“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)

Warehouse Row

Warehouse Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 24, 2021
1. Warehouse Row Marker
The buildings to your right, known as Warehouse Row, once teamed with activity. As Roanoke began to grow, Warehouse Row came into being. The former warehouse are now home to a variety of businesses and downtown living space.

Prior to long distance tractor trailers and trucks, virtually all freight moved on the rails. Non-perishable merchandise was shipped in freight cars and spotted outside loading doors, where men with hand trucks unloaded or loaded the cars. The freight was sorted into designated areas for different customers. There, it was transferred to wagon or truck for delivery. Furniture, housewares, clothing, appliance and some food items made their way into and through these buildings.

Across the railroad on the north side of the track is the site of the original Big Lick depot, where the first train arrived November 1, 1852. A larger depot replaced the original in the early 1870s, followed by a even larger brick building a decade later which became N&W's Salvage Warehouse (where damaged fright was sold off). It was converted in 1923 to a facility for use by Southern Express, later Railway Express Agency (REA).


Warehouse Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 24, 2021
2. Warehouse Row Marker
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REA was the precursor to United Parcel Service, FedEx or any of the other overnight carriers. REA handled package service on regularly scheduled passenger trains at locations like this, and then transferred them to truck for local delivery or pickup. Once regular passenger service began to decline in the late 1960s, REA also declined. By the May 1, 1917 takeover of most intercity passenger service by Amtrak, REA was virtually out of business and the building was of little use. In the early 1980s it was demolished to straighten Shenandoah Avenue, and make room for parking.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars. A significant historical date for this entry is May 1, 1917.
Location. 37° 16.4′ N, 79° 56.673′ W. Marker is in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker is on Norfolk Avenue Southwest 0.1 miles east of 3rd Street Southwest, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 145 Norfolk Ave SW, 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. Today's Locomotives (here, next to this marker); Commerce or Second Street Crossing (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia Museum of Transportation / Norfolk and Western Freight Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Jupiter Missile (within shouting distance of this marker);
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Roanoke Railway and Electric Company (within shouting distance of this marker); Norfolk & Western Safety Instruction Car #418 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pennsylvania Railroad GE GG1 Electric #4919 (about 400 feet away); Graham-White Manufacturing Company (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 29, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 44 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 29, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 17, 2021