Tag Archive | Mill Mountain Zoo

Baby & Flowers

My Aunt Betty had a green thumb. Mine is more yellow than green! I ran across this picture of her tulips and couldn’t resist posting them. I suppose I love tulips because they remind me of my Aunt and my sweet little cousin who is now a Mom.

Donita and Kathy

I love this picture of my little cousin admiring her Mama’s flowers.  I always took “the baby” out for a few hours on my day off. It was my favorite day of the week! On this day, I was taking her to the Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, VA. that morning.

Strolling through the Zoo was nice and taking her to lunch was fun but it was that brief special moment captured in this picture that I remember most.

Babies and Flowers. I am not which brings more joy!


Spring Flowers1


For more information about Mill Mountain Zoo, click on the link below.

Mill Mountain Zoo

While visiting the Zoo, check out the Mill Mountain Star. Roanoke, Virginia is known as the “Star City of the South.”

Mill Mountain Star


Terry Aldhizer Photography

Mill Mountain Star Youtube


Mill Mountain Poem Written 100 years Ago.

Just like the little girl who wrote the poem about Roanoke’s Mill Mountain which was published In The World News June 9, 1916, I always felt comfortable having mountains around me. Never comfortable in “flat lands.” I grew up on the back side of Mill Mountain so this poem is truly a treasure! Thank you, David Gardner for sharing this with The History of the City of Roanoke facebook group!

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Mill Mountain in the background

Mill Mountain

The following lines were written by Norene Hancock, little daughter of Police Officer Hancock

Wonderful mountain!
Who made you so high,
With your base in the valley,
And crown in the sky.

Who made the great river,
That washes your feet?
Who made your wild flowers,
So fragrant and sweet?
Who made those great ledges,
Without trowel or hod?
No man could have done it,
It must have been God.

Who made those great boulders?
Who made the tall trees?
Who made the green foliage,
That sways in the breeze?
Who made the bright mosses?
Who made the green sward?
No man could have done it,
It must have been God.

You stand as a sentinel,
Our city to guard,
While the good and the bad are asleep,
While the beautiful river,
Glides peacefully on,
To mingle its flow with the deep.

[Good-bye], dear old mountain,
May your strength ever stand,
To guard all the good,
And the bad of our land.


[The World News, Volume 27, Number 139, June 8, 1916]


When this poem was written, one had to hike or ride “the incline” to get to the top.

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If you have read my novel, The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, Isabel (my grandmother who grew up in the Roanoke area would have been 4-years-old.

OLD NEWS – June 8, 1916 | Southeast Roanoke

In the 1940’s a neon Star was added to Mill Mountain. The nickname changed from Magic City (because it practally sprang up with the coming of the Norfolk & Western Railway) to The Star City.

Mill Mountain Star in 1949

Today, people come to Mill Mountain to see the star, the lovely view and to enjoy the Mill Mountain Zoo.


For more information about Mill Mountain and the star, click on the link below.


Good ol’ Summertime

Roanoke, VA

Roller Coaster at Mountain Park in Roanoke, VA Early twentieth century

Where did Isabel and her friends go to ride a roller coaster in the 1920’s? They went to Mountain Park in Roanoke, Virginia. There were amusement park rides as well as a pavilion and a grandstand where music was played.

Where did I go to ride a roller coaster when I was a kid?

We went to the Lakeside Park in Salem, Va. It was wonderful!

I can still feel the joy at hearing the words, “We’re going to Lakeside today!” We could hear the happy crowds before we arrived. Laughter, screams as the Shooting Star roller coaster plunged quickly, click, click, click of the cars climbing a steep hill and more screams as it quickly rounded a sharp curve – and I couldn’t wait for my turn!

As soon as one entered the park, the smells were wonderful. Candy apples, popcorn, sticky cotton candy but my first stop was the Ferris Wheel. From the top, one could practically see the entire park. Oh, what fun!

When my husband speaks of Lakeside, he remembers Cactus Joe and his wife, “Sweetie”.

  • If you have Lakeside memories, we would love to hear them.
  • What were summer activities you looked forward to as a child?
  • What or who stands out in your memories?
  • What was your best summer ever?

Please feel free to share!

History of Lakeside

Lakeside was first opened around 1920 as a pool with a sandy beach. So Isabel may have spent time here as well. I have a picture of her and my grandfather taken at Lakeside around 1936.  It was a wonderful place to go and was a big part of Roanoke and Salem’s history. We enjoyed hot summer days at lakeside until it closed in 1986.

For more information on Lakeside, go to http://salemmuseum.org/lakeside.aspx

We also had the Mill Mountain Zoo but that’s another story!

(Old photographs borrowed from http://www.oldroanoke.com Go to the site for fantastic pictures of time gone by.)