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Virginia Tech Historical Data Book, Section 6.1:

The university is located at Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia, at a longitude of 80' 25' 16" West and a latitude of 37' 13' 54" North. The campus is considered part of the New River Valley and is 2,100 feet above sea level on a plateau between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. Annexation of the campus by the town was approved by the courts in 1972 and became effective Jan. 1, 1973.

The town of Blacksburg was originally laid out in an area of six blocks. It was named for William Black, who gave 38 acres of land for the town in 1797. Blacksburg was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1798.

Predating formation of the town was an early settlement of Col. James Patton called Draper's Meadow, which was wiped out by Shawnee Indians in a 1756 massacre. Draper's Meadow was located slightly north of the Solitude house (built in 1859 by Col. Robert Preston and still standing, although altered in appearance, southeast of the present Duck Pond).

The Smithfield estate, which adjoins the campus and which has been partly leased by the university for agricultural purposes from time to time, was acquired by Patton's nephew, Col. William B. Preston, in 1772. He built a house on the estate, surrounded it with a stockade, and moved his family there in March 1774. The oldest part of the existing house was built in 1790. Restoration of the Smithfield plantation house was begun in the spring of 1963 by the Montgomery County branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. The State Landmarks Commission designated Smithfield as one of 56 historic landmarks in the state in March 1969. Smithfield plantation, which was named for Preston's wife, Susann Smith, also contains the family graveyard in which two Virginia governors - James Patton Preston and John Buchanan Floyd - are buried along with many of their descendants.


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Send questions or comments to:

Tamara Kennelly, University Archivist
University Libraries
Virginia Tech
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA, 24062-9001

Last Modified on: Tuesday, 25-Sep-2001 08:16:08 EDT