ABOUT THE HISTORIC MARKERS
Seven historical markers were developed by the Council on Virginia Tech History with each marker dedicated to examining the various histories of the university and the surrounding lands and peoples.
Installed in Summer 2022, the seven markers offer viewers a glimpse into our shared past while providing an opportunity to embrace our shared values, today and into the future. The seven historical markers celebrate and add further richness to our shared history. They complement the markers that were installed in 2021 on the Upper Quad to showcase the Corps of Cadets and the institution’s earliest days.
HISTORIC MARKER LOCATIONS
Site 1: West Campus Dr.
The Monacan Peoples
For thousands of years, Indigenous people lived in and migrated throughout the area that we now call the New River Valley. This region has long been stewarded by Eastern Siouan people, who called themselves, “Yesa” and identified with the Monacan Alliance.
Site 2: Solitude
Enslaved Peoples and the Prestons
From Plantation to College Campus
Solitude, 1801, as a one-room log structure, later became the center of the Preston property and was expanded to its current configuration. This included dwellings for enslaved people, such as the surviving example - the Fraction Family House, named to honor all who had been enslaved. In 1872, the new Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Tech) purchased Solitude plantation. The house served many purposes over the next several years before efforts began the 1980s to revitalize the entire site.
Site 3: Moss Arts Center
People and Place
Virginia Tech is situated on land that was long the domain of the Monacan-Tutelo peoples. As European settlements expanded onto Indigenous lands, it forced out the Native peoples. In 1798, William Black carved 38 acres from his property to form the village of Blacksburg, and the original 16 blocks. Area leaders supported the establishment of the Olin and Preston Institute in the 1850s which would later transition to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College as part of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act.
Site 4: Henderson Lawn
The Early Years
Campus Over Time
Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC), today’s Virginia Tech, was established in 1872 in the former home of the Preston and Olin Institute, without which no land-grant school would ever have come to Blacksburg.
Site 5: Library Plaza
Women on Campus
The first female students were permitted to enroll at Virginia Tech beginning in 1921. Yet women - Black and white - had worked at the college since its founding. In the early days, women were excluded from key aspects of campus life, so they formed their own clubs, yearbook, and athletic teams.
Site 6: Eggleston Quad
For many years, Virginia Tech students were all white, all male, and all cadets, and they were mostly Virginia residents and Protestant Christians. By the 1920s, students had come from many states and nations, white women were enrolling, and men could attend as civilians in their third and fourth years. Some students came from Asia, but Black and Native people were barred until decades later.
Site 7: Washington St.
From the beginning, Black workers contributed to the well-being of Virginia Tech students and faculty, supporting a college that they and their children were barred from attending before the 1950s. In 1953, Irving Peddrew enrolled at Virginia Tech. The eight Black students of the 1950s all lived at the Clay Street home of an elderly Black couple, Janie and William Hoge, who helped introduce them to the wider Black community.
The complete loop of the tour is approximately 2-2.25 miles.
ABOUT THE HISTORIC MARKERS COMMITTEE
The Historic Markers Committee worked to expand exterior campus interpretive signage to provide information on Virginia Tech's holistic histories and campus developments. The committee is also took inventory and analyzed the texts of existing biomarkers for construction of new biomarkers, restoration of existing plaques, and development of other surface treatment responding to current and anticipated needs.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE HISTORIC MARKERS COMMITTEE
Chair: Jack Rosenberger, Campus Landscape Architect, Office of University Planning | Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities
- Denny Cochrane, Director of Sustainability, Office of Sustainability | Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities
- Clara Cox, Retired Virginia Tech Director of Publications
- Bob Leonard, Chair, Council on Virginia Tech History; Professor, School of Performing Arts | College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
- Meghan Marsh, Communications Manager, Office for Strategic Affairs | Office of the President
- Paul Quigley, Director, Virginia Center for Civil War Studies; James I. Robertson, Jr. Associate Professor, Civil War History | College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
- Emily Satterwhite, Director, Appalachian Studies; Associate Professor, Religion and Culture | College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
- Peter Wallenstein, Professor, History | College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
The Office of University Planning is responsible for the long-term planning of the university and the management of its space.
The Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities leads the care, maintenance and development of Virginia Tech’s campuses globally.