Belmont Historic Architectural Survey

Funding through the Certified Local Government (CLG) Program operated by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) was awarded to the Department of Planning, Building, and Development to conduct a historic architectural survey of the Belmont neighborhood.

Purpose
The purpose of surveying and listing a district on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places is threefold.

First, a thorough understanding and assessment of Belmont's historic resources will allow for more informed comprehensive planning decisions that are sensitive to the significance of the neighborhood. Secondly, quality redevelopment activities will be encouraged by the oversight of federally funded projects through Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and through the availability of financial incentives through the State and Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. But most importantly is neighborhood pride incited by increased awareness of Belmont's heritage.

Public Meeting
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Monday, April 13, 2015 (during the Belmont Neighborhood Association's regularly scheduled meeting)
  • The Salvation Army
    724 Dale Avenue, SE
    Roanoke, Virginia 24013
Representatives from the City of Roanoke, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and Hill Studio will attend the Belmont Neighborhood Association's regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 13 to explain the background, purpose, and process of the survey project (details below). We also welcome long-time residents to share stories and photographs of Belmont over the years.

Architectural Survey
The area to be surveyed consists of 627 structures and is generally bounded by the Norfolk and Western Railroad tracks to the north, Eleventh Street to the east, Albemarle and Murray Avenues to the south, and Interstate 581 to the west. Hill Studio has been contacted to complete the survey. Residents can expect to see a survey team canvassing the neighborhood between April 2015 and August 2015 documenting structures from the public right-of-way.

This survey will build on work completed in 1999 by Hill Studio in which 125 structures were documented as well as a Preliminary Information Form (PIF) that was submitted to VDHR in March 2014 that determined Belmont to be preliminarily eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The City expects the nomination to the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places to be performed as a future project phase. Fire Station No. 6, the R.L. Lawson Warehouse, and Belmont Methodist Church have already been listed to the registers individually. This is a purely honorary designation and will not result in a local historic district overlay zone.

Resources
History
Belmont was the 1st planned neighborhood in Southeast Roanoke, developing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to provide housing for workers of the newly merged Shenandoah Valley and Norfolk and Western railways. In response to the "demand by railroad employees for dwellings near their place of work," the Belmont Land Company formed in December 1888 and by 1890 172 lots had been sold.

Further development pressure came with the construction of a rayon plant by the American Viscose Corporation along the Roanoke River to the south in 1917. Belmont flourished into a vibrant community with schools, churches, a fire station, and social clubs.

However, in 1958 the American Viscose Plant closed and the Norfolk and Western Railway converted from steam to diesel engines resulting in thousands of jobs lost. The closing of these two operations had a devastating effect on the Belmont neighborhood with many established families leaving to find work elsewhere.