Did you ever stop to think about our very own history here in Blacksburg? Blacksburg is a special place, so for this week’s blog we’ve decided to look at our own local history, and what we found may surprise you.
Our beloved Hokie town was founded on January 13th 1798. Prior to this, Blacksburg was merely an establishment settled between Christiansburg and Montgomery country discovered by English settlers in the mid 1600’s. The settlers were drawn to the land by plentiful trees that would be used for lumber, animal species such as deer and bear that could be used for meat, and hide used for clothing. There was also fresh water easily accessible.
However, this land came at a cost. Blacksburg was located near various Native American settlements. As a result numerous conflicts arose between settlers and the Indian tribes, the most famous being the Draper Meadows Massacre occurring in 1775. On this day the settlement was attacked by a tribe of Shawnee Indians. At least 5 settlers were killed and 5 more were taken hostage. One of the hostages was Mary Draper Ingles who lived in captivity for months before finally escaping and reuniting with family.
23 years after the massacre, William Black petitioned the state to establish the settlement into a town. Then in 1789 the 38-acre plot of land was deemed a town. The original Town of Blacksburg was only 16 square blocks built on land donated by Black. Our beloved town was named in honor of Black, creating what we now know as the Town of Blacksburg. The years following were filled with excitement as more and more people moved into the newly developed town making it their new home.
The small town began to grow and new streets and buildings developed; some of which can still be seen today; the oldest being Solitude. Solitude was built more than 200 years ago by Colonel Robert Preston. Then, during the early 1800’s, one of the first churches was built on Main Street. This building is also still in use, although it’s no longer used as a church. You may better know it as Cabo Fish Taco.
Years later in 1872, our favorite university was born. The Morril Act of 1862 provided the federal funds for the Virginia General Assembly to buy the facilities of the Preston and Olin Institute. At the time, the facilities housed a small Methodist school in Southwest Virginia. That same year, the assembly acquired 250 acres of the Solitude Farm for $21,250. With the newly acquired land and facilities, the commonwealth created a public, land-grant military Institute named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, later to be known as Virginia Tech.
There’s no doubt that Blacksburg is a town full of rich and exciting history Hopefully this post helps you to understand a little more about this maroon and orange town that we all love so dearly. Like and share this blog if you want to see more like this.
Hope that you enjoyed this History lesson, don’t forget to stop by our store! https://www.gobbledeart.org/collections/all