Belmont Historic Survey

Funding through the Certified Local Government (CLG) Program operated by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) was awarded to the Department of Planning, Building, and Development to conduct a historic architectural survey of the Belmont neighborhood and submit a nomination of the area for listing in the National Register of Historic Districts. Through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process, the City of Roanoke, Virginia, has awarded the project to Hill Studio, P.C.  

Project Description


The proposed project will be completed in two phases. The first phase would include providing an architectural survey of the 164 remaining properties within the proposed Belmont Historic District that were not surveyed as part of the previous grant. The second phase would include listing the Belmont Area, as defined in the map, in the National Register Districts and listing the Belmont Area in the Virginia Historic Districts.

Hill Studio, P.C., has begun conducting the required survey and the project is expected to be completed in December 2018.

Purpose


Upon completion of the historic district nomination, owners of the contributing properties to the Belmont Historic District, defined in the map, would be eligible for tax credits.  The purpose of surveying and listing a district on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places is threefold.

First, a thorough understanding and assessment of Belmont's historic resources will allow for more informed comprehensive planning decisions that are sensitive to the significance of the neighborhood. Secondly, quality redevelopment activities will be encouraged by the oversight of federally funded projects through Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and through the availability of financial incentives through the State and Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. But most importantly is neighborhood pride incited by increased awareness of Belmont's heritage.

Neighborhood History


Belmont was the 1st planned neighborhood in Southeast Roanoke, developing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to provide housing for workers of the newly merged Shenandoah Valley and Norfolk and Western railways. In response to the "demand by railroad employees for dwellings near their place of work," the Belmont Land Company formed in December 1888 and by 1890 172 lots had been sold.

Further development pressure came with the construction of a rayon plant by the American Viscose Corporation along the Roanoke River to the south in 1917. Belmont flourished into a vibrant community with schools, churches, a fire station, and social clubs. 

However, in 1958 the American Viscose Plant closed and the Norfolk and Western Railway converted from steam to diesel engines resulting in thousands of jobs lost. The closing of these two operations had a devastating effect on the Belmont neighborhood with many established families leaving to find work elsewhere.

Project Background


In 1997, the City of Roanoke received a matching grant from the VDHR to conduct a Historic Architectural Survey of 125 structures in the Belmont neighborhood in Southeast Roanoke. In October 1997, Hill Studio, P.C. was contracted by VDHR. The final products of this project included: a survey report; site files, base maps; and a scripted slide presentation for use at public meetings. The survey report is on file at the Virginia Room of the Roanoke City Public Library as well as the City of Roanoke Planning, Building and Development Department.

On June 19, 2014, the VDHR had determined the Belmont area as eligible for a National Historic District.

In 2014, the City of Roanoke received a matching grant from the VDHR to conduct a Historic Architectural Survey the properties identified within the Belmont area.

In July 2015, the survey of 625 properties was prepared by Hill Studio, P.C.; however, 164 properties were not surveyed. This list includes 36 properties that were surveyed in 1997, and their information must be updated as part of this grant request.

On May 31, 2017, the City of Roanoke Planning, Building & Development Department requested for a grant funding through the VDHR to assist with a two-phase project. The first phase of the project would include providing an architectural survey of the 164 remaining properties within the proposed Belmont Historic District that were not surveyed as part of the previous grant. The second phase of the project would include listing the Belmont Area, as defined in the map, in the National Register Districts and also listing the Belmont Area in the Virginia Historic Districts. 

On July 3, 2017, the VDHR awarded a grant funding of $12,500 to the City to match the grand amount for hiring a consultant to prepare architectural surveys of 164 properties and prepare/process nomination of the Belmont neighborhood for inclusion on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register Historic Places.   

On October 5, 2017, the City Council accepted the awarded $12,500 grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and appropriated City matching funds of $12,500 to enable the City to hire a consultant to assist the Planning, Building and Development Department on this project.  The total project cost is not to exceed $25,000.

The Virginia Division of Historic Resources staff and the Planning Department staff will be assisting Hill Studio, P.C., on this project which is expected to be completed in December 2018.