We live a few miles from Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech, thus home of many home sport events. Each of these events bring large numbers of visitors to the town; alumnae, parents of current students, visitors from the other teams. Being a large university, there are organized social groups, such as fraternities and sororities and some not so organized gatherings, tailgate parties, and both legal and underage drinking.
Blacksburg also has some beautiful and some unique features. Each spring the roadway medians are planted with seasonal flowers. A bit later in the spring, large hanging pots of flowers are hung from the lamp posts. The medians are well cared for with new flowers planted as the seasons change providing blooms of color to enjoy. Also placed around town are “Hokie Birds,” fiberglass statues about 5 feet tall painted by local artists in varied themes and sponsored or owned by businesses and individuals.
I don’t know how many of them there are, but you see them everywhere. Over the years since they were erected, several have been stolen or vandalized, usually around home sporting event days.
The original town of Blacksburg had 16 blocks and those blocks are designated on signage. A couple of years ago, a local artist produced 16 bronze frogs based on the local green frog and they were placed around town on walls, concrete pedestals, and the curb type edge around some of the flower beds.
One of the frogs was stolen from in front of the Lyric, the local historical movie theater in town, right across from campus. Then another disappeared, reducing the number to 14. Last evening as we were taking our daily walk, this time on the Huckleberry Trail, we spotted this:
The little green frog that sat on a substantial concrete pier is gone along with the pier. Taken during or after the home football game. The path is used by many to get from local parking to an access point to the stadium. The football goers have caused enough property damage to private properties abutting the trail, that the town had to erect a 48″ wire fence to prevent shortcuts through peoples yards.
Most of the stolen and vandalized Hokie birds have been recovered and repaired, but the 3 frogs are gone. This is a crime, not a prank. It troubles me that anyone would even consider stealing or vandalizing the art. They certainly can’t display it in their home and they have deprived others of the enjoyment of seeing it in passing.
Though we don’t live within the town, we consider it our town too and such theft and destruction hurts, that people can be so inconsiderate and crass.