is a one roomed variation
on the so-called “raised cottage” house
form. It has a low hipped roof and
sits on a grade level basement.
As small structures go, this c. 1860
house has an appeal for its unique
style. There is no other house
like it in Chesterfield County.
The structure is a variation of the
“raised cottage” house form. It
has a low hipped roof and sits on a
grade level basement. Built around
1860, the house has appeal for its
unique style. TIf the “traditionally held story “is
true, Chesterfield County can now add
another mystery to its number of jails
that have dotted the County landscape.
The lower, brick portion of the
house was used as the Jail or detention
center, which held prisoners or those
persons awaiting trial. The "jail
bars", which were on the lower level
outside door, are now held in storage by
VSU. It is not a large building at
18 by 16 feet. The house is part
of Virginia State University and was
slated to be bulldozed for a parking
lot. The Ettrick community formed
a committeed of concerned county
citizens and it has been spared.Standing back at the road,
one could picture a steady stream of
miscreants standing before a county
magistrate waiting their “just due” or
the county constable placing them in the
lower brick “jail” to await their turn
for court. The house is not a
large building. It is 18 feet 3
inches long and 16 feet 3 inches wide.
It would have been an interesting court
to observe. Summerseat is owned by
Virginia State University who decied to
keep the building for its own use.
Community citizens became invoolved in a
project to keep the building and restore
it. The resuklt is a common ground
reached by the VSU and the citizens as
seen in the photo above.
Rediscover Chesterfield’s History
In Chesterfield County, visitors can
experience over 400 years of history
spanning the pre-colonial era through the
early 20th century.
Visit our historic sites and take part in
our programs and events to learn some unique
firsts that happened here. https://www.chesterfield.gov/819/History
Chesterfield County's Unique Historical
County has a rich history beginning in 1749.
Sme of the historical building and sites
that existed during the Colonial years have
disappeared . Yet a few have survived the
temptation to "bulldoze into oblivion".
Those like Castlewood has survived the ages
because of different owners desired so.
Pictured below are some of these historic
sites presently owned by the County and its
citizens. And there are some still in
the hands of private citizens. We hope
these never succumb to modern and sometimes
ulgly structures that dot the county
landscape. Visit our county sites to
see what remains for future
And while you
are here, check out the museum, the historic
1892 Jail and Magnolia Grange House Museum.
We have rotating exhibits on display.
We hope to have soon Historic Point of Rocks
as a favorite place to visit as well.
This site is currently closed to the public.