Roanoke neighborhood recognized: Longtime heart of the city's black population added to state register

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ROANOKE -- The city's oldest neighborhood, which includes the childhood home of civil-rights legend Oliver Hill Jr., has been added to the Virginia Landmarks Register by the state Department of Historic Resources.

Gainsboro, a 73-acre, 33-block tract north of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and west Interstate 581, was first developed about 1835 and was initially known as Big Lick.

For many years, the neighborhood was the economic, cultural and residential heart of Roanoke's black population.

The effort to recognize Gainsboro as a historic neighborhood dates to the 1980s.

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