In the twenty years I have lived in Blacksburg-nineteen consecutive years and an earlier one-year residency while my husband, William, was completing work on his master's degree at Virginia Tech-I have always had a special feeling for this town. I could never quite put my finger on why-until I became involved with the town's bicentennial celebration and this book. I think, now, that the aura of this town emanates from its citizens, from its leaders, from its diversity, from its Virginia Tech connection, from its location, and from its roots.
Those roots are what we look at here in A Special Place for 200 Years: A History of Blacksburg, Virginia. As one reads these pages and pores over the photographs of yesteryear, I hope that this specialness shines through, although I would be inclined to guess that many readers already feel it themselves.
The book, itself, is special. It represents countless hours of research and writing by ten different chapter authors and one sidebar author, each with his or her own interests, training, and writing style. Two writers hold graduate degrees in history, and their training is evident in their chapters. One writer intends to expand her work into two books. Most of us, though, are simply amateur historians. All of us find a certain fascination with the past and especially the effect of various events in forming the community we love today. All of us want to pass along what we have learned so that our fellow citizens and future generations will have a better sense of what contributed, at least up until the bicentennial, to make Blacksburg a special place.
This book is not a complete chronological history of our town but, rather, provides more of a topical history. As both Mayor Hedgepeth in his "Foreword" and Dr. Robertson in his "Preface" have noted, much work remains in compiling a complete history of Blacksburg. But this book provides a good beginning and, we hope, will serve as an inspiration for other historians, professionals and amateurs alike.
The authors herein have all given freely of their time; have worked into their often hectic schedules hours upon hours to peruse manuscripts, newspapers, books, reports, meeting minutes, records, and articles; and have culled from their copious notes to write their chapters. They have also searched archives for photographs to illustrate their historical treatises. Since each author was working on his or her own, the reader may sometimes find information in one chapter that apparently contradicts information in another chapter. That results from using different sources; as much as centuries later, one cannot always determine which source is correct.
The fact that you have picked up this book is a testament to your love-like ours-of Blacksburg, Virginia. We hope you enjoy what we have found.
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