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In a placid corner of the busy campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), next to the “Duck Pond,” Solitude is a much-evolved old homestead. It grew from a two-story log core probably erected ca. 1801 by James Patton Preston on Montgomery County land purchased from the heirs of Caspar Barger. A log wing was added in 1834, and in 1859, Preston’s son, Robert Preston, remodeled the house, adding a frame wing. The veranda and provincial Greek Revival trim were added also. With its two log outbuildings and interior woodwork of various periods, the complex is a textbook of early architectural details and construction techniques. In 1872 the property was purchased by the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, the forerunner of Virginia Tech, to serve as the school’s research farm. Solitude went on to house an Appalachian studies center.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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Nomination Form


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