I've been busy digging through some archives to see what plans initially were floated for Roanoke. Using John Nolen's 2 plans for Roanoke (1907 and 1928), I have been attempting to draw comparisons between the Roanoke that "could have been" and the Roanoke that "might still be."
So far, mixed results. Nolen himself designed Asheville's city plan in 1922, which is ironic considering how many times we hear of Roanoke becoming more like Asheville. In all actuality, considering Nolen's firm was commissioned more than 450 times in the years surrounding the 2 Roanoke plans - there's a good chance that most cities people want Roanoke to be "more like" were in some way designed by Nolen.
In his 1907 plan (oddly enough, the city makes this available as a .pdf - which is somewhat dangerous, as it might give people ideas) Nolen touches on the use of Mill Mountain and the Mountain Park Casino (built by the Roanoke Electric Railway Co.), and cites specific examples to illustrate his ideas.
It's a fascinating read, and the pictures are amazing (which I will show you over the weekend) are stunning - and really do bring thoughts to mind.
More later on that.