Starting as a humble log cabin in 1801, Solitude grew to become the home of two Virginia governors, and the home of Robert Preston, who sold the property in 1872 to provide land for the new Virginia land grant college, Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College, later to be known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

It is Virginia Tech's oldest structure, the "homeplace" of the University. Because of its rich historical and architectural heritage, Solitude was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and named a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1989.

When restored, Solitude will become an Appalachian Center, the focal point for study and celebration of Virginia's mountain region.