71 years later, Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Star continues to shine

Star first illuminated in 1949

ROANOKE, Va. – The iconic landmark that gave the Star City its nickname celebrated its 71st birthday on Monday.

The Mill Mountain Star was first illuminated on Nov. 23, 1949.

The 88-foot tall structure is the largest free-standing man-made star in the world.

It was originally meant to be only a temporary fixture to ring in the holiday season, but people loved it so much, it stuck around.

“So many people have so many fond memories of it, you know, when it was first turned on, when it was colored differently, when it went back to its original, I mean there’s just so many memories and things tied to that star and everyone just loves it,” said Lynsey Allie, the museum manager at the Historical Society of Western Virginia.

Allie said visitors to Roanoke ask about the Mill Mountain Star more than anything else.


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