“Building community through the arts, history & cultural heritage of Blacksburg”
After a fire completely destroyed his family’s first home, Alexander Black began construction on an extravagant Queen Anne Victorian in 1896. A descendant of Blacksburg’s Founder, William Black, Alexander built the large home to demonstrate how successful one could be in this small southwestern Virginia town. A banker and businessman, Alexander descended from an influential family in fields of farming, business, and medicine. The Black family played an important role in the founding and growth of Virginia Tech as well as the town.
When Alexander passed away in 1935 the house became a boarding home for a short time and then hosted a series of funeral homes. In 2002 the Town purchased the home to save it from demolition and moved it across Draper Road. It sat vacant until funds were raised to complete the first phase of the restoration. In 2013, Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) restored the exterior of the building to its late-nineteenth-century appearance and made necessary modifications and additions to the structure to provide for its new function as a museum and cultural center.
In addition to the time lapse video below, we have several videos that outline various stages of the restoration process on our YouTube Channel.
Alexander Black House & Cultural Center: Present Day
In August of 2014, the Alexander Black House & Cultural Center opened its restored first floor to the public. Today, The Alexander Black House & Cultural Center enjoys the restored first & second floors and houses:
- Rotating exhibits of art, history & culture
- Community gathering spaces
- Museum archives & collections
- Chilldren’s Room
- Executive offices of the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation
- Gift Shop that promotes local artists
- History & Genealogy Research Center
- Permanent exhibit of Blacksburg’s history
- Permanent “period display” & exhibit in the Alexander Black Bedroom
- Annual community events such as the “Blues, Brews & BBQ” Festival
- Permanent outdoor sculpture exhibit
- Education & Workshop Room
The site is operated by the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation (501c3 nonprofit) as the Alexander Black House & Cultural center with a mission to preserve, interpret, and promote Blacksburg’s art, history, and cultural heritage.