Virginia's Blue Ridge is now open in the Phase Three stage of the Commonwealth's Forward Virginia plan. Learn more about the program and what it means for various types of businesses & experiences in the region with our Phase Three Guidelines page. Phase Three >
Roanoke came from the Indian word, "Raw-re-nock," a name for shell beads worn by Native Americans and used as trade goods.
The Appalachian Trail starts in northern Georgia and continues through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and ends in Maine at Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park.
Did You Know? Technically, the United States has only forty-six states. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Massachusetts are Commonwealths.
The Town of Big Lick was chartered in 1874. It became the town of Roanoke in 1882 and the independent City of Roanoke two years later. Its location in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, in the middle of the Roanoke Valley between Maryland and Tennessee, made it the transportation hub of western Virginia and contributed to its rapid growth.
Roanoke became a city so quickly that it earned the nickname "Magic City."
The Mill Mountain Star, also known as the Roanoke Star, is the world's second largest illuminated man-made star, constructed in 1949 at the top of Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia. It was the largest star ever assembled until another was built in El Paso, Texas. However, the Mill Mountain Star still holds the claim to world's largest illuminated man-made standing star, as the one in El Paso lies flat on the ground. The Mill Mountain Star gave the City of Roanoke the title of "Star City" and it has stuck ever since.
Wrestler Tony Atlas is originally from Roanoke, as are twin NFL players Ronde Barber and Tiki Barber, singer Wayne Newton, and actor John Payne. J.J. Redick, former basketball star with Duke University, is also from Roanoke.
"Roanoke" is one of seven communities in the United States with the same name.Photo via Sam Dean Photography in Botetourt County.