One Of Most Populous Areas In Roanoke County – Modern Improvements Noted
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
The Williamson Road section of Roanoke County is an unincorporated community of between three and four thousand people and is regarded as the county’s most populous development within the past decade. The border on the south is the corporation line of the City of Roanoke, and the entire section is divided by a wide boulevard extending from the city limits in a northwesterly direction for a distance of almost two miles, designated in the State Highway System as route 11 or the Lee Highway, but better known locally as “Williamson Road” from which the section on both sides takes its name. The section contains a total of 3.6 square miles. Much of the territory embraced in the section has been known for more than half a century as “The Watts’ Farm”. This land in the early history of the county was owned by Col. Edward Watts, and from 40 to 50 years ago was the property of the late J. Allen Watts.
Among other owners of lands now included in the section in days gone by, may be mentioned Mrs. Kate Carter, Mrs. W. P. Horne, Edward Nininger, Nathan Nininger, “Billy” Coon, and near Tinker Creek the S. D. Read farm. On the extreme southern end of the Williamson Road section was the Williamson farm, more recently designated as “the Luken’s Place.” Practically all the lands or farms have in more recent years been subdivided into building lot sand laid off into streets by some thirty or more promotion and development companies. Among these companies may be mentioned: Frankin Court, Glen Eden, Huntington Court, Riley Heights, Lindbergh Court, Greenway Court, Queensburg Heights, Liberty Land Company, Laurel Terrace, Goodview, Guilford, Evandale, Oyler Addition, Oakland Terrace, Williamson Grove, Powers Addition, Williamson Court, Floraland, Airlee Court, James Addition, Angell-Backner Addition, Bluestone Addition, Haffen Addition.
Williamson Road has kept pace with its almost abnormal development in the establishment of schools, churches and all sorts of civic improvements. The first school to be erected was the Oakland followed in later years by the erection of the William Flemming High School which has an accredited high school rating from which graduates are prepared for entry into college work. It became necessary last year to build additions to both schools in order to take care of the greatly increased enrollment.
In the matter of churches, both the Methodists and Baptists have large congregations and comfortable houses of worship in addition to a mission tabernacle. Large numbers of church communicants living in the Williamson Road district retain their membership in various city and county churches.
Valleydoah Civic League
Much of the progress of the Williamson Road may be attributed to the activities of the Valleydoah Civic League, a body of civic minded men and women organized some seven years ago. The league holes monthly meetings and oftener if necessary to consider many questions pertaining to the welfare and advancement of the community. This league is accredited with having erected street signs and with the numbering of houses on various streets. The league was a prime mover in the establishment of the $150,000 sewer system just completed and now in operation. There has been an advisory committee from the beginning of the sewer agitation which has conferred with the county Board of Supervisors on all questions pertaining to the final completion of the modern sewer system. By special ordinance adopted by the Board of Supervisors this committee has been increased to five members who serve the community without pay. The duties prescribed for this group is to advise with and make suggestions to the Board of Supervisors and to the superintendent and engineer as to the operation and management of the sewerage system.
Of particular interest to the property owners at this time is the action of the Board Of Supervisors on Monday, May 9, 1938, in the acceptance of the sewage system from the contractors and adopting an ordinance providing rules and regulations for the operation, financing, maintenance and administration of same.
This section is officially known and designated as Williamson Road Sanitary District No, 1. Bonds in the aggregate amount of $150,000 bearing date of November 1, 1936 were issued and sold to pay the cost of construction of the sewage disposal plant, with payment provided in the ordinance as follows: $5,000 on January 1,1942 and a like amount for each of the years 1943,1944.1945, and 1946.
Beginning January 1, 1937, payments increase to $6,000 a year until 1951, payment increase to $7,000 a year until 1956. On January 1, 1957, payment is increased to $10,000 with a like amount each year until 1962, when the last bonds are to be paid. The bonds bear interest at 4 per cent with the interest payable semi-annually, January 1, and July 1, of each year.
In order to meet the above payments and raise the necessary revenue, and provide for necessary services and expenses of operation, the Board of Supervisors, exercising the power invested in it by law adopted a complete set of rules and regulations governing the operation of the system. Stripped of legal phraseology the most important of the regulations follow:
All landowners upon whose property buildings have been erected or to be erected must make proper sewer connections prior to August 1, 1937. Failure to do so is punishable by a fine of $50 and a like amount for each succeeding month of such failure. The expense of all such connections must be made by the property owner. Proper connections must be made by the owners or builders of new houses erected after June 1, 1938, at the time of erection of such new houses at the owners expense under a penalty of $10.00 for each and every day such connections are not made.
After August 1, there shall be no private or septic tanks constructed in the sanitary district where connections can be made with the sewage system and the maintenance of a privy, septic tank or cesspool is punishable by a fine of $2.50 to $5.00 for each day such use is continued.
The following monthly rates have been established by ordinance with quarterly payments by property owners or tenants:
Residence, $1.00; tourist home, $1.50; duplex houses, $2.00; apartment house-each apartment, $1.00; tourist camps, first bath unit, $1.00-each additional bath unit, 10 cents; service stations, $1.50; service garages, $1,00; business houses, $1.00-each additional bath unit, $1.00; schools, $5.00; cleaning and dyeing plants and barber shops same as business house rates. Churches and church owned parsonages are exempt.
Provision is made for connections by property owners outside the sanitary district at a cost one and three fifths greater than the above schedule of rates.
The conduct of the system is to be in charge of a superintendent-engineer appointed by and to serve at the will of the Board of Supervisors. This official must execute a surety bond in the sum of $2,000 for the faithful discharge of his duties.
The Water Supply
Perhaps the greatest factor in the development of the Williamson Road section has been the abundant water supply of pure spring water from free flowing springs in the vicinity. A more detailed account of the activities of J. N. Phelps who is accredited with the building and maintenance of the water system will be found in another column of this newspaper.
Another factor in the sections development is the large furniture manufacturing firm of Johnson-Carper established in 1927, employing under normal conditions about 425r people, many of whom have built and occupy homes nearby.
Another enterprise that has been active in the development of Williamson Road is the Hedge Lawn Nurseries started about 15 years ago by J. W. Wharton and extending along the main thoroughfare for a distance of 350 yards.
Quite a number of thriving retail business concerns including grocery and drug stores , service stations, restaurants, apartment houses , tourist camps, cleaning establishments, beauty parlors, etc., all are doing their share in making this a fine section in which to live.
-Prepared by Lisa King