Get to know Roanoke

Get To Know Roanoke

This page will introduce you to public places in Roanoke, show you what they look like today and tell of their beginnings in Roanoke.

Mural on building at corner of First and Main Streets

In 1873, John H. Barr circulated a petition to the county commissioners as for the incorporation of the town of Roanoke and the right to form a municipal government. The commissioners ordered an election January 8, 1874. The result was 75 for and 9 against.

Main Street in Roanoke, IN

The first legally established road was surveyed in 1838. It went through the township in a northeasterly direction from Huntington to Fort Wayne and was know as Fort Wayne Road.

Roanoke Area Heritage Center (The Museum)

On July 4, 1994, the Roanoke Area Heritage Center officially opened in the old bank building on the corner of Main and Second Street. The museum was formed by a group of local residents to promote Roanoke heritage. It is now located at 102 W. First Street.

Roanoke Community Park

In 1958 the Roanoke Jaycees acquired four acres of land off Seminary Street, at the end of First Street for the construction of a park and pool. The pool was never built, but Roanoke Community Park remain today. Town Council passed an ordinance effective November 2, 1964 establishing a Department of Parks and Recreation with a four-member board, under the jurisdiction of the Town Board and supported by a tax levy. In April 1965, the land was officially deeded over to the town of Roanoke by Mr. and Mrs. Gilford Patton with the stipulation that if it ever ceases to be a public park, the ownership of the land would revert back to the Patton heirs.

Roanoke Elementary School

In 1845, a building for a schoolhouse was erected two miles north of Roanoke by the Wesley Chapel. Another school was built on the hill on Main Street, near Sixth. The old fram building was moved to the corner of High and First Streets to make room for Roanoke's first masonry school building. This building was used until the fall of 1925. The brick building burned in a mysterious fire on May 14, 1926. A new school was opened on September 8, 1925 built on farmland donated by Marvin Richards. The brick and concrete structure on Vine Street, 183 feet long by 147 feet wide could accomodate up to 300 students. The auditorium was 68 feet by 70 feet with a 34-foot ceiling and with movable seating that could seat 1,000 people. The current school is located at 423 W. Vine Street.

Roanoke Post Office

The Roanoke Post Office was established June 4, 1846 after residents petitioned for mail service. The first postmaster was Leonard Bilby. However, on October 13 of that year, Theodore V. Horton, took over and ran it for four years. The Rural Free Delivery Service was first established July 1, 1902. Two routes were established that were each two miles long. The first carriers were Frank A. Milner (RR 1) and Jesse V. McTaggert (RR 2).

Roanoke Town Court

In 1975, the state changed from a justice of the peace system to a town court system, and grocery store owner, James W. Simmons, Jr. became the town's first Town Judge. The first female Town Judge was Margaret C. Moore who took over following Simmons' death. The Town Judge, and previously the Justice of the Peace, handled town affairs out of their homes until 1991, when room was made for the Court to locate the office in the Town Utility Building on Third Street.

Roanoke Town Hall

In 1885, Roanoke Town Hall was located on the second floor of a building. In August 1896, Town Council moved their quarters to the fire station on Third Street. Eventually Town Hall was moved to Main Street, between First and Second Streets.

Roanoke Volunteer Fire Department

Roanoke formed its first fire department in April 1895. a combination water and chemical hand engine was purchased for $850. The purchase included a set of hooks, ladders, and 500 feet of hose. It was expected that Council would have several large cisterns constructed for a water supply. It was believed that with 500 feet of fire hose drawing water from the cisterns and creeks, the firefighters could reach any building in town.

A company of 15 men were organized for the first fire department with W.H. Strock as Chief. Arrangements made by Council in July 1896 to build a fire house on the vacant lot next to P.B. Settlemyre's grocery story on Third Street. The first motorized fire truck, a Model T Ford, was purchased in 1922.

Historic Roanoke Prints

Below are prints of paintings of Historic Roanoke done by Bob Rose. For information on obtaining your own copy of the prints, please contact the Roanoke Public Library staff. Prints are very detailed and nicely done which these pictures do not do justice.

Public water pump located at First and Main Street circa 1910

East side of South Main Street circa 1903

Blacksmith on High Street circa 1880

Interurban Station summer of 1912

Created by Celia Bandelier on April 12, 2008. Photos taken by Celia Bandelier, an ametaur photographer. Historic Information is from a booklet put together for Roanoke's Sesquicentennial, September 11, 2000 by a committee in which Celia Bandelier was a member. Book was compiled by the Hart Publishing Company whose President agreed to allow the information to be reprinted here.Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS! Cynthia Tested!