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Phlegar Building and Taylor Office

Phlegar Building, c. 1812 (4 South Franklin Street)

This old clerk’s office has been a fixture on the town square area for over two hundred years. The oldest part of the building, the front lower section, was constructed for the county clerk in 1812-1813. William Ballard Preston, born at Smithfield Plantation in Blacksburg, had his law offices here in the 1830s before becoming United States Secretary of the Navy in 1849. Waller Redd Staples practiced law here before going on to serve as a Confederate States congressman and Virginia Supreme Court Justice. The structure is known as the Phlegar Building today, after several members of the Phlegar family. Eli Phlegar of the Phlegar & Logan law firm occupied the office in the 1850s. Another Phlegar, Archer A. Phlegar, purchased the building in 1898 and expanded it the next year, adding the second floor and distinctive double porch. The Phlegar Building has been named to Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Sites List in 2014 due to lack of maintenance.

 

Taylor Office, c. 1870 (16 South Franklin Street)

The Taylor Office, just to the right of the Phlegar Building, was built in the 1870s and today bears the name of the first attorney to occupy it, James C. Taylor. Including Taylor’s, about a dozen law offices have used this building over the years. Montgomery County purchased the Taylor Office in 1971 and uses it today for the County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Phlegar Building

The Phlegar Building in use as the County Clerk’s office, before c. 1979.

 

County Clerk

Lewis Miller sketch of the original clerk’s office as it appeared for most of the nineteenth century.
(photos courtesy of the D. D. Lester Collection)

 

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