The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - 114

College Avenue in Salem

S

Jenny
Kincaid Boone

is a Roanoke-based
freelance writer and
former business
journalist. She is a
Roanoke College
and Northwestern
University graduate
who is passionate
about exercise and
chai latte.

114

JULY/AUGUST 2019

ALEM'S COLLEGE AVENUE was a bustling
thoroughfare in the early 1900s, and it remains that
way today, with a different look and purpose.
This photo, revealing a short block of College Avenue
leading to Main Street, takes us back to a time when a
church, Salem Town Hall, and a courthouse lined the
street. Roanoke College, a private liberals arts institution,
now owns the buildings on this entire block.
College Lutheran Church, formed by a group from
Roanoke College, is the first building on the left side of
College Avenue in this photo. The church's congregation
worshipped here for 64 years before the church relocated
to its current spot, a stone structure at 210 College Ave.,
according to the Salem Museum & Historical Society.
Farmers' National Bank eventually moved in, and now the
building is home to Roanoke College's history department.
Just behind the church was Salem Town Hall, built in
1870. It served not only as offices and council chambers
but it hosted high school graduations, silent films, club

meetings, college dances, traveling entertainers, civic
celebrations, theatrical presentations, concerts and more.
It was truly the center of Salem's civic life. The building
was razed in 1967, after the community outgrew the
space, according to the Salem Museum & Historical
Society. Now, Roanoke College owns the site, currently
a parking lot.
Across the street was the Roanoke County Courthouse,
built in 1910. Salem was the county seat at the time. The
courthouse eventually relocated, and Roanoke College
purchased the building in 1988, renaming it West
Hall. The former courthouse is home to the college's
Departments of Business Administration and Economics,
Religion/Philosophy, History and Public Affairs.
A few years ago, the college decided to spruce up its
portion of College Avenue. Several buildings received
an exterior facelift, with new paint and window awnings.
Also, Fruitions, a smoothie and food shop, moved from
Main Street to a larger location on College Avenue. I
TheRoanoker.com

JULIANNE RAINONE / ARCHIVAL IMAGE COURTESY OF THE VIRGINIA ROOM, ROANOKE PUBLIC LIBRARIES

This street is still as busy as it was nearly 100 years ago, though with a bit of a
facelift since its early 1900s beginning.


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The Roanoker - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2019

The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover2
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - V1
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The Roanoker - July/August 2019 - Cover3
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