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Roanoke, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Norfolk & Western General Office Building

 
 
Norfolk & Western General Office Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
1. Norfolk & Western General Office Building Marker
Inscription.  The brick buildings across the tracks are the former headquarters of the Norfolk and Western. When the railroad was formed in 1881, the headquarters were located in Lynchburg, from the previous company. In 1883 a new office building was first completed on the site closest to the tracks. This building held the company offices until January 4, 1896 when a large fire damaged the building beyond repair. By July 1897, a new six-story building on the same site was complete enough to have some offices move in.

In 1905, an identical building was added resulting in the two buildings you see today. This was the corporate address for the N&W for almost a century. Within the railroad this was known as GOB-South, or "the old building."

The N&W decided to build an additional new office building to the north of the existing offices on Jefferson Street. The old and new buildings were connected through the basement and with an overhead enclosed walkway. The building, known as GOB-North or "the new building" is a tasteful design that holds up well today, designed by local architect Paul Hayes and completed in May 1931.

After the headquarters
Marker detail: Lunch traffic image. Click for full size.
Norfolk and Western Railway/Kenneth L. Miller Collection
2. Marker detail: Lunch traffic
Everyday at noon, the sidewalk along Jefferson Street was crowded with N&W's "Army" of General Office employees on their way downtown for lunch.
of Norfolk Southern were relocated to Norfolk, the company looked towards a smaller, more modern office building on the corner of Franklin and Williamson roads, just south of the City Market area. On completion, Norfolk Southern donated the two original buildings to the Roanoke Foundation for Downtown, Inc. GOB North "the new building" was donated to the Roanoke Higher Education Center. It is home to a number of colleges and universities from across the state. GOB South, "the old building" was turned over to the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority which creatively adapted the property to unique apartments using the famed N&W address; 8 North Jefferson as its name.

(photo captions)
It is easy to see how a fire might have started in the days of paper files. This is just one office, among many, involved in freight traffic billing in 1925, with its mountains of paper.
Additional building well underway in 1905.
The twin South buildings do not look too different today than in this September 1920 scene.
In January 1930, the work is proceeding for the North building in this view from the Hotel Roanoke lawn.

All Photos unless otherwise credited: Norfolk and Western Railway/Kenneth L. Miller Collection
Panel Design and Content by Miller Design & Photography 2006

 
Location.
Marker detail: Interior office building views  1931 image. Click for full size.
Norfolk and Western Railway/Kenneth L. Miller Collection
3. Marker detail: Interior office building views 1931
The General Office Buildings once teemed with workers, these three views from August 1931, depict the Statisticians Department in the North Building. Some interesting things to observe are: Top Left: the cuspidor on the floor next to the desk. Top Right: the unusual filing desks. Bottom Left: Male employees were predominant in 1931, only one woman appears in any scene of this department.
37° 16.389′ N, 79° 56.446′ W. Marker is in Roanoke, Virginia. Marker is on Norfolk Avenue Southwest west of South Jefferson Street, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located along the walkway near Roanoke Station, overlooking active railroad tracks to the north and the subject Norfolk & Western General Office Building across the tracks in the distance. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. North Jefferson Street (a few steps from this marker); First Train to Big Lick (within shouting distance of this marker); Hotel Roanoke (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First National Bank (about 300 feet away); Norfolk and Western Passenger Station (about 400 feet away); The Market Square Walkway (about 400 feet away); Today's Rail Traffic (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Hotel Roanoke (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Roanoke.
 
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Marker detail: The "new" General Office Building-North image. Click for full size.
Norfolk and Western Railway/Kenneth L. Miller Collection
4. Marker detail: The "new" General Office Building-North
The "new" General Office Building-North, not long after completion, October 17, 1931. The uppermost floor, the 8th housed the N&W President's Offices from 1931-1984. The tallest center section is not an office, but an elevator shaft.
Norfolk & Western General Office Building Marker<br>(<i>wide view  Office Building background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
5. Norfolk & Western General Office Building Marker
(wide view Office Building background)
Norfolk & Western General Office Buildings (<i>view from near marker  "new" building behind</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 15, 2019
6. Norfolk & Western General Office Buildings (view from near marker "new" building behind)
 

More. Search the internet for Norfolk & Western General Office Building.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 1, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 60 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 1, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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