The Roanoker - May/June 2016 - 12
STREETS OF ROANOKE
The West End street, part of an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places, had a
grand beginning, a short heyday, a steady decline; and most recently, a decided uptick.
West of downtown
Avenue on the south,
Salem Avenue on the
north and 18th Street
on the west.
Patterson Avenue in the mid-1920s. Its grand width earned it the nickname "The
Boulevard." Photo from George Davis collection, courtesy Roanoke Public Library.
As part of West End, Roanoke's
earliest suburb, Patterson Avenue
was home to some of Roanoke's
wealthiest families and most
breathtaking Victorian mansions.
The area is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places
and Virginia Landmarks Register.
As part of Census Tract 10, Patterson Avenue and surrounding streets
had a 64 percent minority population in the 2010 census (up from
58 percent in 2000) and a median family income of $21,294 with 45
percent living below the poverty line. Twenty-five percent of housing units were vacant compared to 19 percent in 2000, and only 22
percent were owner occupied (down from 26 percent in 2000).
12 | MAY/JUNE 2016
Hot shot developer Ferdinand
Rorer came to Roanoke, née Big
Lick, in 1850 and bought a large
expanse of farmland west of the
city. After the Shenandoah Valley
and Norfolk & Western railroads
merged in 1882, Rorer advertised
2,500 lots for sale as home building sites in what is now known
as the West End and includes
Hurt Park and Mountain View
neighborhoods. Rorer laid out the