Virginia Tech Development – Blacksburg VA

City:
Blacksburg, VA

Site Type:
Colleges and Universities, Education and Health

New Deal Agencies:
Public Works Administration (PWA), Public Works Funding, Work Relief Programs, Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Quality of Information:
Very Good

Site Survival:
Extant

Description

The campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia—or, as it was then known, as Virginia Polytechnic Institute (V.P.I.)—was dramatically developed as part of numerous New Deal projects during the Great Depression. The Public Works Administration (PWA) provided multiple rounds of funding for the construction of several buildings on campus from the mid-1930s to early 1940s. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was also active on the campus.

Public Works Administration-financed buildings included:

  • Burruss Hall
  • Graduate Life Center (originally Faculty Center)
  • Owens Hall
  • Eggleston Hall (Main, East, and West)
  • East Campbell Hall
  • Military Building (orig. Utilities Building)
  • Hutcheson Hall
  • Smyth Hall (orig. Natural Science Building)
  • Commencement Hall [remodeling]; since demolished
  • Armory

WPA developments on campus include:

  • Airport expansion
  • Seitz Hall (orig. Agricultural Engineering Building)
  • Agnew Hall (orig. Home Economics Building)

There were many other buildings constructed during the 1930s/early 1940s that are presently part of the Virginia Tech campus, including: the Media Building (a 1934 elementary school); the Power Plant (with a Depression-era addition); Holden Hall; an “engineering building” identified in The New York Times; an addition to Davidson Hall; Hillcrest Hall; War Memorial Hall; and the golf course seed house. It is unclear to Living New Deal which, if any, of these additional structures were part of New Deal projects.

Source notes

Virginia Tech: https://history.unirel.vt.edu/physical_plant/campus_buildings.html
https://history.unirel.vt.edu/physical_plant/building_chronology.html
https://history.unirel.vt.edu/physical_plant/map_gallery.html (accessed Jul. 13, 2022)

"Virginia Tech Campus from the Clouds," Richmond Times Dispatch, Jul. 31, 1935 (pg. 4): https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/827984080/

"New Buildings at V. P. I.," Richmond Times Dispatch, Jul. 31, 1940 (pg. 6): https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/828026206

"Ten Buildings Dedicated," The New York Times, August 11, 1940: https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1940/08/11/94836807.pdf

Site originally submitted by Evan Kalish on July 13, 2022.

Location Info


Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Location notes: General location marker

Coordinates: 37.227, -80.422

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