Roanoke, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Evolution of a Neighborhood Name
Over the years, the spelling of Gainesborough was shortened to Gainsborough and Gainsboro. The historic name persisted in Gainsboro Road, and institutions such as the Gainsboro School and the Gainsboro Library took their names from their location along the road. Residents referred to the area as Northwest or Northeast, based on the quadrants designated by City leaders in 1888 that divided Roanoke along Jefferson Street and the railroad. The resurgence of the Gainsboro name appeared in the 1970s as part of a redevelopment plan to revitalize the area. Stone gateways constructed
Today, the name Gainsboro applies generally to the neighborhood from Orange Avenue to the railroad tracks, and from I-581 west to 5th Street.
A Gainsboro Timeline
through early 1700s: Native hunters track game near area salt licks
1740s: first permanent settlers
1798: "Big Lick" postal station established
1835: Town of Gainesborough chartered
1852: Virginia and Tennessee railroad built through Roanoke Valley
1867: First Baptist Church (Colored) established
1874: Town of Big Lick chartered
1881: Shenandoah Valley Railroad arrives
1882: Big Lick becomes Roanoke
1882: Hotel Roanoke built
1902: existing St. Andrew's Church dedicated
1915: Burrell Memorial Hospital opens in house on Henry Street; first to serve blacks
1916: Roanoke NAACP founded
1917: Harrison School opens
1920s: heyday of Henry Street
1921: Gainsboro Library opens in Odd Fellows Hall
1921: Burrell Hospital moves to McDowell Avenue
1923: Strand Theater built
1928: Lucy Addison High School built
1941: current Gainsboro Library opens
1948: Claytor Memorial
1950s: Roanoke begins urban renewal efforts in Northeast
1958: Viscose Plant closes; mass layoffs at N&W Railway
1966: I-581 completed through Gainsboro
1968: Roanoke Civic Center construction
1971: Gainsboro Redevelopment Plan calls for redevelopment in Northwest area
1995: Gainsboro Road/Wells Avenue realignment
1996: Gainsboro Library on National Register
2004: Henry Street Historic District
2005: Gainsboro Historic District
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 37° 16.536′ N, 79° 56.379′ W. Marker is in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker is on Wells Avenue Northeast east of North Jefferson Street, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located in a small sidewalk plaza on the north side of Wells Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Roanoke VA 24016, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. From Frontier to Urban Community... A Gainsboro Prelude (here, next to this marker); Social and Cultural Life (here, next to this marker); Milestones in Education (here, next to this marker); A Once-Vibrant African American Community (here, next to this marker); Health Care and Medicine (here, Civil Rights Trailblazers (here, next to this marker); The Influence of Churches in Gainsboro (here, next to this marker); Hotel Roanoke (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke.
Regarding Evolution of a Neighborhood Name. Gainsboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places #05001276.
Henry Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places #04001276.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Gainesborough Big Lick Roanoke
Also see . . . Gainsboro, Roanoke, Virginia (Wikipedia). Located in the neighborhood and listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the Burrell Memorial Hospital, Gainsboro Historic District, Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library, and Henry Street Historic District. (Submitted on November 29, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 27, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 166 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on November 28, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 29, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.