Introduction to Blacksburg, Virginia
Blacksburg is a Virginia town located in the county of Montgomery. Sitting approximately 45 miles southwest of the city of Roanoke to which it is connected by Interstate 81, Blacksburg is Virginia's largest town. The town's principal asset and dominant presence is Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (better known as Virginia Tech), the state's largest university.
Incorporated as a town in 1871, Blacksburg was named for William Black, the original owner of the 38-acre tract on which the town was founded in 1798. The year 1872 saw the founding of a land-grant college named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, which would later become Virginia Tech. As the years progressed, the development of the town of Blacksburg closely paralleled the growth and expansion of the university, which gradually evolved from an agricultural/military institution into a comprehensive research university with the largest full-time student population in Virginia. Today, Blacksburg is home to such major technological entities as the Corporate Research Center and Blacksburg Industrial Park, owing in large part to the presence of Virginia Tech within its boundaries.
Things to do in Blacksburg
Following is a list of some of the Blacksburg area's notable historic, cultural, and recreational attractions:
- Peters Mountain Wilderness: 3,328 acres on the crest of Peters Mountain that features breathtaking views of the countryside
- Mountain Lake Wilderness: An 11,113 acre wilderness which is the largest in the Jefferson National Forest
- Historic Smithfield: Historic home of Revolutionary War patriot William Preston
- Virginia Tech Geosciences Museum: Features an extensive mineral collection, gemstones, fossils, and area mining history exhibits
- Cascades National Recreation Trail: Features hiking and trout fishing in the Little Stony Creek
- Pandapas Pond: Man-made pond offering excellent warm water fishing and canoeing
- Blue Ridge Parkway: Follows the Appalachian Mountain chain and features many kinds of wildlife and brilliant fall foliage
- Claytor Lake State Park: Offers camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, boating, and picnicking
- Blacksburg Skate Park
- Blacksburg Aquatic Center
The Blacksburg sports scene is dominated by the Virginia Tech Hokies, participants in the NCAA's Division I-A of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in all sports. The university switched its sports affiliation from the Big East Conference to the ACC in 2004. Originally known as the "Fighting Gobblers", the university's teams are now officially known as the "Hokies" although the school mascot (the Hokie Bird) retains the appearance of a turkey-like creature. Among the notable Hokie alumni is Michael Vick, the number 1 pick in the 2001 National Football League draft and now starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.
Virginia is by far the largest state in terms of population without a major professional sports team. The nearest pro team to Blacksburg can be found in Lynchburg, about 95 miles away. The Lynchburg Hillcats of Minor League Baseball's Carolina League are a class High-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.