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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Roanoke, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge

 
 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
1. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Marker
Inscription.  Facing the railroad tracks, west is to your left where you see the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge. Originally called the Henry Street Bridge, it spans the tracks to connect historic Henry Street with First Street to the south. The bridge was built in 1891 and was raised several feet in the 1990's to allow double-stack container trains to pass beneath it.

The bridge, now a pedestrian walk, was renamed to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Part of the Henry Street Historic District, Henry Street was the commercial and entertainment center of the African-American neighborhoods of Gainsboro and Northwest Roanoke from 1917 until 1954.

On the west side of the street across the bridge is the former Hotel Dumas. Many well-known black performers who came to town playing jazz or blues in one of the clubs along Henry Street stayed (and played) at the Dumas. Today, it has been restored as the Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development.

In the 1880s, Henry Street was centrally located between what was the original town of Big Lick (built up around 2nd or Commerce Street) to the west, and the rapidly growing area
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Marker<br>(<i>wide view north • bridge in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
2. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Marker
(wide view north • bridge in background)
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to the east at the new depot (near the Market district). Towns sprang up around stations. The station was a community center and the center of communication. News as well as the comings and goings were carefully watched by local residents. When the railroad built a new passenger station to the east, the town gravitated toward it. Businesses looked for building sites near the new depot.

All Photos ©2006 Kenneth L. Miller, unless otherwise credited
Map is from 1930 by Norfolk and Western Railway
Panel Design and Content by Miller Design & Photography ©2006

 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansBridges & ViaductsCivil RightsRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Martin Luther King, Jr. series list.
 
Location. 37° 16.395′ N, 79° 56.546′ W. Marker is in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker is on Norfolk Avenue Southwest north of 1st Street Southwest, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located along the Roanoke Railside Linear Walk, beside the subject bridge. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 109 Norfolk Avenue Southwest, Roanoke VA 24011, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad Depot (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Train to Big Lick
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge<br>(<i>west side • Roanoke Station behind</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
3. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge
(west side • Roanoke Station behind)
(about 400 feet away); Norfolk & Western General Office Building (about 500 feet away); Oscar Micheaux (about 500 feet away); North Jefferson Street (about 500 feet away); Commerce or Second Street Crossing (about 500 feet away); First National Bank (about 600 feet away); Warehouse Row (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Henry Street Business District
 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, April 24, 2021
4. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statue
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge<br>(<i>east side • view from Roanoke Station</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
5. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge
(east side • view from Roanoke Station)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge (<i>south entrance • 75 yards south of marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
6. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge (south entrance • 75 yards south of marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 30, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 194 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 31, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   4. submitted on April 30, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   5, 6. submitted on May 31, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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May. 17, 2022