About Our House
The stately old Preston House, 720 State St. St. Joseph, is home to the Law Offices of Taglia, Dumke & White, P.C. Mr. Wallace A. Preston built the Preston House in 1892 at a cost of $10,000.00. Wallace, a dealer in the lumber business, hired Tennessee architect George Barber to design the three-story house in the Queen Anne style, a revival of sixteenth century English architecture. The Queen Anne style expressed individualism, and no two houses looked exactly alike.
Gables, dormers, turrets, towers, small second-story porches and bays projected from the main structure of the house in a pleasing pattern. The house featured windows of many shapes and sizes, along with decorative stained glass. A focal point of the home was the beautiful carved wooden staircase built just inside the front door.
The home remained in the family until the death of Mrs. Genvieve Preston Merritt. After Mrs. Merritt’s death, contractors began remodeling the house for conversion to business offices. Aluminum siding now covers the outer walls, reversing the effects of many years of weathering. Additions to the structure enclosed the basement stairway and foyer, replacing the old outside entrance. While this initial remodeling completely renovated the lower floor, the second floor remained nearly intact. Unfortunately the classic doors to the old outside porches could not be saved. Careful attention to the construction details throughout the remodelings and renovations thus far undertaken has assured that this later work matches the intricate old work as closely as possible. In keeping with traditional practices, the manner in which the 1997 addition has been designed and constructed is intended to preserve the architectural integrity of a grand old building while providing much needed room for a growing firm.