The Roanoker - November/December 2017 - 17
STREETS OF ROANOKE
Archie's Lobster House, opened in 1947 and operated until 1978,
Southview Elementary School, c. 1940, is today used for Roanoke County
was located at intersection of Peters Creek and Williamson roads.
discovered a few days later, her lifeless form
clutching a tree branch. Kinder's headless
corpse was found a week later.
A large influx of settlers near the Kinder
and Griffith tracts created a small village that
by 1769 was called New Antrim, located near
the present-day intersection of Peters Creek
Road Extension and Salem Turnpike. This
location also was home to the first Presbyterian church in the Roanoke Valley. Frontier
missionary, the Rev. John Craig, organized
43 families into a congregation known as the
Ebenezer Church complete with a small, log
meeting house. The building was abandoned
in 1819 and the congregation merged with a
church at Tinker Creek. Over time, the congregation later moved to Salem and then Big
Lick (Roanoke) and ultimately became today's
First Presbyterian Church.
A resident of New Antrim was George
Howbert who erected a two-story log home
around 1800 complete with a stone cellar.
Some years later, possibly around 1816, the
Howberts added to the home that now overlooked Peters Creek and the family's farm and
orchards. The home may have also served as
a tavern and lodged travelers. The home was
still standing nearly two centuries later when it
was razed in 1999, being one of the oldest and
rarest such structures in the Roanoke Valley.
During the New Antrim era, Dr. John
Neely owned over 1,000 acres. The road that
passed through his tract became known as
Neely's Road and connected Salem and Big
Lick. Originally a trail blazed by Native Americans, Neely's Road is today the Salem-Lynchburg Turnpike.
On the north end of Peters Creek Road was
the small community of Burlington. Taking its
name allegedly from a Native American tribe,
the "town" of Burlington never materialized,
though Burlington Elementary School, erected
in 1937, gets its name from that early village.
Garst Brothers Dairy. He was also the last turkey producer in Roanoke County before selling
his farm to developers. Schools and churches
soon followed residents. North Roanoke Baptist opened in 1957. Melrose Presbyterian
Church (now Westminster Presbyterian) relocated to Peters Creek Road in 1958 as did First
Wesleyan in 1968 and Melrose Baptist in 1969.
Northside High School opened in January
1961, and Northside Middle School in 1969.
In 1933, Peters Creek Road became a state
highway and is today officially known as
Virginia Route 117. With the development
of Woodrum Field (Roanoke-Blacksburg
Regional Airport) during World War II and
commercial aviation thereafter, Peters Creek
Road became a vital link for moving airportrelated cargo. Its importance increased with the
emergence of the national Interstate Highway
System in the 1950s and '60s as the corridor
linked the airport and other elements of the
valley with both I-81 and I-581, creating the
need to make Peters Creek Road a four-lane,
divided highway in 1960.
With the development and widening of Peters Creek Road, the corridor quickly became
a gateway to residential developments, such as
North Lakes on the former site of the Wipledale Farm. Also in the North Lakes area was
the dairy farm of Harold Craun. Craun milked
90 Holsteins on his 147-acre farm, supplying
By the early 1970s, the Peters Creek Road corridor had changed dramatically. No longer a
two-lane road through farm land and woods,
the road was a major vehicular artery in the
valley's transportation network. The airport,
interstate, residential developments, small businesses, auto dealerships, and large commercial
enterprises fronted Peters Creek Road.
In 1996, the southern terminus was extended from Melrose Avenue to Brandon Avenue
bringing the road's total distance to 7.2 miles.
Peters Creek Road Extension allowed the former Roanoke Electric Steel plant direct access
to the corridor.
Today, the Virginia Department of Transportation estimates 16,000 vehicles use Peters
Creek Road daily, and Roanoke County considers the highway an integral part of enhancing economic growth in north county, especially around the intersections with Airport
and Williamson roads. I
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