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Related to Roanoke: Roanoke Island, Croatoan


(rō`ənōk), city (1990 pop. 96,397), independent and in no co., SW Va., on the Roanoke River; settled c.1740, inc. 1882, as a city, 1884. It is situated between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mts., at the southern end of the Shenandoah valley. A tiny village known as Big Lick until the establishment of a railroad junction there in 1882, Roanoke developed into the region's commercial, transportation, and industrial center. It contains railroad shops and factories that manufacture machinery; chemicals; metal, concrete, and plastic products; foods and beverages; fixtures; electrical equipment; and furniture. Hollins Univ. is there, and Roanoke College is nearby. The city is headquarters for the Jefferson National Forest. Of interest are transportation, science, and art museums and a planetarium.


river, c.410 mi (660 km) long, rising in SW Va. and flowing generally southeast across the Blue Ridge Mts. and into Albemarle Sound, NE N.C. The lower river is navigable for small craft. A comprehensive flood-control and hydroelectric-power scheme has been initiated on the river. Among a series of constructed dams, John H. Kerr Dam impounds one of the largest reservoirs in the United States. Roanoke, Va., is the chief city on the river.
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Roanoke (Independent City), Virginia

215 Church Ave SW
Roanoke, VA 24011
Phone: (540) 853-2000
Fax: (540) 853-1138

In south-central VA, southwest of Lynchburg. Established in 1852 as Big Lick, for the large salt marsh where deer fed; incorporated in 1874. Name changed to Roanoke in 1882, became a city 1884. Convention and railroad center. Name Origin: From an Indian name applied to an island, possibly meaning '(place to find) shells that are used for money' or 'place where white shells are found.'

Area (sq mi):: 42.91 (land 42.88; water 0.03) Population per square mile: 2160.20
Population 2005: 92,631 State rank: 18 Population change: 2000-20005 -2.40%; 1990-2000 -1.50% Population 2000: 94,911 (White 68.80%; Black or African American 26.70%; Hispanic or Latino 1.50%; Asian 1.20%; Other 2.70%). Foreign born: 3.10%. Median age: 37.60
Income 2000: per capita $18,468; median household $30,719; Population below poverty level: 15.90% Personal per capita income (2000-2003): $24,698-$28,814
Unemployment (2004): 4.60% Unemployment change (from 2000): 1.00% Median travel time to work: 19.30 minutes Working outside county of residence: 38.00%
Cities with population over 10,000:
  • Roanoke County seat (92,352)

  • See other counties in .
    Counties USA: A Directory of United States Counties, 3rd Edition. © 2006 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
    The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



    a city in the southeastern USA, in Virginia, on the Roanoke River. Population, 91,000 (1974; 220,000 including suburbs).

    Roanoke is a railroad junction. It produces man-made fibers—it has one of the largest factories in the country—and electrical equipment. The city also has furniture, clothing, and food-processing industries. As of 1973, Roanoke’s industries employed 21,000 people.



    a river in the eastern USA. Length, 725 km; basin area, approximately 25,000 sq km.

    The Roanoke originates on the western slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian system, passes through the Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and flows into Albemarle Sound on the Atlantic coast. The river’s average flow rate is 230 cu m per sec; maximum flow is in late spring, and minimum flow is in early autumn. Hydroelectric power plants are located on the Roanoke. The river is navigable for small boats in its lower course.

    The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


    Carolina settlement that twice vanished, leaving no trace (1587). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 430]


    fate of colony has never been established (1580s). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 430]
    See: Mystery
    Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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    A kingdom strange; the brief and tragic history of the lost colony of Roanoke.