Five Chimneys (Stop A)
Backstory and Context
The first stop on our tour is the Five Chimneys house. You can see where the house gets its name just by looking at it. The Five Chimneys House is an excellent example of an early residential structure. It was built in 1852 by physician and merchant John R Phillips. Featured in the home are 5 large rooms, each with its own fireplace and chimney. The distinctive Queen Anne front porch was added on between 30 and 50 years after the original construction of the home
A.G. Smith, a VPI horticulture professor, purchased the home and made major changes to it in the 1930s including reopening the fireplaces that had been closed off at some point as well as enclosing the porch on the back of the home. Smith is also credited with the extensive landscaping that surrounds the property. There’s a local legend that a prominent local lumber dealer and treasurer of the Blacksburg Presbyterian Church buried a large sum of money near the house sometime between 1892 and 1918. The legend began circulating and many searched for the treasure, but it has never been found
In 1987 the house was acquired by the Town of Blacksburg and it now houses the community relations office and WTOB 2, the Town’s community access TV station. Here we also catch our first glimpse of one of the streams we will be seeing on our tour. Much of the water has been covered by sidewalks and buildings, but the Town is now making a concerted effort to “daylight” the streams for a healthier environment.