Georgia Croy House

House is Oldest in Blacksburg on Original Site
From The News Messenger Bicentennial Edition, July 1, 1976, page 8-H
by Nadine Allen

The Croy House at 307 East Roanoke Street is the oldest house in Blacksburg still standing on its original site, according to its owner, Miss Georgia Croy.

The white one and half story house has been in the Croy family since 1840 when Adam Croy bought the property from a Miller family for his daughter, Rose Ann Croy (1822-1906) and son-in-law, William H. Dawson (1811-1878) for a wedding present. Originally consisting of one fourth of the block, the lot is now 300 sq. ft.

The large boxwood at the front of the house was transplanted from Mt. Vernon in 1867 by the Dawsons. At the same time they planted an early harvest apple tree in the yard. This tree produced apples until about five years ago. From the dead stump, which Miss Croy has proudly and lovingly left in the yard, a new apple tree has sprouted and is now producing apples.

The daily diary of Mrs. Dawson and other stories about the people who have lived in the house have passed down to this granddaughter who currently owns the house.

William Dawson was the first math teacher at Olin and Preston Institute (now Virginia Tech). He was born in Detroit, Mich., and raised in Carlisle, Pa. Some of the grandchildren were told that his mother was carried off to Kentucky by Indians. He started to Kentucky when a young man to try to find her. He got as far as Blacksburg.

During the Civil War as the Union Army drew near, local residents with their high regard for education hide Dawson at McDonald’s Mill in Roanoke Valley. Mrs. Dawson was alone with three young children in the house.

The Yankees first confiscated logs to be used for a new house from the Dawson yard. Sometime later they returned asking Mrs. Dawson to cook for them. When she told them she had no wood since they had taken the logs, they tore down a fence belonging to a Mr. Keister for firewood.

Outraged. Mrs. Dawson insisted they rebuild the fence. She won part of the battle for they replaced the fence with barbed wire but insisted she use the former fence to cook for them. They never replaced the logs to build the bigger house.

The daughter, Ellen Dawson married Wilbur Croy (not related to Adam Croy) in 1901. He lived across the street in a log house, which was later sold to Dr. Gardner as his new bride wished to live in her childhood home.

The house has changed several times. In 1913 the street was widened, leaving the front door to open onto the sidewalk. In 1925 the entrance was changed to the side, opening a window into a door and adding a glassed-in porch. A bedroom was added and the back porch was converted into a bath and pantry. The house has very low ceiling and low doors except fro the outside doors, which were enlarged by former owners. The plastered walls inside have been covered with wallboard.

This house has been recorded by the Virginia Historical Landmarks Commission, File No. 150-8.

Last Updated: February 2, 1998