Black citizens became a more visible presence in Blacksburg after the Civil War. Freed slaves and other black citizens settled in small enclaves in several parts of the town, on upper Lee Street, along Jackson Street and at the southern end of Wharton Street. The neighborhood along the upper reaches of Lee Street was known in the early twentieth century as Bitter Hill, and included among its white inhabitants a small black population. The Mayes House is associated with Dora Mayes, who served the community for many years as a midwife. Like the dwellings mentioned previously, it is a two-room house with a central chimney and two entry doors in the center of the principal facade.

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