Roanoke, Va. – It was tough for the community to say goodbye to The Roanoker Restaurant just a couple of weeks ago.
But a piece of the restaurant’s history will now live on at a Roanoke fire station.
The Roanoker Restaurant looks bare since the restaurant shut its doors at the end of May.
But as Butch Craft, the restaurant owner, and her team clear out the restaurant, there are some paintings of Roanoke’s history she refused to sell.
“I wanted them to be somewhere where people could still see them because thousands of people saw it here,” she said. “Now, we had people who wanted to buy it. But I just felt like that was the right thing to do.”
A wood painting of the historic Number 1 Fire Station in Roanoke has hung on the wall since 1982 when the restaurant first opened.
But on Thursday, a handful of firefighters moved it to its new home at Fire Station 1 on Franklin Road.
“We wanted to make sure that we didn’t damage it,” Roanoke Fire EMS Chief David Hoback said. “So it took about six of us to get it and make sure it was wrapped appropriately. And then packaged, brought over here and then hung.”
Back then, the restaurant asked a Walt Disney artist to paint the historic site.
The fire station in the picture still stands today on Church Street in downtown undergoing changes to be repurposed.
“Where we came from is why we are so good today,” Hoback said. “So we don’t ever want to forget our history. History is so important to this organization. Our heritage and the culture that our firefighters came from. We want to make sure we properly display that.”
The fire department also received a Roanoke Machine Works Band painting.
It’s a rendering of the Norfolk and Western Railway machinists who repaired steam locomotives.
Hoback said he plans to put a gold plaque to honor the restaurant as they continue to search for the name of the original artist.
Butch said she also gave a painting of Norfolk Western to the Virginia Museum of Transportation.