The Evolution of Rocky Mount, Virginia

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This article is sponsored by the abuse law firm in Rocky Mount. Learn all about the history of the town of Rocky Mount and its many features.

Rocky Mount: From Past to Present

Rocky Mount is a town in the Roanoke Region of Virginia. The county seat of Franklin County, it is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was first occupied in the 1740s when Robert Hill built a fortified residence and trading post in the area. However, English colonists didn't settle in the area until 1760, when they established two villages, Rocky Mountain and Mount Pleasant. Rocky Mount was named for a stiff cliff near the village.

Around 1770, James Calloway and Jeremiah Early built the Washington Iron Furnance on the current Main Street. It was operated by Calloway's heirs and Peter Saunders until 1850, when it got damaged because of a flood. By 1836, the town had 30 homes, three grocery stores, a newspaper and printing office, a courthouse, and a post office.

In 1873, Rocky Mount was incorporated as a town. The Franklin and Pittsylvania Railroad connected the town to Lynchburg and Danville in 1880. In 1898, Rocky Mount developed into an industrial and commercial center as it became a stop on the Norfolk and Western Railway between Roanoke, VA, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1903, merchant and entrepreneur Nathanial V. Angle built the Bald Knob furniture factory which is now the MW Manufacturing Company.

Today, Rocky Mount has a total area of 6.9 square miles, this includes the former village of Mount Pleasant. It is within proximity to the communities of Glade Hill, Henry Fox, Ferrum, Callaway, and Wirtz. The main roads serving the area are Virgil H Goode Highway (U.S. Route 220), North and South Main Streets, Franklin Street, Tanyard Road, Scuffling Hill Road, East Court Street, and Bernard Road.

Learn about a Short History of Scottsville, VA.

Historic Sites

Within the town of Rocky Mount, there are many landmarks and properties that hold historical significance to the area. This includes:

  • Rocky Mount Historic District
  • Booker T. Washington National Monument
  • Evergreen-Callaway-Deyerle House
  • The Farm
  • Greer House
  • Washington Iron Furnace
  • Woods-Meade House

They have all been listed on the National Regester of Historic Places (NRHP) individually.

Rocky Mount Historic District

The Rocky Mount Historic District encompasses 211 buildings, two sites, and two objects in the central business district and residential areas of the town. Some of the notable buildings of the national historic district are the N&W Freight Depot, N. Morris Department Store / Bryd Balm Company, Mount Pleasant, The Taliaferro Building, the Rakes Building, The Grove, Trinity Episcopal Church, Rocky Mount Presbyterian Church, Lodge Rooms (Colored), Baptist Church (Colored), Franklin County Courthouse, Franklin County Jail, Franklin County Library, Rocky Mount Municipal Building, McCall House, Davis House, Woods-Meade House, and the Greer House. On March 17, 1999, the district was designated on the Virginia Landmarks Register (VLR). On June 3, 1999, it was added to the NRHP. Its boundaries were increased in 2008.

 Mary Elizabeth Park

The Mary Elizabeth Park was constructed by N. V. Angle and named for his wife, Mary Elizabeth Angle. Located on South Main Street, the park is easily accessible for residents and visitors of Rocky Mount. As the most developed public park in town, it features two lighted tennis courts, a lighted roller rink, a playground, a large picnic shelter, and restrooms. Maintained by the local Presbyterian church, it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Booker T. Washington National Monument

The Booker T. Washington National Monument can be found near the town of Rocky Mount in the community of Hardy, VA. The national monument preserves portions of the 207-acre tobacco farm where leader and educator Booker T. Washington was born into slavery. The site provides an interpretation of his life and achievements and 1850s slavery and farming. On April 2, 1956, it was designated as a national monument. On October 15, 1966, it was listed on the NRHP. In 1973, it was designated on the VLR.

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