The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 26

What
Makes
Roanoke,

WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA NIFONG

AS THE STAR CITY GROWS
INTO ITS NEWEST PHASE, A
LOOK AT WHAT IS CENTRAL
TO THE PLACE IT IS.

Roanoke?
ROANOKE TODAY BASKS IN THE GOLDEN LIGHT OF A CITY ON THE RISE.
MILLENNIALS ARE MOVING TO TOWN. HIP SCOOTER COMPANIES VIE FOR THE
CHANCE TO PARK BRIGHT TWO-WHEELERS IN HIGH-DENSITY SPOTS. NEW
RESTAURANTS OPEN AMID A FLURRY OF INSTAGRAM LOVE.

26

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

Which makes us wonder: Is there some defining
essence within all these iterations? Are there certain
characteristics that create Roanoke's heart and soul?
Douglas Jackson, Roanoke's Arts and Culture
Coordinator and the founder of Book City Roanoke,
a website, podcast and series of book clubs, describes
Roanoke as "a place that kind of grabs hold of you and
doesn't let go."
But what, exactly, is our "there there," in the words
of Gertrude Stein? As Big Lick gave way to the Magic
City which became the Capital of the Blue Ridge, what
stayed on? What carried through?
In short: What is it that makes Roanoke, Roanoke?

JULIANNE RAINONE JACOB

It wasn't always like this, of course. Those who've
spent more than a few years in a 240___-zip code pinch
themselves a little with each "Top Town" and "Best
Destination" Roanoke receives.
But every Colorado license plate spotted on a
downtown street, every sporting event that sets
its starting line here, every stand-up paddle board
shoehorned into an area garage, seems to show this city
has turned a page.
It wouldn't be the first time Roanoke reinvented
itself. From Native American trading post, to railroad
boomtown, to struggling mountain city that had lost its
way, the Star City has written many chapters.

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The Roanoker - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - January/February 2020

The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 3
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The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - VL1
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