Roanoke River Blueway – Historic Resources, Landmarks and Points of Interest Guide
The Historic Resources, Landmarks and Points of Interest guide is a listing of historic and related resources along the Roanoke River Blueway and was compiled using information from The Roanoke/Staunton River Atlas (See the Virginia Canals & Navigations Society information below). Resources include fords, bridges, dams, mills, railroads, and other features of interest along the Roanoke River Blueway. Note: Items included in the guide will also be viewable on the Roanoke River Blueway Interactive Map.
Blueway User Assistance Needed!
Photos and/or information are needed for inclusion in the historic resources guide and the Roanoke River Blueway Interactive Map. Photos can be posted to the Roanoke River Blueway Facebook page or submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Canals & Navigation Society
The Roanoke/Staunton River Atlas references numerous historical features and points of interest along the Roanoke River. Copies of the Atlas are available for purchase on the VC&NS website. A copy of the Roanoke/Staunton River Atlas is also available for review at the Regional Commission.
The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation is a non-profit organization created for the purpose of promoting the preservation of the historic, natural, and cultural resources of the Roanoke Valley.
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has identified historical (architectural and archaeological) resources through the following programs:
- Virginia Landmarks Register
- National Register of Historic Places
- Virginia Historical Highway Markers (see Roanoke River Blueway Interactive Map)
Buzzard Rock Native American Settlement (K-117)
- Latitude 37.264170651, Longitude -79.916274217
- Marker Location: 13th Street near and Tayloe Street in City of Roanoke (13th/Bennington Blueway Access)
- Marker Text: The archeological sites on the extensive floodplain represent at least ten thousand years of periodic use by Native Americans. The artifacts and evidence at one site suggest that separate villages were occupied there some six hundred to one thousand years ago. The site is believed to have been inhabited by ancestors of a Siouan-speaking community, such as the Totero Indians, who were allied the Monacan Indians and other communities of central and western Virginia.
A Colonial Ford (K-116)
- Latitude 37.254652462, Longitude -79.950097788
- Marker Location: Business Rte. 220, near Wiley Drive (Smith Park Blueway Access)
- Marker Text: The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia to the backcountry of the Carolinas crossed the Roanoke River here at Tosh’s Ford, named for Thomas Tosh, in the eighteenth century. Nearby stood Daniel Evans’s mill, another landmark on the road. A group of Moravians, among the many thousands of settlers who passed this way, crossed the ford at dawn on 2 Nov. 1783 en route from Bethlehem, Pa., to Bethabara, N.C. One wrote in his diary of the ford’s “slippery stones” and reported that “a quarter of a mile beyond we came to Evan’s mill.” Mill Mountain is named for Evans’s mill.
Blueway, Railways, and Trains
The Roanoke River Blueway offers a unique perspective on Roanoke’s railroad heritage with views of active (Norfolk and Southern) and abandoned tracks, railyards, and numerous railroad bridges and trestles. See the Roanoke River Blueway Interactive Map for railroad crossings and other reference points.