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Hotel Roanoke Documentary Currently in Production

Producer seeks hotel stories, photography & memorabilia from local residents

The fascinating history of the Hotel Roanoke will finally be told later this summer in a Blue Ridge PBS television documentary, “Hotel Roanoke: The Grand Old Lady on the Hill”, in partnership with The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center.

To best tell the story of the hotel, Executive Producer, Lisa Fenderson seeks local residents and fans of the Grand Old Lady who may have stories, photographs and/or memorabilia to share. Fenderson can be contacted by phone at 540-983-1780, or email at [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is Friday, July 26th.

“We couldn’t be more excited to see the story of the rich heritage of the Grand Old Lady detailed and celebrated in this important documentary,” said Brian Wells, General Manager of The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. “It is a chance for all Hotel Roanoke fans to share special memories they have or ones that have been passed down in generations for all to enjoy. It is always special when a past guest returns and shares a treasure or memory they have collected, it enriches the Roanoke experience.”

Based on the 1994 book by Donlan Piedmont, “Peanut Soup & Spoonbread: An Informal History of Hotel Roanoke”, the documentary chronicles the very beginnings of the hotel, shortly after the town of Big Lick is incorporated in 1874. By 1882, Big Lick is renamed Roanoke, and a grand hotel stands on a former wheat field, thanks to the Norfolk & Western Railroad and a booming rail industry.

During her 130-plus years in service, the “Grand Old Lady” has endured renovations and expansions, fires and strikes, and narrowly escaped demolition in the early 90’s. But today she stands as a testament of what is possible when successful partnerships and passionate Roanokers come together.

“Blue Ridge PBS has long been associated with bringing great historical and educational programming about our region to light,” says William Anderson, Blue Ridge PBS interim President & CEO. “The Hotel Roanoke has proven herself to be a true icon of Southwest Virginia and we are thrilled to offer this latest documentary profiling this grand hotel and her cultural significance to the community.”

The one-hour documentary premieres in August on Blue Ridge PBS. Check local listings for time and channel lineups.

Founded in 1967, Blue Ridge PBS is the sole public multimedia enterprise serving four million individuals in portions of four states. The station’s coverage area includes Southern and Southwest Virginia, and bordering counties in Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Based in Roanoke, Blue Ridge PBS is comprised of four over-the-air channels: WBRA-TV 15.1, Southwest Virginia PTV 15.2, Blue Ridge PBS Kids 15.3, Create 15.4, and an online channel, Blue Ridge Streaming.

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