Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library

The Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library, also known as the Gainsboro Library, is a historic library building located in the African-American neighborhood of Gainsboro in Northwest Roanoke, Virginia. It was built in 1941–1942, and is a one-story, seven-bay, L-plan Tudor Revival style brick building. The library provided African-American residents of Roanoke's segregated Gainsboro neighborhood with a library facility where children and adults could pursue self-education with advice and assistance from competent and dedicated librarians. It replaced Roanoke's first African-American library which had been established in 1921 in a rented commercial storefront space.

Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library
Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library.jpg
Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library, June 2010
Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library is located in Virginia
Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library
Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library is located in the United States
Gainsboro Branch of the Roanoke City Public Library
Location15 Patton Ave., NW, Roanoke, Virginia
Coordinates37°16′38″N 79°56′29″W / 37.27722°N 79.94139°W / 37.27722; -79.94139Coordinates: 37°16′38″N 79°56′29″W / 37.27722°N 79.94139°W / 37.27722; -79.94139
Area0.1 acres (0.040 ha)
Built1941 (1941)-1942
ArchitectEubank & Caldwell
Architectural styleTudor Revival
NRHP reference No.96001448[1]
VLR No.128-0256
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 2, 1996
Designated VLRSeptember 18, 1996[2]

Land for the new building was purchased from St. Andrew's Catholic Church.[2] "...Mrs. Lee asked Father Thomas of St. Andrew's Catholic Church (Roanoke, Virginia) about leasing church land in the Gainsboro area for a library. He didn't have the authority to do that himself, but instead helped Mrs. Virginia Dare Young Lee draft a letter to Pope Pius XII in Rome (Vatican City) about the matter. The Pope's response was beyond all expectations. Land was granted "...for ninety-nine years for the use of the Public Library."[3]

The deep slate roof and large bay windows give the library building a home-like appearance, as does the high ceilings and large rooms. It almost has a Gingerbread house appearance.[4]

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, and is part of the Gainsboro Historic District.[1] It underwent significant renovations in 2009 and 2020.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b John R. Kern and Leslie A. Giles (July 1996). "National Register of Historic Places: Gainsboro Library". Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
  3. ^ "Virginia Dare Young Lee." Notable Women West of the Blue Ridge 1850-1950." A project of the Colonel William Preston Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Historical Society of Western Virginia. Page 101.
  4. ^ "Gainsboro Library". Roanoke Times. Discover History & Heritage. February 2018. Page 45.
  5. ^ Berrier, Ralph (13 September 2020). "Gainsboro Library to close for improvements". The Roanoke Times.