First Settlers in 1847
The history of Roanoke, Texas, began in 1847 when a small group of 20 settlers and their families settled near Denton Creek, north of the present location of Roanoke. First called the Medlin Settlement in honor of Louis and Charles Medlin, whose families were in the colony, the early community was later designated Garden Valley.
Laid out in 0.5-acre tracts, the early settlement had stores and a blacksmith shop. Frequent floods of Denton Creek reached house rooftops and endangered the lives of both the settlers and their livestock. About 1879, the settlement was moved closer to the present site of Roanoke. In 1881 and 1882, most of the settlers began moving to the new town sight being laid out by the Texas and Pacific Railway. One of the railroad surveyors named the town Roanoke, in memory of his home town in Virginia.
Historic Oak Street
Roanoke was a cattle center in its early days. They had robust cattlemen, a saloon, a horse trough and a water tank which was located in the center of Oak Street. There were 2 hotels, the Pacific and Eureka, in the early days of Roanoke.
First Postmaster in 1882
Gus Wiggs was the first postmaster, appointed in 1882. In 1889, Mr. William Cowan was appointed postmaster by President McKinley. In 1902 Postmaster Cowan inaugurated the first Rural Route for Roanoke.
In the early days of Roanoke, a person could get a shave for 10 cents and a haircut for 15 cents. In 1933 during the depression, Roanoke was incorporated as a city, with Mr. H. W. Jenkins elected as the first mayor.
Firefighting in Roanoke
In 1948, Roanoke purchased its first fire truck, a 1923 American LaFrance. In 2000, the city completed a mini-museum honoring all the volunteer firemen, placing the old LaFrance within. Although Roanoke is one of the fastest growing cities in Texas, it maintains a small-town atmosphere. Many of Roanoke's original families remain represented in the city.
Roanoke's excellent location provides optimal access to major metropolitan amenities including airports, interstate, highways, rail services, entertainment, and shopping. We are committed to preserving the best of Roanoke's history and tradition. Visit Historic Downtown Roanoke and enjoy the updates and progress of our downtown redevelopment program while you discover the timeless friendly charm that is Roanoke today.