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Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Ms-2000-093

Scope and Contents

The Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings consist of an extensive set of drawings, blueprints, and photocopies. Original perspective drawings mounted on presentation boards and a file with specifications for the remodeling of 24 east wing bathrooms in the hotel are also part of the collection. The drawings in the collection span the years 1890-1983. The bulk of the drawings are from 1937-53.

Part 1 includes blueprints for the swimming pool, motor inn, and laundry; floor plans; heating, cooling, and plumbing plans; elevations; finish schedule; kitchen, ballroom, office, beauty shop, and parking plans; details of entrance and back porch, and various interior and exterior details and alterations.

Part 2 includes structural steel drawings; heating, cooling, ventilation and plumbing systems; external and internal details for various rooms and features; floor plans, framing plans, elevations and sections; foundation plans; blueprintss for alterations; and various landscape details.


  • 1890 - 1983

Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

The original Hotel Roanoke was built in 1882 by the Norfolk Western Railroad for $60,000. The hotel started with 34 rooms and quickly grew to 94 rooms in 1890. It was severely damaged by a fire in 1895 and was rebuilt. It continued to expand through wars and the depression. By the 1950s, it had over 384 rooms within its distinctive half-timber English Tudor style facade.

As the public began to use interstate highways rather than passenger rail for travel, the Hotel Roanoke experienced a decline in business. Unable to compete with the national hotel chains located near the interstate highway, the Norfolk Western Railroad decided to concentrate on the transportation aspects of their corporation and closed the Hotel Roanoke in the fall of 1989. James McComas, then president of Virginia Tech, was approached by city leaders to accept the hotel as a gift and develop a first class hotel and conference center. The Virginia Tech Foundation accepted and renovated the Hotel Roanoke, while the City of Roanoke constructed the adjacent conference center.

The $27.8 million renovation of the Hotel Roanoke was financed through a mixture of funding sources: a consortium of local financial institutions loaned the project $6.5 million, a $6.0 million loan through section 108 HUD loan program with the City of Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority for the creation of 300 new jobs, $3.0 million from the sale of land surrounding the hotel, $4.0 million loan from the Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc., $1.3 million loan from Doubletree hotels, $1.0 million loan from a local Roanoke foundation, and $6.0 million from local citizens and companies in a local fund drive to save the historic hotel. The Hotel Roanoke is privately owned by a for-profit subisidiary of the Virginia Tech Real Estate Foundation, Inc.

Since reopening in the spring of 1995 as the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, the 332-room facility has received many historic preservation and architectural awards. It was placed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Landmarks register, and it received the 1996 National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award for restoration and preservation.


132 Cubic Feet


The Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings collection includes information about Hotel Roanoke in the form of original drawings, blueprints and photocopies dating from 1890 to 1983. The collection contains foundation, floor, and framing plans, elevations; ventilation, plumbing, heating and cooling plans; external and internal details for various rooms, stairways, and features; alterations; landscaping details; and exterior features, such as swimming pool and stables.


The drawings were divided into two parts depending on the time of accession. Part 2 was further subdivided into series depending on serial numbers, overall subject matter, and chronological sequence. Part 1 was arranged somewhat chronologically. The drawings span 1890-1983.

Part 1 is arranged in thirteen series, housed in portfolios 1 to 13. Individual drawings in Part 1 were assigned numbers in the inventory available online. However, these numbers indicate only the position in the portfolio relative to the other drawings. The assigned numbers have not been written on the drawings.

Part 2 is arranged in nine series by job number and subject matter. It is further arranged in chronological order. Each series is housed in a portfolio ranging from A-I.

Other Finding Aids

Individual drawings in Part 1 were assigned numbers in the inventory available online.

Source of Acquisition

Part 1 of the Hotel Roanoke drawings was acquired at an unknown date. Part 2 of the Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings was donated to the Special Collections in 2001 through the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Treasurer at Virginia Tech.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings were processed at two different periods. The processing, arrangement, and description of the Part 2 accession of Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings commenced in October, 2003 and was completed in November, 2003. The drawings in Part 1, which were an earlier accession, were processed in 2001. Because of the size of the collection and staff limitations, it was not possible to reprocess the drawings in Part 1 so that they conform to the standards used in Part 2.

A Guide to the Hotel Roanoke Architectural Drawings 1890-1983
Tamara Kennelly
2004 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Revision Statements

  • 2020-10-01: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US