(corner of West Main and South Franklin)

Life in Christiansburg has revolved around the town square since the town was laid out according to a courthouse square plan. The original Montgomery County courthouse stood in the middle of the town square, which sits at the intersection of Main and Franklin Streets.

The public markers on the town square commemorate some of the most important events in Christiansburg’s history. The Lewis-McHenry duel marker recalls the morning of May 9, 1808, when lawyers Thomas Lewis and John McHenry clashed over politics. McHenry lost an election to Joseph King and challenged him to a duel, which King’s brother-in-law Lewis accepted. They faced each other with rifles at dawn. Lewis died instantly; McHenry was mortally wounded. As the historical marker states, the Lewis-McHenry duel led to legislation outlawing duels in Virginia, although some Virginians continued the practice as late as the 1880s.

The small stone on the ground near the historical marker commemorates the paving of the last section of the Lee Highway, today’s Route 11 and the historic Great Road of the colonial era, through the town. Following the completion of the highway’s paving on November 17, 1926, a celebration was held in Christiansburg.

The War Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day 1953. It is made of Georgia granite in the Art Moderne style. Originally inscribed with the names of veterans who sacrificed their lives in World Wars I and II and in Korea, names have since been added to honor the service of Montgomery County citizens in Vietnam and the Middle East.


Town Square

The town square before c. 1909, showing the 1835 courthouse and 1853 bank house.

Town Square

The celebration for the completion of the Lee Highway in front of the 1909 courthouse, 1926.
The handwritten note declares “about 15000 present.”
(photos courtesy of the D. D. Lester Collection)

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