19 December 2016

Hotel Roanoke

The Hotel Roanoke was built by the Norfolk and Western Railroad, opening on Christmas Day in 1882 in a little town called Big Lick. The N&W had chosen Big Lick as it's headquarters and the hotel was to serve as the centerpiece of the grand city they intended to build there.

Hotel Roanoke, 1882
For 107 years the Grand Old Lady of Roanoke reigned on her hilltop, gradually becoming surrounded by the city of Roanoke as she watched the Norfolk & Western grow into the Norfolk Southern. Over the years the hotel gained a couple of new wings and a grand lobby and dining facility in 1937-38. Finally in 1989, long after the era of luxurious passenger trains had ended, the Norfolk Southern closed the hotel and donated it to the Virginia Tech Real Estate Foundation.

Hotel Roanoke, 1910
 In 1995 the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center was opened. The grand lobby, the Regency Room dining room, the Pine Room pub and the Palm Court are much as they were on the day the hotel was closed and the hotel still sits atop her hill, watching over the city that she helped to build.

Today the hotel is part of the Hilton's Curio Collection.

 Every year the hotel erects a Christmas tree in the lobby, the only year there was not a tree here was in 1982 when a birthday cake celebrating the hotels 100th birthday was displayed instead.

 The check in counter would be familiar to any of the hotels guests for the past 50 years or so. Great care was taken to ensure the history of the hotel was preserved when ownership passed from the Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation to Virginia Tech.

 The Palm Court was originally called the Oval Room because of its shape.

 The Pine Room was originally an officer's club, serving the Army and Navy aviators training at nearby Woodrum Field in Roanoke during WW2.

 Many of the hotels past accoutrements were on display, donated by the buyers who attended the great 17 day sale in 1989 when the hotel property was liquidated.

The fire in the fireplace is gas now instead of wood, but it still brings warmth to its corner in the main lobby. Below, this curved wall contains the Regency Room dining room and was once the outer wall of the hotel. The conference center was added for the hotels re-opening, enclosing the courtyard around the Regency Room.

 Mrs Hade's grandfather was an employee of the N&W in the 50's and was involved in the renovation of the hotel during that time period. It is speculated that if the timelines were synchronized it is quite possible that Hotel Roanoke is the conception point for her Uncle Jeff.

We visited the hotel this past weekend and had dinner in the Regency Room, we took some pictures for Grammy and enjoyed the annual Christmas tree display. This one, of course, is my favorite; the Coca Cola Christmas Train.

13 December 2016


Bridget has written a couple of books.

They might make good Christmas presents.

Afterword: Sadly, her blog has become invitation only, and I wasn't on the invite list, so it has been taken off the blog roll.
 It will be missed, especially the recipes. Maybe one of her next books will be a cookbook.

08 December 2016

Tis The Season

The Subaru is fixed and once again on the road. It has been running now for a couple of weeks, but time will tell how well the fix took this time.

Eldest Son will no longer be driving it, though, he finally scraped enough money together to get his car back on the road. One less yard ornament in front of the house.

Speaking of yard ornaments, the tree is up and decorated but I have not put anything up outside. I might not since we are once again going to be traveling for Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, the lovely Ms Heyworth would like to wish you a Merry one.