The Historic Gainsboro History Walk will promote the significance of the Gainsboro neighborhood in the City of Roanoke through the placement of informational ‘history panels’ at key locations. The walk will begin at the pedestrian plaza on Wells Avenue across from the Hotel Roanoke and continue through the neighborhood to Henry Street, the Gainsboro Library, the former Claytor Clinic, and the residential portion of the neighborhood along Gilmer Avenue. The total project cost is estimated at $103,000. A Neighborhood Development Grant for $12,500 from the City of Roanoke was recently awarded to the project.
Gainsboro was the City’s first neighborhood in the mid-1800s and later served as the center of commercial, religious, and social life for Roanoke’s African-American community during the first half of the 20th century. The achievements of many residents of Gainsboro are noteworthy and deserving of recognition (early African-American doctors, lawyers, and diplomats). Although redevelopment has erased many of the buildings and streets that once fostered this vibrant community, the history is rich, still evident, and needs to be told. The Gainsboro Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2006.