“a beautiful illuminated star”
At 8:22 p.m. on November 23, 1949, a chilly Thanksgiving Eve, Roanoke Mayor, A.R. Minton, threw a switch and illuminated the Roanoke Star for the first time. It was over 50 years ago Roanoke earned the nickname, “Star City of the South,” and the star has been a part of the landscape of Mill Mountain ever since. Why was the “Star” constructed in the first place? The purpose for erecting the star was to serve as a seasonal, Christmas decoration to shine over the city during the brisk holiday shopping season of 1949. The project was sponsored by the Roanoke Merchants Association. The original plan was to dismantle the star when the holiday season ended. John Payne, a Roanoke native and, at the time, a Hollywood leading man, came to Roanoke to add his celebrity status to the formal lighting ceremony. Less than 100 people braved the cold night to stand under the star as it was switched on.
We went biking here and at the top of the mountain all of my exhaustion was gone because of the amazing views. My favorite is the night light views of the city. It's amazing and very romantic.
The star is easy to get to - we drove, but there were bikers and hikers there as well. The views were fantastic.
This spur off of the blue ridge parkway not only gives you a great view of the star, but of Roanoke, the mountain, the valley--all of it. Go the three miles out of your way. The view is worth it.
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