New Town

Odd Fellows Hall (Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources)

The only remaining evidence of this Blacksburg African American community is the St. Lukes and Odd Fellows Hall. New Town was established in 1874 by Gilbert Vaughn. He and his family were enslaved by local resident Mary Wade before emancipation. Andrew Jackson Oliver, one of Gilbert’s relatives, was employed as one of the first maintenance staff at the recently created Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1872. Unfortunately, the expansion of Virginia Tech’s physical footprint led to the dismantling of the New Town community, but St. Luke’s and Odd Fellows Hall still stands. (107 Gilbert Street, Blacksburg).

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