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.
The Roanoke Downtown Historic District’s period of significance was expanded in 2005 from 1952 to 1954. This action changed the status within the district of the Federal Bake Shop at 22 Campbell Avenue, SW to contributing.
[NRHP Approved: 10/11/2005]
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. 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.
[VLR Listed: 12/6/2006; NRHP Listed: 3/29/2007]
A 2013 nomination expanded the boundaries of the district a second time, and an update 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. This nomination update also 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 Listed: 6/19/2013; NRHP Listed: 8/27/2013]
2014 additional documentation was accepted to the National Register further extending the end date for the Roanoke Downtown Historic District’s period of significance to 1964, which captured the most recent example in the district of the International Style in the Seven-O-Seven Building at 707 South Jefferson Street.
[NRHP Approved: 7/14/2014]
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark