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Friends of Washington Park share next steps and stories for the Caretaker’s Cottage in Roanoke

The caretaker’s cottage has been sitting at Washington park in Roanoke since the 1900′s. And now one group is taking steps to keep this piece of black history alive. And one of the people who spent time living in the cottage talks about what saving it would mean to him and others in the star city.

What was once a place Steven Stewart called home, now makes his heart ache while driving by.

“And I saw the house, and it hurt, I’m hoping they can make the building structurally sound, so it doesn’t collapse,” Steven Stewart, one of caretaker’s son said.

That’s what Stewart is hoping for the caretaker’s cottage sitting in Roanoke’s Washington park. The cottage has been a part of black history since the 1900s’ and advocates are taking steps to keep it there.

The cottage was known for housing black families who would take care of Washington park, but for some it was much more.

“The role the caretaker played, not only in taking care of the park itself, but serving as a mentor to the youth of the community. So, we really think this is important,” Alison Blanton, with the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation said.

Stewart, who was the son of one of the park’s caretakers shared what some of his duties used to be.

“Change out the bags, put a fresh bag in, wash and clean the sink, make sure it had soap and a towel to wipe your hands,” Stewart said.

To keep the piece of history there, the friends of Washington Park have applied for a Certified Local Government grant of $40,000 through the department of historic resources, which the city of Roanoke will match giving them $80,000 to help stabilize the building.

“It will initially designate the caretaker’s cottage as a historic place and that is something that we are very proud of. So, we are well on our way,” Cathy Carter, President of Friends of Washington Park

The Friends of Washington Park said, they are hoping to hear back about the grant at the end of May.

Source: WSLS News 10

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