Blacksburg, Virginia is a town located in Montgomery County and has a population of 44,826 according to the 2020 census. It along with the towns of Christianburg and the city of Radford are all the principal jurisdictions of the Blacksburg-Christianburg Metropolitan Statistical Area. In addition to those three, the Metropolitan Statistical Area is made up of Montgomery, Polaski, and Giles Counties. It’s one of the fastest growing Metropolitan Statistical Areas in Virginia and is estimated to have a population of about 181,863. Blacksburg was founded in 1798. In 1772 Samuel Black purchased 600 acres of land that was eventually divided between his sons. In 1797 one of his sons, William Black, created a grid of 16 blocks and the town logo still features sixteen squares to represent these original blocks. When the town was officially established in 1798 it was named for the family that petitioned for its establishment. It was then incorporated in 1871.
In 1872, the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College was established. As the college and town continued to grow, the college became known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, now known better today by its informal name Virginia Tech. While the primary campus for Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg it has additional educational facilities in six regions across the state of Virginia, a research center in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and a study abroad site in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. As a major university in Virginia, Virginia Tech accounts for a significant portion of the population of Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech is also the top employer of Blacksburg. The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a science park that is a part of the Virginia Tech campus, houses several companies including Honeywell and the National Weather Service’s Southwestern Virginia headquarters. MOOG, a manufacturing company that is a major supplier for the defense department as well as the healthcare industry, is another top employer for the city of Blacksburg. Blacksburg’s proximity to Virginia Tech makes it an attractive location for the high tech industry.
Apart from Virginia Tech’s campus and facilities, some of the points of interest in Blacksburg include the Alexander Black House, the Armory Art Gallery, Hahn Horticulture Garden, the Huckleberry Trail, and the Lyric Theater. Each year Blacksburg in conjunction with Virginia Tech hosts an International Street Fair where more than a hundred different countries are represented. It includes food trucks, booths, and a number of stages.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Blacksburg has a total area of 19.77 square miles. Of that, 19.73 square miles is land and 0.04 square miles is made up of water. With its population, Blacksburg is the largest designated town in the state of Virginia and it is located within the New River Valley. Its tallest building is Slusher Tower, a 12-story building that is a part of the Virginia Tech campus.
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