The Sutherland House was built between 1860 and 1862 for the family of George Washington Sutherland, Petersburg’s prominent grocer. The main house was constructed adjacent to a one-room dwelling built in 1838, converting the one-room building into a wing. A two-story, weatherboard frame addition was added to the rear of the main house before 1877. The significant interior features of the main house and wing survive intact from the nineteenth century, despite being abandoned between 1985 and 2000. The house is built using the regionally popular double-pile plan where wide openings provide access to the four rooms flanking a central passage on both floors. Eight fireplaces are framed by mantels carved or cast in classical patterns. Wide-plank pine boards cover the floors in every room and large windows let in light at all hours of the day. The ceilings reach nearly thirteen feet on the second floor. Walls and ceilings are plaster and ornate plaster medallions decorate the ceilings of the foyer and the flanking formal rooms. A stair with a wide molded handrail rises along the right side of the central passage near the front door. A renovation in 2003 added a deck off the sunroom, overlooking the rear courtyard and gardens.
A historically sensitive and uncompromising restoration was begun in 2000 by then-owners Jeannie and Craig Tidy, whose work was featured in the March 2002 issue of Southern Living magazine and on the television show Restore America in 2003. Marion and Greg Werkheiser purchased Sutherland House in 2006 and continued the restoration with the help of Mr. Werkheiser’s parents, Roberta and Walter Purcell, whose work was featured in the April 2010 issue of This Old House Magazine. In 2011 Sutherland House was designated a Virginia Historic Landmark by the Department of Historic Resources and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.