Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia

          c. 1860 Summerseat              

  • C. 1860 Summerseat Courthouse Just a few feet off Chesterfield Avenue in Ettrick, Chesterfield County, VA is a small historic house referred to as “Summerseat”.    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 “Chesterfield County, Early Architecture and Historic Sites”, 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.    

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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.

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Chesterfield County's Unique Historical Sites

Casaatlewood c. 1935Chesterfield 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 generations.

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.

Histori Sites Collage