The Documentary…Dreams in Steam: The Extraordinary Vision of O. Winston Link…to Air on PBS

Blue Ridge Public Television has scheduled the Historical Society documentary “Dreams in Steam, The Extraordinary Vision of O. Winston Link” to premiere on its ECHO channel as part of a local block of documentaries. It will air on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at 8 p.m.

The 30-minute film was just completed and partially made possible by an Arts and Culture grant from Roanoke City. Its creators are Steve Stinson, video producer; Tommy Holcomb, audio post-production, and Jim Dudley, narration. On-screen participants are Stephanie Klein-Davis, photojournalist and photography instructor at Roanoke’s William Fleming High School, and Lynsey Allie, the Historical Society’s museums manager.

The video looks at how the internationally known Link captured the lifestyle along the Norfolk & Western (now Norfolk Southern) tracks following the last steam train. It features a wealth of his photos and explains the science behind their creation.

To watch ECHO, people can either watch it over the air using an antenna on local channels 3.5 or 15.5. It will livestream at Blue Ridge PBS does not yet have an agreement with Cox to carry ECHO locally, so if people get their TV via cox, they will want to tune into the live stream online instead.

The Link film will be followed by a 20-minute video on local jazz pianist Lenny Marcus. It will also air live at the same time on March 19 and March 26 and will be available to watch on demand after it airs.

Tom Landon is director of Educational Innovation at Blue Ridge Public TV and the contact for the ECHO channel. It is also hoped the Link video will eventually be available on a statewide educational channel

RVPF Founder and Board Trustee, George Kegley, Passes Away Following a Brief Illness

Founding member of the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, Inc., George Andrew Kegley of Roanoke, Virginia, passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at Lewis Gale Hospital after a brief illness.

He lived 93 exceptional years, through his writing for the Roanoke Times for 44 years, historical and church publications, and most importantly, volunteering beyond the norm for so many good causes, touching the lives of far more folks than we will ever know. 

After retiring from the Roanoke Times as a business editor with 44 years of service, George became one of the community’s most active volunteers. In addition to his work with the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, George sat on the Boards of the Historical Society of Western Virginia, the Western Virginia Land Trust, the Rescue Mission, Blue Ridge Literacy Volunteers, and the Catholic Charities & Transitional Living Center; served as editor for the Journal of the Historical Society and the Virginia Lutheran; and coordinated the summer campership program of the Lutheran Cooperative Ministries. He previously served on the Board and as Secretary of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia), the first statewide preservation organization in the nation. George resided at Monterey, a Greek Revival home constructed in 1845, which is protected by a historic preservation easement held by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. It is also the only property in the City of Roanoke protected by a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (115 acres). George was a native of Wythe County and graduate of Roanoke College.

As Robert Frost wrote in “After Apple Picking,” But I am done with apple picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. Dad never knew an apple that wasn’t a friend nor worthy of pressing into cider. Many friends and family assisted with cider making over the years.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Louise Fowlkes Kegley. He was also preceded in death by his brothers, James Kegley and Fred Kegley of Wytheville.

He is survived by four children, George Andrew “Andy” Kegley (Nan) of Wytheville, Mary Louise Kegley “Sissy” of Roanoke, Robert Kegley (Melissa) of Wytheville, and Richard Kegley (Kristy) of Atlanta; nine grandchildren, Calder Kegley (Megan) of Charlottesville, Grace Kegley of Charlottesville, Reed Kegley of Little Rock, Arkansas, Nathan Guererro (Francesca) of Arlington, Maria Guerrero of Porto, Portugal, Emma Thomas (Gavin) of Philadelphia, Amy Fleming (Scott) of Suffolk, and Katterine and Clara Kegley of Atlanta; seven great-grandchildren, Sawyer and Finley Kegley of Charlottesville, Sara and Hugo Guerrerro of Arlington, Hazel Louise Thomas of Philadelphia, and Beau and Chase Fleming of Suffolk; nephews, Rick Kegley of Wytheville and Dan Kegley of Chilhowie; niece, Sally Kegley Little of Gate City; and sister-in-law, Nancy Kegley of Wytheville.

The Graveside Service will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Monday, February 21, 2022, at St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Wytheville, Va. A celebration of his life will be held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at a later date.

Memorials in George’s name may be made to Blue Ridge Literacy, Roanoke Area Ministries (RAM House), St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, and The Historical Society Western Virginia. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation Seeking Nominations for 2022 Endangered Sites

Since 1996, the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation (RVPF) has annually announced a list of significant historic, natural, and cultural sites in the Roanoke Valley that are in eminent danger of being lost due to deferred maintenance, demolition, or incompatible development.

Each year in May, the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation announces our Annual Endangered Sites List to call attention to local history, special places, and the possibility that these significant sites are in danger of being lost unless efforts are made to preserve them.

The Foundation is currently seeking nominations for our 2022 Endangered Sites List.  Nominations are due by March 21, 2022.

For additional information, including a 2022 RVPF Endangered Sites Nomination Form, visit our website’s Endangered Sites page.

For questions, please contact Judy Harrison by calling 343-8691 or by email to [email protected].


RVPF Supports Effort to Raise Funds for Henrietta Lacks Statue in Roanoke, VA

(Photo courtesy of PBS.Org) 

Who is Henrietta Lacks and why is she important?

In 1920, Henrietta Lacks was born as Loretta Pleasant in Roanoke, Virginia.  Lacks, nicknamed Hennie, was a petite and charming woman. At age 21, she married David Lacks and the couple settled near Dundalk, Maryland, in Baltimore County. They had four children, the last in 1950 at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  In 1951, Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed and died of cervical cancer at the age of just 31. At the time, many hospitals in the US practiced segregating black patients from white patients, which reduced her options for seeking treatment. As such, she ended up at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, in a ‘colored-only’ ward located down the hall from George Gey, a researcher who had been attempting to grow human cells in his lab for decades. Her doctor sent some of her cells to Gey without her consent, changing the course of medicine forever.

Gey discovered Lacks’s cell had the ability to divide and replicate indefinitely outside of the body whereas normal human cells are only able to do that around 50 times.  Lacks cells made it easier for researchers to grow the culture of identical cells quickly. Soon scientists all over the world started using her cell lines for furthering their research.  Her cells were used to carry out research for the first polio vaccine, for in-vitro fertilization, for cancer, and most recently, for studying the effects of SARS-CoV replication in the human body. Scientists began to dub the cell line cultivated from her as HeLa (HE-nrietta LA-cks) in her honor. 

However, for the longest time, her own family was not aware of her contribution. Even though some information about the origins of HeLa’s immortalized cell lines was known to researchers, the Lacks family was not made aware of the line’s existence until 1975. With knowledge of the cell line’s genetic provenance becoming public, its use for medical research and for commercial purposes raised concerns about privacy and patients’ rights that continues to this day.

In 2010, the story of Henrietta Lacks came to the public’s attention in a ground-breaking book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks written by Rebecca Skloot, an award-winning science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover; and many others. Skloot’s book took more than a decade to research and write, and instantly became a New York Times bestseller. It was chosen as a best book of 2010 by more than sixty media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, People, and the New York Times. It has been translated into more than twenty-five languages, adapted into a young reader edition, and made into an HBO film produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.  

For additional information on the life of Henrietta Lacks, check out The Maryland State Archives has an extremely detailed account Henrietta Lacks, MSA SC 3520-16887 (

In July 2021, the City of Roanoke, VA renamed a small park plaza located in downtown Roanoke in her honor.  The Henrietta Lacks Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Roanoke directly across from the Roanoke Municipal Building.  Roanoke’s Vice Mayor, Trish White-Boyd, began spearheading a project to raise $140,000 to make a life-size bronze statue of Lacks to be located on this plaza as reported in this local WSLS television news piece.  

“When people hear the story and understand the significance of it,” White-Boyd stated. “I think they want to be a part of it. I think that’s why we have the traction we have now.” 

How you can help:

White-Boyd’s plan is to partner with the Richmond organization, Hidden In Plain Site, to help create a multimedia project that will honor Lacks for a lifetime.  The first step is to raise $40,000 to develop a virtual reality presentation and there are several ways you can help to support this very worthwhile project:

  1. Make a check made out to the Harrison Museum and mail to P.O. Box 21054, Roanoke, Virginia 24018 with “Henrietta Lacks” written in the memo box, or
  2. Make an ONLINE DONATION through the RVPF website with “for Henrietta Lacks” noted in the comments/notes area and RVPF will make certain your support is received by the Harrison Museum. 

More info:

Check out this brief video created by Johns Hopkins University 


The Gilded Age comes alive in HBO’s new series ‘The Gilded Age’

HBO’s new series, The Gilded Age, comes alive in a new historical drama created by Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton Abbey) that is set in the United States during the Gilded Age boom years of 1880s New York City. The premise of the series is – old money versus new money – as the older, wealthy faction of individuals do everything in their power to deter the efforts of the younger, more innovative generation. But only one way of life can prevail in the bustling streets of 19th-century New York City. 

Check out the series YouTube trailer below:

Episodes of The Gilded Age began streaming on Monday evenings at 9:00 p.m. on January 24, 2022 on HBO and HBO Max

The series is being filmed at historic ‘Lyndhurst’ located in Tarrytown, NY. 

Overlooking the Hudson River, Lyndhurst is one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. Learn how this beautiful and historic property was transformed for use in the filming of this exciting new series.  Experience HBO’s “The Gilded Age” at Lyndhurst | National Trust for Historic Preservation (

For additional information on historic Lyndhurst, visit their website at  

Dedication of New Interpretive Historical Marker Dedicated at Historic Preston Place in Salem, VA



The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation and Salem Museum & Historical Society dedicated a new Interpretive Historical Marker on the front lawn of historic Preston Place, the oldest standing house, in Salem, VA. 

The marker, shown below, was unveiled during a dedication ceremony held on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 12:00noon on the front lawn of historic Preston Place located at 1936 West Main Street in Salem, VA.

The current day Preston Place was built in 1820 and was donated to the Salem Historical Society in 2014 by the heirs of Dr. Esther Brown.



During the dedication ceremony held on the home’s front porch, Meredith Novak stated “We are sort of continuing the legacy of Dr. Esther Brown, who was the last resident of this house and she was the first female doctor in the area.” Ms. Novak is the owner of the new business, Glow Healing Arts, that will be occupying the historic structure.  



Since acquiring the property in 2014, the Society has carefully worked to clean, repair, and  furnish the house while restoring the grounds and gardens that features a huge  Osage Orange tree believed to be older than the home itself.


Members of the community, Salem Museum & Historical Society, and Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation were present to celebrate the dedication and celebrate both the past and future of historic Preston Place.                  

RVPF Hosts 2021 Annual Meeting and Kegley Preservation Awards

On a brisk, late Sunday afternoon, November, 14, 2021, the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation hosted their Annual Meeting and the 2021 Kegley Preservation Awards program at the Mill Mountain Discovery Center located on top of Roanoke’s Mill Mountain. 

Between 50-60 attendees enjoyed a variety of light homemade appetizers made by Trustee members Alison Blanton and Katie Gutshall along with hot apple cider on the center’s patio overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains decked out in their fall colors while others remained inside the center’s warmth.  


Following this networking social opportunity, Foundation President Whitney Leeson began the program welcoming everyone to the Mill Mountain Discovery Center and thanked them for attending.  She provided an overview of the Foundation’s mission and accomplishments that had occurred during 2021. 


Vice President Bob Clement followed by announcing the Foundation’s 2022 Board of Trustees and thanked all of the current Trustees for volunteering their service during the year. 


Kegely Preservation Awards committee Chair Whitney Feldman  then annonuced the eight (8) Kegley Preservation Award recipients for 2021.  Each award recipient provided a brief overview of their project/activity that was followed by the presentation of an awrd plaque with the assistance of committee member Judy Harrison.     


The 2021 Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation Kegley Preservation Award recipients were:

  • Kegley Preservation Award for Heritage Education & Advocacy – Joe Cobb, Honoring Their Breaths Project
  • Kegley Preservation Award for Neighborhood Preservation – Isabel Thornton, Restoration Housing, LLC
  • Kegley Preservation Award for Historic Restoration – St. Andrew’s Catholic Church
  • Kegley Preservation Award for Lifetime Achievement in Heritage Education – Margaret and Alice Roberts
  • Kegley Preservation Award for Environmental Stewardship – Renee Powers, Mill Mountain Trails Plan
  • Evelyn Bethel Award for Heritage Education – Jordan Bell, Gainsboro History Tours
  • Kegley Preservation Award for Historic Preservation – George Kegley, Historic Monterey Smokehouse
  • Kegley Preservation Award for Heritage Education & Stewardship – Michael C. Maxey

The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation thanks all of this year’s 2021 Kegley Preservation Award recipients who have helped to protect our natural, cultural and historic resources for current and future generations to enjoy, appreciate and learn from.

The Foundation also sincerely thanks WDBJ7 television Joe Dashiell who was on hand to do a story on this year’s 2021 Kegley Preservation Award program recipients.


Historic Tax Credits Excluded From Proposed ‘Build Better Back’ Legislation Before Congress

The House Rules Committee released another draft of the Build Back Better legislation last night.  The Historic Tax Credit enhancements are excluded again.  The draft does include other Community Development tax credit provisions. 
Now is a critical time to urge Congress to include improvements to the Historic Tax Credit in the final infrastructure package.  Decisions are being made as we speak.   This week, Preservation Virginia organized meetings for PastForward conference attendees with Virginia’s Congressional Delegation.  All are supportive and need your encouragement.
Please add your name to the sign-on letter organized by the National Trust.  They hope to have 1000 signatures in the next 24 hours.  It is easy and quick to add your name to the sign-on letter:
Spread the word to your networks!  Let’s make sure Virginia is well represented on the sign on letter. And thank you for your continued support of this program.

Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation and City of Roanoke Fire-EMS Dedicate Historical Interpretive Sign

The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation (RVPF) and members of the City of Roanoke’s Fire-EMS Department held a dedication ceremony of the Fire Station No. 7 historical interpretive sign, commemorating the history of the station from its original 1922 construction with an unveiling on Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 5:30pm. 

The sign commemorates the City’s commitment to preserving the history of the station located at 1742 Memorial Ave. SW, Roanoke, VA 24015. Members of the community joined Roanoke Valley Preservation Board members and Roanoke Fire/EMS staff in celebration of both the past and the future of Fire Station No. 7 in the dedication of the historical sign at the new station.

Attendees toured the inside of the station inside but were asked to wear masks respective to the City’s COVID-19 policies. The station’s Fire-EMS crew served ice cream to those who attended, in keeping with the historical spirit of the fire station as an integral part of the neighborhood.

As part of the plan to build the new station on the site, the City partnered with the RVPF to install the interpretive sign to tell the history of the original 1922 fire station and its role in the development of the surrounding neighborhoods of Ghent, Raleigh Court, and Wasena during the early to mid-20th century. While the RVPF fought to save the original 1922 station, they believe that preserving the history of the station in the neighborhood is what is most important and the sign helps to accomplish this.

In early-2021, the newly constructed Fire Station No. 7 was unveiled to the public after more than a year of work. The new station, which houses Ladder 7 and Medic 7, offers four times as much space as its predecessor, allowing modern and EMS apparatus to fit in the station’s bay. New Station 7 was designed by a team from SFCS Architects, City staff, and Fire-EMS employees whose focus was to preserve the exterior character of the 1922 station and the surrounding residential neighborhood, while providing a state-of-the-art facility for modern Fire and EMS services. Historic materials and features from the original station, including bricks, wood trim, doors, and other historical artifacts were salvaged and incorporated into the new station.


The station also continues to feature the Trojan Dog sculpture, designed by artist Ann Glover. Located prominently in front of the new station, this project of the Roanoke Arts Commission and Greater Raleigh Court Civic League is a favorite in the community.


“The historical preservation of the station has not lost sight of its history in paying tribute to the 1922 station, with the detailed refurbished artifacts from the 1922 station and community support from the RVPF,” said Chief David Hoback of Roanoke’s Fire-EMS Department. “The community effort has resulted in the Fire-EMS team being able to have expanded resources to better serve the needs and ensure the safety of the neighborhood and residents.”

To view a virtual tour of the station, watch here.

RVPF Joins Board Member Jordan Bell on Walking Tour of Historic Gainsboro Neighborhood

Several RVPF Board members joined RVPF Board member and historian Jordan Bell on his walking tour of the Historic Gainsboro neighborhood held on Saturday October 23rd, 2021. Participants met at the historic Gainsboro Library located at 15 Patton Avenue NE at 10am.

Jordan introduced participants to Roanoke’s historic Gainsboro neighborhood, a predominantly black enclave where residents built a community that included self-sufficient businesses, medical offices & facilities, churches, a theatre, a hotel, school, and more creating a vibrant self-sufficient center of Roanoke’s black culture and commerce.

Participants also visited Henry Street which was the heart of entertainment in Gainsboro with restaurants, hotels, and clubs that hosted musical icons like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Nat “King” Cole, Dizzie Gillespie and more. 

For more information on Jordan’s Historic Gainsboro Walking tour, visit our site’s Historic Gainsboro History Walk page.

Additionally, for an opportunity to participate on a future walking tour, visit our site’s  Upcoming Events and Activities page.