Saturday, October 16, 2010

Things Are Looking Up in Blacksburg

If you've driven around Blacksburg lately, you'll have noticed that there are several buildings jacked up.  Either the latest road construction is an elevated highway so people can avoid downtown traffic snarls or there's some pretty serious building rehabilitation going on.  Unfortunately for those of you tired of navigating Main Street's big dig, the latter is the case.  There are at least 3 historic buildings in the midst of some big changes.

The first, which has been sitting on pilings for a while, is the 1897 Alexander Black House on Draper Road.  This historic home of a descendant of the town's namesake was moved to make way for the Kent Square parking garage and is to be the home of the Blacksburg Museum when restoration is completed.  Some pretty serious changes are going to take place with this building to make it look as it did during it's hey day in the Victorian era.

If you've been observant as you drive down Main Street, you'll see that the former Taylor's Frames and Things building has recently been jacked up.  The story here is that the house needs a new foundation.  The town's Historic or Design Review Board saved the house from demolition.  When construction is completed, including the demolition of several unstable additions, the house will become the new Blacksburg Tavern restaurant.

The third house is on Progress Street.  This is a tiny little house with an even tinier little lot.  The owners want to make it a slightly larger little house and since there's not place for them to expand outward, they're expanding upward.  It looks a little strange today, with the porch swing inaccessible on what will one day be the second floor porch.  A great answer for a building site too small for many other choices.

We were fortunate: for all the other work we've needed to do on this house, the structure and foundation are strong and the house is large enough that we've not needed to  do anything with hydraulic jacks and cribbing.  We have joked that we could pay to pick up the house and move it to a new lot Blacksburg and make a killing when we sell it, but I don't foresee that happening anytime soon!

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