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Community Institutions of New Town


Religious and fraternal institutions provided a cultural hub in New Town, connecting it to the greater Blacksburg and Montgomery County communities. Saint Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church and the First Baptist Church were the primary religious centers for New Town residents. Church members established St. Paul’s A.M.E. in New Town during the 1880s.

Photograph, St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Blacksburg
St Johns Day: St Paul A.M.E. Church, Blacksburg, VA

The church building in New Town burned down and was then rebuilt in 1901 at its current location on Penn Street. Several New Town residents served as pastors of the church, even after its relocation. The Grand United Order of the Odd Fellows and their sister organization, The Household of Ruth, engaged with the community through both ritualistic and religious events. Two key events included the Annual Thanksgiving Service and Ogden Day Celebration and the Annual Sermon.

G.U.O.O.F. Thanksgiving Program
Thanksgiving service program of Grand United Order of Odd Fellows

The first, for local chapters, commemorated Peter Ogden, the founder of the G.U.O.O.F. in America. The second event, held with local churches, gathered residents from around Blacksburg for food, fellowship, and music.

Drawing, Penn St. Church c. 1948
Drawing of Penn Street Church