A SHOT AND A CHASER AT SNEAD’S PLACE
When you step into the Roanoke Visitors Center and Museum, you’ll be entering a Texas Landmark built in 1886 and constructed of native stone. Once known as the Rock Building but suffering rapid deterioration after abandonment in the 1980s, the fully-restored structure is now the oldest surviving commercial building in Roanoke. Constructed by Swedish stone mason Lawrence Olson for locals R.M. and B.S. Snead, the handsome work of vernacular architecture features cut sandstone and limestone quarried locally and still bears the metal threshold plates inscribed with the Snead name. Today, visitors may peruse the various displays on Roanoke history, including its more ancient history as grazing grounds for mammoths and mastadon, creatures who were most definitely not customers of The Silver Spur Saloon, the museum’s first permutation after the building’s initial construction. The Snead brothers’ Silver Spur provided entertainment for early Roanoke citizenry and area cattlemen in need of a shot and some “gentlemen’s entertainment”, courtesy of the saloon downstairs and its brothel upstairs.
At the Visitor Center, pick up a self-guided walking tour brochure of downtown Roanoke, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Highlights include the Roanoke Masonic Lodge built in 1908, the pyramidal vernacular Stone House - a 1913 version of Victorian architecture built by Charles Stone, and the Antique Fire Museum housed in a 1941 masonry construction that once served as a municipal building. Roanoke, self-proclaimed as the “Unique Dining Capitol of Texas”, also offers over forty restaurants specializing in local and international cuisine.