The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia to the backcountry of the Carolinas crossed the Roanoke River here at Tosh's Ford, named for Thomas Tosh, in the eighteenth century. Nearby stood Daniel Evans's mill, another landmark on the road. A group of . . . — — Map (db m14799) HM
The archaeological sites on the extensive floodplain nearby represent at least ten thousand years of periodic use by Native Americans. The artifacts and evidence from one site suggests that separate villages were occupied there some six hundred to . . . — — Map (db m14798) HM
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 . . . — — Map (db m134595) HM
Born in Scotland in 1728, William Fleming came to Virginia in 1751, and practiced medicine in Staunton before moving with his wife, Nancy Christian Fleming, to Belmont here on Tinker Creek in 1768. Fleming led Botetourt County militiamen and was . . . — — Map (db m103850) HM
Nearby, on Nov. 1, 1852, the first Virginia & Tennessee Railroad train arrived in Big Lick (now Roanoke), three years after the company had been incorporated. The track from Lynchburg, Virginia to Bristol, Tennessee, was completed in 1856. In 1870, . . . — — Map (db m16970) HM
Kimball (1844–1903) was Norfolk & Western’s second president and first chairman. Thanks to his leadership the railroad was headquartered in Roanoke and expanded westward into West Virginia and Ohio.
In 1907 this fountain, carved out of . . . — — Map (db m82189) HM
African-American Commercial Center Henry Street, also known as First Street, N.W., served as the commercial and entertainment center for African-Americans in Roanoke during the first half of the 20th Century. During the days of Jim Crow . . . — — Map (db m134600) HM
The Hotel Roanoke was built in 1892 by the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Over the next century, despite fire and depression, it became the city's social center. The Tudor Revival building became a beloved landmark for thousands of visitors. Its . . . — — Map (db m14960) HM
Roanoke’s “Grand Old Lady” stands on the hill overlooking downtown Roanoke. Styled to appear like an old English inn, it was the grand hotel for Roanoke since it opened in 1882. The Hotel was located near the new Union Station and a . . . — — Map (db m16969) HM
The Hotel Roanoke was built in 1892 by the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Over the next century, despite fire and depression, it became the city's social center. The Tudor Revival building became a beloved landmark for thousands of visitors. Its . . . — — Map (db m105087) HM
McNeil Drive is named in honor of Samuel P. McNeil, the leading sponsor and founder of WBRA and educational television of Roanoke and Southwest Virginia. Mr. McNeil served as Chairman of WBRA for 25 years from its beginning in 1966 until he retired . . . — — Map (db m3755) HM
The members of Mount Moriah Baptist Church belong to one of the region's earliest African American congregations, originating in a Sunday school for slaves established in the mid-1800s by Dr. Charles L. Cocke, founder of Hollins College. The group . . . — — Map (db m17891) HM
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 . . . — — Map (db m134656) HM
Across the tracks and east is N&W’s last passenger station, now home to the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau and O. Winston Link Museum.
The little town of Big Lick changed its name to Roanoke in 1881. In the summer of 1882, the . . . — — Map (db m15467) HM
Today’s Norfolk Southern has a colorful predecessor in both or Roanoke’s railroads. To keep this as simple as possible, we are discussing only the N&W history to its merger with the Southern Railway in 1982. Space prevents mentioning every merger or . . . — — Map (db m15347) HM
North Jefferson Street was the core of the Railroad's management center. There were more workers concentrated in this block at one time than the rest of the facilities in Roanoke. The face of North Jefferson is dominated by the N&W influence, with . . . — — Map (db m134652) HM
Tradition has it that the church near by was built where Moravian and Lutheran missionaries preached soon after the Revolution. Here, in 1796, Lutherans held services and, a little later, organized their first congregation in this section. In 1828, . . . — — Map (db m3763) HM
Oliver White Hill Sr., Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, worked to dismantle Jim Crow laws in the United States. Over his nearly seven-decade career as a civil rights attorney, Hill challenged inequities in education, employment, and public . . . — — Map (db m140530) HM
High Speed Freight Locomotive: Class A
While the title of one of Norfolk and Western’s company films (top) is appropriate for the mighty Class A 2-6-6-4, they also served in other capacities for the railroad. Designed as the first of the . . . — — Map (db m15343) HM
Oscar Micheaux, renowned leading creator of African American "race films" between 1919 and 1948, produced up to six full-length films in Roanoke between 1922 and 1925. The Strand Theatre housed the Micheaux Film Corporation from 1923 to 1925, while . . . — — Map (db m103847) HM
Workhorse of the Norfolk and Western: Class Y6
While the sleek class J streamlined passenger locomotives and high stepping Class A locomotives garnered publicity for the N&W; the true workhorse of the Norfolk and Western was the Class Y . . . — — Map (db m15346) HM
The first village here, at Pate's Mill and Tavern on Evans' Mill Creek, was called Big Lick for nearby salt marshes. In 1839 it was laid off as the town of Gainesborough. After the coming of the Virginia and Tennessee . . . — — Map (db m14968) HM
In recent years, Roanoke has shed its image as a “railroad town” as others have surpassed the railroad as the major employer. However, without the N&W, Roanoke might not have existed. For those who wish to deny the impact of the railroad . . . — — Map (db m15342) HM
The Roanoke farmers' market is one of the oldest such markets in continuous use in Virginia. In 1882, licenses were issued to twenty-five hucksters. The City of Roanoke's first charter formally authorized a municipally owned market in 1884, and the . . . — — Map (db m14962) HM
This tablet records the charter dates of
The Village of Gainesborough 1835
The Town of Big Lick, 1874
which lay within the present boundaries of
The City of Roanoke 1884
The Great Path, an Indian Trail, . . . — — Map (db m134688) HM
The three locomotive types referred to on the nearby panels are part of the larger picture; of course. The Classes J, A and Y locomotives were special. What made these locomotives so special compared to products of the commercial builders of steam, . . . — — Map (db m15348) HM
Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy 1852-1855
Commander, Army of Northern Virginia 1862-1865
Commander-in-Chief, Confederate Armies 1865
President, Washington College 1865-1870
Erected by Roanoke Chapter – William Watts . . . — — Map (db m134668) HM WM
Passenger Locomotive: Class J
The world-renowned Class J 4-8-4 passenger locomotives was completely designed and built in Roanoke. By the mid 1930s, Norfolk and Western was facing heavier passenger traffic due to increased military . . . — — Map (db m15345) HM
Above you is the Market Square Walkway, built to connect the Hotel Roanoke with downtown Roanoke, crossing the railroad in safety and comfort. There are two observation platforms to watch rail traffic here. In addition, a number of informative signs . . . — — Map (db m15468) HM
World's largest man-made star. Erected in 1949 as a symbol of the progressive spirit of Roanoke, Star City of the South.
Height of steel structure - 100 ft.
Height of star - 88 1/2 ft.
Weight of star - 10,000 lbs.
Weight of steel . . . — — Map (db m30336) HM
It is difficult to describe the rail traffic one might see here, as virtually anything and everything can be moving. Operating patterns change, traffic that may be there one week is gone the next. So to keep this simple, very little information . . . — — Map (db m134655) HM
This tablet marks an Indian trail from a Torteras village in the fork of Roanoke River and Tinker Creek, joining the Indian Warrior’s Trail, the Great Path, which passed through Buford’s Gap, the Big Lick, now a part of Roanoke City, and on westward . . . — — Map (db m134598) HM
The city of Roanoke — the historic crossroads of western Virginia — lies in the distance. First established in 1825, it was called "Big Lick" after a nearby marsh where animals found abundant salt licks.
In the early 1880s, the little . . . — — Map (db m140526) HM