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 probably no other house like it in Chesterfield County. The lower brick portion of the house was the “jail or detention center”, complete with bars that held prisoners or those persons awaiting trial. If this traditionally held story is true, Chesterfield County can now add another mystery to its number of jails and courthouses that have dotted the County landscape.
The house 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 decided 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. Summerseat has been saved and hopefully VSU will find a great use for the historical structure.
An Old Russian Proverb
“If you dwell in the Past, you lose an eye; if you forget the Past, you lose both eyes.”
In Summerseat, both Ettrick and Chesterfield County were close to losing "an eye". We do not plan to forget the past or fail to pass on to the next generation the great benefits of history. Summerseat was saved by a caring community and others from around the county. A special thanks to Sarah Snead, a former County Deputy Administrator and Tra Wagenecht, a CHSV Member who had a vision for saving the historic architectural structure in Etterick- the only one of its kind in Virginia. Summerseat survived, disrepair, vandalism and the bulldozer, thanks to these two wonderful persons and to the Ettrick Community. VSU is the better for their part and Summerseat will be there for the Ettrick Community for a long time.