It’s the start of a new school year here in Blacksburg. The library, like the rest of campus, is seeing plenty of students, both new and seasoned.  Our post this week is for those of you still learning your way AND those of you who think you know all the secrets. We’re taking a trip back in time and sharing some photographs of Blacksburg from about 1895-1925. As you’ll see, things have come a LONG way!

Before 1900, Main St. saw its fair share of horse traffic. This photograph was taken from the road, looking at the old Preston and Olin Building/then VAMC machine shop.
Before 1900, Main St. saw its fair share of horse traffic. This photograph was taken from the road, looking at the old Preston and Olin Building/then VPI machine shop.
Far int he distance at the center of the frame is the VAMC machine shop. This photograph was taken on Main St. looking west, possibly near the Post Office.
Far in the distance at the center of the frame is the VPI machine shop. This photograph was taken on Main St. looking west, possibly near the Post Office.
C. 1900, the Post Office and Hack Depot shared a building on Main St., several blocks away from campus.
C. 1900, the Post Office and Hack Depot shared a building on Main St., several blocks away from campus.
If you stood smack in the middle of Main St., right past the College Ave. intersection (think: right in front of Moe's--please don't try it!) and looked up hill, this is what you'd see in 1900. No Main St. or Alumni Mall entrance to campus. The building, which had been the original Preston and Olin Institute, was then being used as the machine shop.
If you stood smack in the middle of Main St., right past the College Ave. intersection (think: right in front of Moe’s–please don’t try it!) and looked up hill, this is what you’d see before 1900. No Main St. or Alumni Mall entrance to campus.
Ellett's Drugstore was on the corner of Main St. and College Ave, in the current Sharkey's space.
Ellett’s Drugstore was on the corner of Main St. and College Ave., in the current Sharkey’s space.
Blacksburg, c.1904. In those days, Main Street ended at College Ave. The brick building on the left is where you'll see Sharkey's today.
Blacksburg, c.1904. In those days, Main Street ended at College Ave. At the bottom center of the frame are a set of metal gates–essentially the entrance to campus! The brick building on the left is where you’ll see Sharkey’s today. The building on the right is the current Moe’s. And hey, at least VPI won the game!
This image is actually the front of a postcard, sent in 1917. By then, the metal gates from the 1904 photograph were actually brick structures with a sign and Main St. was no longer a dead-end, but an entrance to campus!
This image is actually the front of a postcard, sent in 1917, but taken before then. By then, the metal gates from the 1904 photograph were actually brick structures with a sign and Main St. was no longer a dead-end, but open to traffic!
By 1930, some more familiar surroundings were build in Blacksburg. The 5-10-25 Cent store is at the current site of Moe's. To the right of it, on College Ave., you can see The Lyric Theatre in current home.
By 1930, some more familiar surroundings were build in Blacksburg. The 5-10-25 Cent store is at the current site of Moe’s. To the right of it, on College Ave., you can see The Lyric Theatre in current home.

Our historical photograph collection in Special Collections covers a wide variety of University and local history places and spaces. It can show you a lot about how Blacksburg and Virginia Tech have changed. And even if you can’t visit us, you can check out a large selection of images online: http://imagebase.lib.vt.edu/index.php. There’s plenty of history to discover!

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