Lovettsville isn’t the only town wrestling with space needs for their growing municipal governments. In Loudoun’s six incorporated towns, the offices range anywhere from the size of a one-bedroom apartment to a Gatsby-sized mansion.
Here’s a snapshot.
The Town of Hamilton’s staff and council has been using its 1,035-square-foot town office for nearly a century.
Following the Hamilton Fire in 1926—which destroyed six businesses, four homes and did $100,000 in damage—the town office moved into the former Morrison Drug Store on Colonial Highway, according to the book “Snippets of Hamilton’s Past.”
Mayor Dave Simpson said that the office, which occupies the end of a three-unit building, has adequately accommodated not only the town’s two full-time staffers, but also Town Council meetings. In its more than nine decades of operation, the office has seen multiple upgrades to its lighting, electrical and sewer system, but has retained virtually the same layout. “By and large, we’re happy with it,” Simpson said.
With the town’s 2015 purchase of the old fire station next door, Simpson said that the office could move into the property’s 2,835-square-foot fire bay or adjacent 1,248-square-foot house if needed in the coming years.
One of the oldest and most versatile town offices in all of western Loudoun is the Town of Hillsboro’s Old Stone School.
The 8,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1874 as a home for the Locust Grove Academy, which operated there until 1966. A decade later, the Hillsboro Community Association saved the building from demolition by agreeing to lease it from the county in exchange for conducting major restoration projects.
Although the county transferred the building’s ownership to the town in 2006, it wasn’t until 2017 that the community association ceded full management control to the town.
The school now plays host to not only Town Council and committee meetings, but also other events and meetings like the Western Loudoun Community Church’s Sunday services, Loudoun Valley Ki Aikido’s classes, Boy Scout meetings, Ruritan meetings and annual town-organized events.
After adding WiFi service through the Waterford Telephone Co. in December 2017, town leaders plan future improvements to make the building an even more appealing event and meeting space.
Lovettsville’s 1,250-square-foot town office dates back more than four decades, but has a history that goes back another century.
Former mayor Elaine Walkersaid that when the Town Charter was reactivated in 1950, the Town Council met in then-mayor George Grubb’s home before moving to the Brown Funeral Home, which is now home to the 1836 Taproom. The council later met in the home of former county supervisor Robert McClain and his wife, former councilwoman Beatrice McClain, before it moved to the Farmers and Merchants Bank building, now the home of BB&T, in 1964.
A decade later, when the town grew from 99 to 496 acres, the Town Council decided to build its own office for $28,000 on property that formerly housed a slaughterhouse operation. According to the book “Lovettsville: The German Settlement,” the exact site of the existing town office was once the location of holding pens for cattle. The decision to build a new town office allowed the Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum to move into the property’s butcher shop.
The first Town Council meeting in the new town office was held Sept. 25, 1975.
The Town Council will hold a public hearing on Feb. 28 to solicit resident input on the idea of moving forward with town office expansion plans. Already, the town has spent $70,000 on initial assessments detailing the needs for and potential sites of a new town office in the last six years. Ritter’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget also includes $140,000 for the design of a new town office.
Unlike other towns, Middleburg went from a large meeting space to a smaller one when it decided to build its own town office.
The Town Council originally met in the 9,150-square-foot Middleburg Community Center, which was built in 1948. When Harold “Bud” Morency built the 2,096-square-foot town office in 1964, the staff moved over while the council continued to meet at the community center.
It was in the 1970s that the council chambers and upstairs offices were added to the office building, which was purpose-built to look like a residential home to blend in with the surrounding community. The town’s police department also occupied the second-floor space until the mid-1990s.
The town is now looking at alternative sites for a new town office. Already, it’s conducted a site plan to determine how much space it will need.
The Purcellville Town Hall is the largest in western Loudoun, with a footprint that’s double the size of the next largest town office.
Going back to the town’s incorporation in 1908, the town hall was located in the 2,024-square-foot building at the corner of Main Street and Hatcher Avenue that the Purcell Gun Store now calls home. With the garage acting as a storage unit for the public works and police departments, the two upstairs bedrooms were used as the Town Council chambers.
In 1990,the town moved across the street into the 7,800-square-foot building that formerly operated as a Safeway and is now home to Dragon Hops Brewing. According to former town manager Rob Lohr, the town converted two-thirds of the building into office space for the growing town staff before the police department moved to its Hirst Road location a few years later.
In 2011, the town purchased the former Purcellville Baptist Church on Nursery Avenue and converted it into a 15,324-square-foot town hall, which has three levels, centralized Town Council chambers, three conference rooms and an upstairs committee room that was formerly an open choir loft.
Town Manager David Mekarski said that although the town hall is at capacity in terms of staff, there are no current plans to expand. He said that when the police department moves to a new location in the coming years, some staffers could move there to free up space.
Round Hill’s Town Office is both old and new. The Town Council originally met in the current Ford’s Store office a century ago and moved around three times before returning to the same building decades later.
In the early 1900s, the Town Council met on the second floor of the building, which then-mayor George Ford, the former state senator who secured the town’s incorporation in 1900,operated as a general store.
According to former Town Treasurer Betty Wolford, the town rented a small space in the 112-year-old Patterson Building—now home to the Savoir Fare catering company—in the 1970s before it moved to a small room in the back of the 106-year-old Round Hill Grocery store building in 1980.
Ford’s Store was donated to the town after the death of George Ford’s son, Charles, in 1954. Three decades later, the town undertook a major renovation of the building. Completed in early 1988, the 2,466-square-foot building has been home to the town office ever since.
Town Administrator Melissa Hynes said that the town has no plans to expand or move its town office in the foreseeable future.