The Hotel Roanoke is as old as the city of Roanoke itself. It opened in 1882, when the city became the headquarters for the Norfolk & Western Railway, and signaled the city’s progress. It has since survived a devastating fire, the Depression and closure after a century of operation. Thanks to the determination of the leaders of Virginia Tech and the Roanoke Valley, the hotel reopened in 1995. Today, the reimagined Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center is once again a symbol of the region’s economic vitality. This revised and updated version of Donlan Piedmont’s Peanut Soup and Spoonbread: An Informal History of the Hotel Roanoke captures the amazing history of not only a hotel but also the personalities and stories that have made the Hotel Roanoke what it is today - a remarkable blend of century-old tradition and state-of-the-art hospitality.
Donlan Piedmont was Norfolk Southern Corporation’s public relations director and a native Virginian. Nelson Harris is a former mayor of the city of Roanoke and the author of a dozen books on the history of the Roanoke Valley; he is also a past president of the Historical Society of Western Virginia. Lisa Fenderson is an executive producer at Blue Ridge PBS; she was the producer and writer of the BRPBS documentary Hotel Roanoke: The Grand Lady on the Hill. Anne Piedmont is the daughter of Donlan Piedmont and helped coordinate the closing of Hotel Roanoke in 1989. Professionally, she is involved in economic development, marketing and public relations in the Roanoke region.