BLACKSBURG – Now on display at the Alexander Black House and Cultural Center second floor is what has officially been declared to be one of Virginia’s “Most Endangered Artifacts.”
The St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall ceremonial collar was selected by the Virginia Association of Museums as part of their “Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program” to receive a $750 award for conservation efforts. Conservator Colleen Callahan, a specialist in costume and textile history, was selected to perform the necessary conservation work on the collar. Callahan finished her work on the collar this past June.
The ceremonial collar (ca. early 1900s) was used by members of the Tadmore Light Lodge 6184 of the Grand United Order of the Odd Fellows and the Saint Francis Council of the Right and Worthy Grand Council of the Independent Order of Saint Luke, located at 203 Gilbert St. in Blacksburg.
St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1907 in the center of New Town, an African American Community in Blacksburg that emerged after the Civil War. New Town consisted of Gilbert Street and a small lane, home to about 20 families until the neighborhood began losing residents due to desegregation in the late 1960s and commercial development in the 1970s.
St. Luke & Odd Fellows Hall is the only remaining neighborhood structure.
Radford News Journal staff report