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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech, Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College)

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Virginia Tech, Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College
1872 established. Bounded roughly by N. Main St., VA 685, U.S. 460, and Tech Center Dr.

The Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College was founded in 1872 as Virginia's land grant college on the grounds of the antebellum Preston and Olin Institute. In keeping with the concept of land grant colleges, its curriculum focused on the practical goals of teaching the agricultural, mechanical, and industrial arts. From the 29 students enrolled in the college's first week, Tech has expanded into a university of more than 30,000 students with over 120 buildings on 2,600 acres of land. The earliest buildings are in what is now the Upper Quadrangle (MO17.2). In the early twentieth century, noted Gothicist and campus planner Ralph Adams Cram from Boston initiated a master plan for the school consisting of a series of quadrangles grouped around the large oval Drillfield, situated just southwest of the Upper Quadrangle. The plan was developed with the help of Richmond architects William L. Carneal and J. Ambler Johnston. In accordance with Cram's plan, most buildings from the early twentieth century until the late 1960s were built in a Collegiate Gothic style and constructed with a local limestone, referred to affectionately as Hokie stone. After a period in the late 1960s and early 1970s when new campus buildings were in modernist styles of concrete and brick, the administrators returned to a version of Collegiate Gothic. Although for decades the campus generally followed Cram's plan, it eventually spilled out from the center and now resembles a small sprawling city. Branching beyond the central campus are an enormous athletic conglomeration, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, the Dairy Science Complex, horticulture gardens, the Corporate Research Center (MO17.6), a police department, conference hall, and other facilities.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Anne Carter Lee

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