Roanoke, Virginia - Encyclopedia

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ROANOKE, a city in (but administratively independent of) Roanoke county, Virginia, on the Roanoke river, about 55 m. W.S.W. of Lynchburg. Pop. (1890) 16,159; (1900) 21,495, of whom 5834 were negroes; (1910 census) 34,874. Roanoke is served by the Virginian railway, by the main line and the Shenandoah and the Winston-Salem divisions of the Norfolk & Western railway, and by electric railway to Vinton and to Salem. The city is about 900 ft. above sea-level and is surrounded by high hills; its picturesque situation and its nearness to famous mineral springs make it a health resort. On a mountain slope, about 2 m. from the city limits, is the Virginia College for Young Ladies; 7 m. north of the city, at what was formerly called Botetourt Springs (there is a sulphur spring), is Hollins Institute (1842) for girls; and in the city are the National Business College, the City Hospital (1899), private hospitals, and St Vincent's Orphan Asylum (1893) for boys, under the Sisters of Charity. Stock-raising, tobacco-growing, and coal and iron-mining are the industries of the district. Roanoke's factory product in 1905 was valued at $5,544,907 (2.7% more than in 1900). Its railway car repair and construction shops, belonging to the Norfolk & Western railway, employed in that year 66.9% of the total number of factory wage-earners; pig-iron, structural iron, canned goods, bottles, tobacco, planing-mill products and cotton are among the manufactures. The municipal water supply comes from a reservoir at Crystal Springs at the foot of Mill Mountain near the city limits. Roanoke was the town of Big Lick (founded about 1852; incorporated in 1874; pop. in 1880, 669) until 1882, when it received its present name; in 1884 it was chartered as a city.

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