Placemaking Project

Urban Park Branded Gateway Signage

Photos courtesy of Hill Studio

Elmwood Park

Roanoke, Virginia

Located in Downtown Roanoke, the recently renovated Elmwood Park is one of the premier outdoor event facilities in the region. It's located within walking distance of downtown Roanoke's market area and is a popular spot for visitors looking to enjoy the fresh air of Virginia's Blue Ridge. During the 1830's, the area that is now Elmwood Park was part of a 200‐acre estate built by Jonathan Tosh. Peyton Leftwich Terry purchased Elmwood in 1858 and Elmwood became the center of social life in the late 1800s. Eventually the family sold the house and remaining property to the City for a public park. During the early years, the park boasted tennis courts and a bandstand. By the 1950s, the park included a lake with a fountain. The City built a public library on the site in 1952. Eventually the Terry House was demolished, and the lake was drained and replaced with a small amphitheater in 1968. The park was last renovated in the 1980s as part of the centennial celebration of the City.

In 2011, the City undertook a major renovation program for Elmwood Park. Hill Studio, a Roanoke firm specializing in community planning, landscape architecture, architecture, and historic preservation was selected to design the renovations and 1717 Design was invited to be on their project team to help create a branded experience for the new environment as well as to develop gateway and directional signage for the park. The centerpieces of the new $7 million park renovation are the new amphitheater with open‐air terraced seating for more than 4,000 and the Art Walk for changing art installations along Bullitt Avenue which runs through the center of the park. 1717 designed a series of masonry gateway signs for the park with monumental lanterns and built‐in planters that pay homage to the existing 1950s international‐style architecture of the Main Library located in the park. Elmwood Park is regularly used for some of the Roanoke Valley's most popular annual events, such as the Community School Strawberry Festival, Microfestivus, the Party in the Park series, and Local Colors. In 2014 Elmwood Park won the Best New Renovation ⁄ Addition award from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society.