The Campbell Ave Project
The Campbell Ave Project was a month long study of one of Roanoke's most important neighborhoods, the site of its salt licks and rail yards. These two features are the main components of Roanoke's history. The people who lived here prior to the arrival of Europeans hunted game at the salt licks and without the rail yards there would be no Roanoke. The area, just past the city Market area, is an area most people generally try to avoid, save its one lone gentrification attempt. Two of Roanoke's diviest bars are there, a typewriter repair shop (Yes, a typewriter repair shop.), several empty buildings, car repair places, Norfolk and Southern Shops, Lick Run and an assortment of other businesses. Visually, it's all brick and rust.
But it's kind of a perfect place for a study, there's enough old history and current oddities to keep a study going, even if just for a month. Studies like this are wonderful because they generate knowledge, create a sense of place, connect people with where they live, get people outside in their town, you get to walk around, there are always chance encounters, you can allow yourself to discover new space, the list of benefits is lengthly. Plus it's just fun to get out and walk around with friends.
A look back at the study.
The team on a tour of the area
Mark Perry's submission
A history of the area by Olchar Lindsan and Matt Ames.
Robin Knapmeyer's plant identification of the area.