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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.
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
Marker detail: Lincoln-Colonade Theater on Henry Street<br>(<i>beyond north end of bridge</i>) image. Click for full size.
Collection of Historical Society of Western Virginia
2. Marker detail: Lincoln-Colonade Theater on Henry Street
(beyond north end of bridge)
Henry Street was a center of black cultural events. This occasion, August 29, 1936, was the annual meeting of the Norfolk and Western Colored Veterans Division. Members of the group traveled from across the system for this 5th annual meeting held at the Lincoln-Colonade Theatre across the street from the Hotel Dumas. The Veterans had a breakfast at the Hotel Dumas before convening at the Lincoln-Colonade for the business meeting at 10:30. The Lincoln-Colonade later became the Morocco Club and later the Ebony Lounge, today it is undergoing restoration.
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

 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Martin Luther King, Jr. marker series.
 
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. First Train to Big Lick (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Norfolk & Western General Office Building (about 500 feet away); Oscar Micheaux (about 500 feet away); North Jefferson Street
Marker detail: Henry Street Bridge<br>(<i>view from west looking east</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Kenneth L. Miller
3. Marker detail: Henry Street Bridge
(view from west looking east)
(about 500 feet away); First National Bank (about 600 feet away); Henry Street Business District (about 700 feet away); Hotel Roanoke (about 700 feet away); Colonial National Bank Building (about 800 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
 
Categories. African AmericansBridges & ViaductsCivil RightsRailroads & Streetcars
 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Marker<br>(<i>wide view north • bridge in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
4. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge Marker
(wide view north • bridge in background)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge<br>(<i>west side • Roanoke Station behind</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
5. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge
(west side • Roanoke Station behind)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge<br>(<i>east side • view from Roanoke Station</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
6. 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.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
7. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge (south entrance • 75 yards south of marker)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument<br>(<i>at north end of bridge, on Henry Street</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
8. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument
(at north end of bridge, on Henry Street)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument detail image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
9. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument detail
“…Say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace…”
 

More. Search the internet for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 31, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 30, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on May 31, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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