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W. B. Alwood

William Bradford Alwood was an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture. He was referred to by his peers during his era as father of Virginia horticulture, the savior of the Virginia fruit industry, and a worldwide expert in pomology, viticulture, enology, and pest management. At Virginia Tech he is regarded as the father of our horticulture and pest management disciplines and as one of the University's greatest scientists.

Alwood Homes on VPI (VAMC) Grounds

VPI faculty lived on campus throughout their tenure. Faculty Row was located along the circle of what is now the Virginia Tech Drillfield.


From his first days on campus, Professor Alwood and his family occupied the "Rock House" (later known as the Alwood house).  That house was located away from Faculty Row - on the northeast end of the drillfield.  In September 1899, Alwood and his family moved to a new house built for him in the old orchard (later occupied by Dr. Watson in 1902). At that point the offices of the president, commandant and treasurer were moved to the Rock House. That turned out to be a very fortunate move for the Alwood family for during the night of February 14, 1900, in spite of the efforts of the fire brigade, the Rock House was destroyed by fire. The conditions that night no doubt contributed to the disaster as the wind was blowing a gale and temperature was 10 degrees above zero. In the fall of 1902, another new house was built for Professor Alwood in the old "Solitude" orchard and Dr. Watson occupied his old house there. The new house was located just north of the Solitude mansion near the ice pond.



Copyright, 2011, M. J. Weaver. All rights reserved and protected under the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention.

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Campus Home & Lab

Alwood worked and lived on the Virginia Tech drill field. Horticultural Hall was built in 1890 for the agricultural experiment station. That building was later used by the Agricultural Extension Division, by several academic departments, and by women students until it was torn down to make way for the approach to Burruss Hall in 1936.  Alwood's home (the Rock House) was located to the east of the horticulture building. Alwood and his family moved from that home to one in Faculty Row near Solitude in 1899 and later to another home in the same area. The Rock House became the Administration Building. Alwood's move from the Rock House was fortunate for on a blustery night in February, 1900 it burned. It was rebuilt in 1904.  Photographs of these buildings are provided to the left.

Source: 1908 Campus Map, Newman Library Special Collections, Virginia Tech

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