This past Saturday we led our annual Roanoke Tweed Ride. As always, our friends at the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation where on hand to give us a tour of some historically significant parts of our route.
The Tweed Ride is mostly an excuse to dress up, drink coffee, and enjoy some company on a chilly November afternoon, but for the past several years we’ve had the great pleasure of working with the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation (RVPF) on adding some historical context to the tours, with several stops at sites of historical significance. In past years, we have explored places like the old steam water pump in the Crystal Spring Village, Alexander Gish House in Old Southwest’s Highland Park, and the newly renovated Virginian Railway Station.
The ride was led by Regional Commission bike planner Rachel Ruhlen, who developed the route with the help of Alison Blanton of the RVPF. The route took us through parts of Roanoke’s Melrose/Rugby neighborhood, Gainsboro, Brown Robertson Park, Henry Street, and Gilmer Ave. Much of the tour focused on the city’s African American neighborhoods and history – places like Henry Street that no longer resemble their original forms, to the 400 block of Gilmer Avenue where the four homes in which were raised African Americans who went on to play pivotal roles in the civil rights movement all still stand.