St Luke & Odd Fellows Hall
Thursday- Friday 2pm-5pm FREE
About St. Luke & Odd Fellow's Hall
New Town was an African American neighborhood in Blacksburg, Virginia from the late 19th century until the mid-1960's. It consisted of Gilbert Street and a small lane that were home to about 20 families. The only remaining structure today is the St. Luke & Odd Fellows Hall. For over 60 years, from 1907 when it was built until segregation ended, the St. Luke & Odd Fellow's Hall served the New Town community well. They hosted social events, gatherings for music and enjoyment, and creating a sense of community. When desegregation came to Blacksburg in the the late 1960's, the St. Luke & Odd Fellows Hall became less used as a social center and was eventually rented as a workshop.
By the 1970's, road construction and other development resulted in the decline and disappearance of New Town as a predominantly African-American neighborhood. Nonetheless the New Town and the St. Luke & Odd Fellow's Hall are important reminders of the resilience, pride, self-reliance, and community spirit of the people who lived in this neighborhood as well as the injustice that segregation imposed.
In 2004- 2005 trustees appointed by the court, Bea Walker, Aubrey Mills, Sr., and Walter Lewis negotiated an agreement with the Town of Blacksburg to preserve the building. In 2009-2010 the Town of Blacksburg restored the St. Luke & Odd Fellows Hall as a museum and activity center to preserve the memories and contributions of the many families who lived in New Town.
In 2012, the building became part of the Blacksburg Museum and Cultural Foundation; under its stewardship a committee if developing activities and events for the Hall.
The Hall fully occupied the 25 foot by 45 foot lot purchased for $95.00 in 1905 by leaders of Tadmore Light Lodge 6184 of Grand United Order of the Odd Fellows and the Saint Francis Council of the Right and Worthy Grand Council of Independent Order of Saint Luke. It appears to have been built by volunteer labor in a Greek Classical style; it is precisely symmetrical with entry doors on the two sides facing the streets. The windows are placed so that the building is well lit throughout. The two story frame structure has an open gathering room with a high ceiling and an ample stage. The second floor reached by narrow stairs in the front of the building was reserved for members' ceremonial functions and organizational meetings.