Historic Roanoke mansion and one-of-a-kind rec center gets a facelift

For nearly 60 years, people have gathered at the Historic Fishburn Mansion and estate in downtown Roanoke for daily activities like architectural tours, yoga, tai chi, card games, and painting parties. Businessman Junius B. Fishburn built the 42-room, Georgian-revival style home, now a Virginia Historic Landmark, in 1907 and left it to the city in 1955 with the caveat that it be used for public recreation. 

But historic homes of this caliber “come with maintenance challenges,” said city parks and recreation director Michael Clark in a statement. “There are so many ornate details that we just haven’t been able to keep up with.”

Photo courtesy of Historic Fishburn Mansion

The city is working with a local nonprofit, Friends of Mountain View, to change that. The latter has secured $90,000 in grants toward design plans for a total renovation, which will factor in results from a February community survey. Clark estimates the project will cost in the millions, but says the results will be well worth the expense. PlayRoanoke.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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