The beautiful Phillips-Dawson house has been the headquarters of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society in recent years but has a rich history all its own.
The land on which the house was built was purchased from D.C. Harrell in 1881 by Horace B. Phillips. It is unknown whether the lot had a house on it at that time or if Mr. Phillips had a new home constructed. However, it is clear from the 1889 Sanborn Insurance map of Suffolk that the original house at 137 Bank was roughly two rooms deep with a side hall which was typical of Suffolk homes at that time. The entrance to the home was also originally facing Franklin Street. The later 1897 Sanborn map indicates that the bay wing and side entrance on Bank Street were added in the interim. It wasn’t until the 1920s that the original Franklin Street entrance and porch was removed and the Bank Street entrance was enlarged to be the primary entry way to the home. Although the house was originally finished in exposed brick it has since been covered in stucco after major renovations.