Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gainsboro Library Hosts African-American Community Memories

Washington Park Master Plan

Washington Park Master Plan

In March of 1945 a Roanoke city ordinance appropriated $3,625 to purchase what property for use as a “colored” park. Hurt Park was established followed by Hurt Park elementary in November of 1959.

Oral History of West End and Hurt Park are being conducted (interview kits are available at the library). The first results of oral history interviews were in a pamphlet titled “Making the Past Visible.”  The oral history project includes Alicia Sell, Roanoke Public Libraries, and Virginia Tech Urban Affairs and Planning graduate students.

The Evolution of Henry Street 1893-2009 was presented by Wendy Jacobsen of a Virginia Tech Landscape Architecture Professor. Landscape and Memory in Gainsboro was presented by Brian Katen, Virginia Tech Landscape Architecture Program Chair. Reflections on Place and Community Memory special guest was Dr. Mindy Fullilove, professor of Clinical psychiatry and public health, Columbia University and author of Rootshock – How tearing up city neighborhoods hurts America and what we can do about it. Urban Renewal from 1949 to 1973 damaged or erased entire neighborhoods.

Charles Price said that urban renewal had destroyed the terrain and the entertainment that children were able to enjoy on it. Price suggested a virtual walk-through.

Jim Cook talked about the “cat house” that served the railroad workers on the weekend taking the workers pay for the week. The house still stands according to Cook. This brought loud laughter and questioning of just how Cook was aware of the “cat house.”

Evelyn  Bethel and Helen Davis of Gainsboro noted that Washington Park was planned for an aquatic center by the city. Bethel and Davis both liked Professor Jacobsen’s Booker T. Washington Master Plan that preserved the parks history. The plan included cleanup of toxins due to the park being built on a landfill.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Local Events

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