The beautiful Roanoke Valley of Virginia has changed drastically since Isabel’s childhood in 1925. The paved roads, bridges, beautiful tall buildings, museums and the neighborhoods have changed over the years. However, some things remain the same.
It is surrounded by beautiful mountains, the Roanoke River, Mill Mountain is still part of the attraction; even though it has also changed.
In 1924, the a ticket booth sat at the foot of Mill Mountain, charging citizens money to ride the street car or “The Incline” to the top of Mill Mountain. There was a park, a pavilian where a bandstand delighted people with their music. Children played, adults took in the sights, young people danced to the music and families had an all day picnic. It was the place to go.
Today, Mill Mountain is mainly known for the Mill Mountain Star which shines brightly; illuminating the night. It was erected in the 1940’s. In 1950, the Mill Mountain Zoo was added. I remember it fondly. Some of us still remember the Mill Mountain Theatre also. Sadly, it was destroyed by fire many years ago. People still go to the top of the mountain to see the beautiful view. However, The Incline was replaced by a road which caused quite a stir in the late twenties. This road was known as The Loop and many Model-T-Fords drove this curvy road on Sunday afternoons.
There is a scar on the mountain where the incline gave Roanokers an exciting ride so long ago. The tracks and street cars were removed long ago but every time we go home to Roanoke, I smile as I see the scar or trail just to the right of the hospital where my grandmother once worked, where I was a candy striper, and is also the location of the old Roanoke Hospital where Isabel’s mother was taken when she became ill. Now, the hospital is modern and up to date in technology.
Things change, people come and go but the Roanoke Valley will always be home!
We have a beautiful home in Heaven that will never change and no one will ever have to say “goodbye”. Our forever home! Jesus came to die on an old rugged cross that we may have life eternal in His Home. Heaven. Will I see you there?
Go to http://members.cox.net/oldroanoke/first.htm to see what Roanoke looked like in the early days. There are many pictures of the incline, Mill Mountain and the historic city market where Isabel’s Papa sold vegetables and apples. There are also pictures of the Mill Mountain Star and for Virginia Tech fans, old game game flyers. Back then, most people referred to the school as VPI (Virginia Polytechnic Institute). Check it out – it may not be available after next month.