March 31, 2015

Celine Anderson (Seminar class of 2011) is hard at work on her senior project at Community High School: “The Roanoke Rover,” an annual journal about Roanoke’s culture and history. Celine has participated in several research projects about Roanoke, including an investigation of Roanoke’s history of urban renewal with Matt Ames. The investigation included collecting oral histories, making a website, and leading tours of local areas affected by urban renewal. She has also curated two exhibitions in the Liminal Alternative Artspace in Downtown Roanoke and done archival research at the Harrison Museum of African American Culture. It was her research on urban renewal that inspired the magazine.

In doing her research, it became apparent that a lot of local history has been ignored, and Celine aims to bring some of Roanoke’s history to the public’s attention. The magazine will be a historical and creative portrait of Roanoke. The goal of this magazine is to promote Roanoke as an interesting and historically rich place for current residents who may be curious about the history. It will include research articles, personal essays, poetry, and photography. The work in the magazine will be centered around the theme of “Roanoke: Just Passing Through.”  Stories in the magazine will be about people, places and things that have been in Roanoke but are no longer here. Unlike a travel journal, the magazine will mostly focus on things that are not currently in Roanoke but have made an impact on the city. Topics include:

● The five times Elvis Presley “passed through” Roanoke
● The Falwell vs. Flynt trial
● Great hiking spots in Roanoke
● Nick’s Cafe that used to be on Henry Street
● Old amusement parks of Roanoke and the Roanoke area: Dreamland and Lakeside.

While anyone may submit to the magazine, some of its contributors include newcomers to Roanoke, people who have lived here for over fifty years (such as head of the Historic Gainsboro Preservation District, Evelynn Bethel), writers for the Roanoke Times (such as award-winning journalist, blogger and member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame, Dan Smith), college students and professors (such as Lucy Lee, a woman who lived through Roanoke’s era of segregation, and Professor Meighan Sharp). One hundred copies of the magazine will be distributed primarily in downtown Roanoke but also in other parts of the city. The project will benefit the community by giving people a free and accessible look at little known events in Roanoke’s history. The magazine will be in print by June 1, 2015.

If you would like more information about Celine’s project or would like to make a donation to help cover the printing costs for the free copies to be distributed to the community, please contact Celine at