A few locals, teens mainly, refer to Roanoke as ‘Noke. Dunno why, exactly, but could be laziness. Could Row-an-oke be too much for them, or perhaps ‘Noke just sounds cool?
Nevertheless, our city has a few more nicknames. It came to life as Big Lick, from a series of salt marshes that prompted animals, such as buffalo, elk, deer, and others, to come and lick the salt. In 1882 Big Lick became Roanoke, a word that scholars say is an Algonquian word for shell “money.
Magic City is another moniker, apparently because it grew so fast when it was incorporated in 1884. ‘Noke is also the Star City of the South, and on Mill Mountain, in the city’s center, we have a star to prove it. Finally, because of our location, it is known as the Capital of the Blue Ridge.
That’s all well and good, but Roanokers believe no place on Earth is lovelier than the Roanoke Valley. Located at the south end of the Shenandoah Valley we are surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We have it all—symphony orchestra, ballet company, opera company, Equity theatre, many community theatres, two large high schools (Patrick Henry and William Fleming), great economy, name it and we probably have it.
For more, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roanoke,_Virginia.
Let’s tour our home: The Star (up left) atop Mill Mountain makes us the Star City of the South; moving right is a shot of downtown, then one of the myriad lush fields with a mountain in the background; top right a view of Smith Mountain Lake. Middle left, horses, which are deeply embedded in Virginia history and culture; below the horses is a picture of Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway that wanders through the Valley, crossing Roanoke and Roanoke County in several places. Middle (right) one of the many murals that enliven our town, and below it is the Taubman Museum of Art, the building of which is a work of art in itself. Finally, the center picture is a wonderful shot of the heart of the downtown of our small city.
Roanoke is the largest city in South Western Virginia with services that some larger cities do not have. Our medical community represented by two hospitals — Carilion Clinic and Lewis-Gale Hospital. We are also proud of a medical school, a cooperative association between Carilion and Virginia Tech.
Last, but not finally, railroads are the reason Roanoke exists, and we are getting passenger service back in a couple of years, to the delight of travelers up and down the East Coast. If you have not visited Roanoke, do so, but beware: We are so delightfully delicious that you may want to stay. And, that’s fine with us!