How do you use the Historic Fishburn Mansion? What programs or activities would you like to see more of? Have you experienced accessibility challenges on the property?
These and more questions are being asked of community members in a public survey by Roanoke Parks and Recreation. The Historic Fishburn Mansion (formerly known as the Mountain View Recreation Center) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is in need of repairs and updates. To begin the process of addressing these needs, grant funding has been secured to complete planning services and develop schematic design plans. Public input is needed to help inform this process of the community’s priorities.
Funding for these early steps comes from a $40,000 Virginia Department of Historic Resources grant and an additional $50,500 from the Fishburn Family Foundation. This funding will go towards the development of concept plans, but will not include the physical repair or renovation work.
The Fishburn Mansion, built by Junius B. Fishburn in 1907, is a 42-room Georgian-Revival home located in the Mountain View neighborhood. In 1955, Mr. Fishburn donated the property to the City of Roanoke, with the stipulation that it would be used solely for public recreation purposes. In addition to the home, the property includes beautiful grounds, gardens, and outbuildings including a greenhouse and two-story caretaker’s cottage.
The Historic Fishburn Mansion has regular open hours during the week, and the park grounds are accessible to the public daily from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. During the week, the recreation center hosts many visitors who enjoy playing cards and games in the main level of the building. Community recreation programs such as yoga, dance, art, and more are held throughout the year, and the property is also a popular spot for private event rentals, such as weddings. Each December, the spacious mansion is elaborately decorated for the holidays with Christmas trees throughout the building. Holiday programs, including live wreath making and candlelight tours, begin later this month and a free Holiday Open House will be held December 17 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The public survey seeks to understand how the community utilizes the recreation center, potential areas for improvement, and how these needs can be accommodated into the future. While certain renovations and upgrades will be necessary, the plans will preserve the historical integrity of the building and its role as a recreation facility.