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Wasena Historic District, Roanoke

The Wasena Historic District is an early 20th-century residential Roanoke suburb developed by a private land company as improvements in bridge connections and public transportation made former farmland accessible to downtown. The Wasena neighborhood developed as the city’s first “bus suburb” with the introduction of the first bus route prompted by its development. The neighborhood illustrates the national desire and efforts to make the American Dream of home ownership a reality with progressive developments in the areas of housing design, cost-effective construction, and mortgage financing. The neighborhood also reflects the city's population boom and increase in home ownership, particularly after World War II with veterans using the GI bill to purchase homes. The district boasts a wide range of 20th-century residential architecture including Craftsman bungalows, American Foursquares, Tudor-Revival, Cape Cod, and Ranch style houses. Located along the Roanoke River and the railroad tracks, the Wasena neighborhood includes industrial, commercial, and recreational resources that supported the community.