Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History

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City: Danville
State: VA

It was April 3, 1865, and Ulysses S. Grant was preparing to send Union troops into Richmond, Virginia, then the capital of the Confederacy. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, accompanied by members of his cabinet, escaped that day by train to Danville, a town to the southwest, located along the Dan River. Davis was to be the guest of one of the town's prominent citizens, Major William T. Sutherlin. Major Sutherlin had established himself as an influential and successful tobacco businessman, banker, and town leader. As a delegate to the Virginia Convention of 1861, he resisted secession until the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter. Poor health prevented him from actively serving the military forces of the Confederacy, but he rose to rank of Major as the Quartermaster of Danville, which was a vital supply depot and arsenal. Major Sutherlin's handsome 1858 Italianate villa was located on the outskirts of town, amidst a mature grove of trees and surrounded by a lovely picket fence. Members of the Sutherlin family continued to live in the house until 1911 when a granddaughter inherited it and subsequently sold it to the City of Danville. It became a library in the 1930s and remained so until 1974 when a new library was built. It now serves as an art museum that has been recognized as a chapter of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1984. The Garden Club of Virginia, after a thorough study of period photographs, restored the Sutherlin era fence enclosing the property.

Year: 2005
Landscape Architect: William D. Rieley

Restoration of 19th century perimeter picket fence. More Photos


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