The Roanoker - September/October 2014 - 30
To Appalachian Trail &
George Washington &
Jefferson National Forests
Roanoke 40 Years from Now . . .
Peters Creek Road
A group of prominent Roanokers takes quick stock of the past 40
years in Roanoke and looks into a collective crystal ball to predict
what the next 40 will bring.
S. Colorado St
PROJECTING 40 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE is The only homesteading included a few piddling
likely folly, but thateldoesn't mean it's not fun and efforts in Old Southwest. Tax credits for redevelopSTORY & PHOTOS
it certainly does not mean wenwon't do it. We will. ment? Nope. Not yet.
BY DAN SMITH
The Taubman Museum wasn't a dream yet and
But consider this le
first: A look back tells that two of the true downtown destinations - HeiSa m
Lynchbin 1974 Ted Rappaport, Turnpikehead of Virginia Orange Avenue Miller & Rhoads department stores
Tech's mobile portable radio school, was not yet - wouldn't be around much longer. The Roanoke
in high school and nandoah Acontribution to cell Times had five editions, nearly 800 employees and
phone development was years away. The Roanoke had recently divested itself of a radio station and a
City Market was still a den of iniquity, peopled by TV station. Virginia Tech's sports teams were mired
bums, hookers, johns and pimps. It was not a date in mediocrity and no conference affiliation, and redestination. Center in the Square was an empty ceived little orCampbellAvenue
no national attention at the top levApp
building. The City Market Building still sold hang- els. Public radio had been in existence here for less
riveing-quarters red meat. There was no 22-story bank than a year and Blue Ridge Public TV was just 7.
building or amphitheatre and the Wachovia BuildThe city was on the edge of major surgery to reBrandon Avenue
ing was under construction. The American Theatre store some of its vitality, but that was still four years
had just been razed to make room for what was off. It was a period of reflection and adjustment.
LewisGale then Roanoke's biggest version of glass and steel.
Which brings us to now. What will 2014 look like
oa offices and not in 2054? And what will 2054 bring? Ave R
Norfolk Southern offices were R
e We asked a few people who might have some
an education center andra
G senior housing.
Av idea - in various important areas - to address this. Roa
The neighborhoods to the south, east and west of
Carilion Mill Mountain
ble Virginia Western
downtown were deteriorating and looked hopeless. When they finished laughing, they came up with
Roanoke Star & Zoo
People were moving out of downtown, not into it. this:
30 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014