History

Frank Merriman Fly worked for his brother in the old Peck & Fly store, but was always interested in law enforcement. He served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff Dick Glover and later worked in the county clerk’s office. When Glover was killed by Gregorio Cortez in 1901, Fly was appointed sheriff. Fly single-handedly calmed the lynch mob that descended upon the jail with intent to lynch Cortez, who was being held prior to being transported to prison. In 1909, Frank joined the Gonzales State Bank with W.J. Bright and, upon Bright’s retirement, Fly became the bank president where he served until 1940. During the depression in the 1930’s, Fly used most of his personal fortune to save the bank from ruin. In 1946, he was made Justice of the Peace where he served until his death in 1962. The beloved house was sold in 1946 and changed hands a few more times, once serving as a funeral home, before Mrs. Louise Priesmeyer and her daughter, Barbara, bought the house in 1976 and began its restoration.

In April, 1914, builder Capp Smith was employed to build this Four-Square style home. Completed in fall of the same year, the three-story brick residence has a spacious terrazzo front porch framed by four columns of solid brick. The exterior walls are almost two feet of solid brick and extend seven feet into the ground to form a half cellar that houses the original coal furnace. As in most of the brick homes built in this era, the brick was manufactured in Gonzales. The finishing brick was brought from a brickyard near Elgin by rail. All woodwork inside came from a local lumberyard and turned on a hand lathe on the site. The three formal rooms downstairs are separated by sets of nine-foot golden oak doors. The floors in the formal rooms are tongue and groove golden oak. Elsewhere they are made of wide long leaf pine. The central stairwell forms a single-stepped, double landing with a 90-degree turn to reach the second floor. All woodwork has the original finish and all of the home’s solid brass hardware, from the dome supporting the light fixtures to the finger lifts on the windows, is original. Laurel ridge Antiques and Collectibles occupy the house today.