Welcome to beautiful, historic Old Southwest, which until the end of World War II was one of Roanoke’s finest neighborhoods. The land was granted in 1771 and 1781 by King George III of England and was eventually deeded to Samuel H. Gish.
The area now known as Old Southwest was annexed from Roanoke County in 1890 and was developed between 1882 and 1930. It lies southwest of the downtown area and is home to one of Roanoke’s oldest structures, the Alexander-Gish house, which was built prior to 1838. The original home was a log structure and now serves as the meeting place for the neighborhood association.
The neighborhood declined after the war and many of the homes were converted into apartments. But in the mid 1970’s, the mindset shifted to rebirth and the preservation of the rich history and architectural integrity. In 1985, Old Southwest was officially listed in The Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
Old Southwest boasts an incredible array of architectural styles ranging from Colonial, Georgian, the Amercan Foursquare, and Tudor, just to name a few. To ensure the historical and architectural integrity of the neighborhood, the City’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) issues a Certificate of Appropriateness for changes and alterations to the exteriors of the homes. Care is taken that any changes made are as close to the original structure and materials as possible.
Today, Old Southwest exemplifies a strong sense of character and the preservation of the history of the area. Step back in time as you walk the beautiful tree lined streets and enjoy the sense of community of this wonderful area.