For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF
VLR Listing Date 06/12/2002
NRHP Listing Date 09/14/2002
NRHP Reference Number 2000978
Roanoke Downtown Historic District is located in the southwest quadrant of downtown Roanoke. The city became the principal center of commerce, transportation, and industry following the location of the Norfolk & Western Railway headquarters there in the early 1880s. Situated west of the Roanoke City Market Historic District, north of the residential Southwest Historic District, and south of the Roanoke Warehouse Historic District, the Roanoke Downtown Historic District contains the financial, commercial, and governmental center of the city. Seventy percent of the district’s 144 primary buildings are identified as contributing to the late 19th- to mid-20th-century architectural character of the district.
In 2007, the boundary of the district was expanded to encompass four commercial buildings on Salem Avenue constructed between the years 1906–1938. The buildings are typical in style and detail of small-scale commercial and industrial buildings in the downtown area in the early 20th century. The historic uses of these buildings—which include an electric motor shop, a sheet metal shop, a candy factory, and an upholstery repair shop—relate to the commercial and retail business of the downtown area, as well as the shipping and industrial activities of the railroad and its related industries. These buildings help to illustrate the commercial, shipping and industrial development and architecture of Roanoke from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century.
In 2013, update and adjustment further carried forward the district’s period of significance to 1961. That year saw the construction of the Thomas B. Mason Building, and marked the last major building constructed in downtown Roanoke prior to the City’s economic downturn and the decentralization of commerce to suburban shopping centers in the early 1960s. The nomination update expanded the areas of significance to include the areas of Religion and Recreation with the addition of several downtown churches and the YMCA Building in the expanded boundary area.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
Updated August 7, 2018