Roanoke, VA

The story behind Sulfur Springs-Healing Springs Road and Blue Ridge Springs Roads in Blue Ridge Virginia

Cheryl E Preston
A sulfur springPhoto byOlena ShmahaloonUnsplash

The Sulfer Springs is the only one

When you travel down 460 East out of Roanoke after about 10 miles you will find yourself in the small town of Blue Ridge Virginia which is just after Bonsack and Botetour East but before Montvale and Bedford. Many people know about the Blue Ridge Mountains in general but not everyone realizes there is an actual location called Blue Ridge.

If you take the right on 460 after dropping down the hill and passing Smith's store about 2 blocks away you will be on a road called Blue Ridge Springs Road. ( If you blink you might miss it). I grew up in this beautiful area but like most all of the other African American families had to move because our homes did not have indoor plumbing or heat. We used wood and coal stoves and outdoor toilets and only 4 or 5 families were able to build new homes with modern features.

The rest of us migrated to Roanoke where the houses already had heat and plumbing. These families who eventually moved included 3 widows, 2 single moms, a few retired grandmothers, and their teenage children and grandchildren living at the poverty level who were not able to do much better. Today those of us who are still living say we wish we could return to that peaceful area near the mountains where there were so many wonders one of which was the Sulfur Spring.

A sulfur spring a spring whose waters contain compounds of sulfur (such as hydrogen sulfide with its characteristic odor)
A sulfur springPhoto byOlena ShmahaloonUnsplash

Blue Ridge and Healing Springs roads lead to the Sulfur Spring

When you take a right from 460 on Blue Ridge Springs Road you will find yourself at a fork. To the left and right is Colonial Road and if you drive straight to the dead end you will find a space where a bridge used to be. This bridge connected those of us who lived in the area to those who lived in "the mountain." We could walk to their homes across the bridge and along the way to the right of the bridge was what was called the Sulfur Spring which was said to have healing water.

At the end of the old bridge if you kept to the left you would be in the mountain area where other homes were and today the road from the mountain back to 460 East next to the old Rock Quarry and across the highway from the Blue Ridge Minute Market is named Healing Springs Road. This is about a mile from the turn from 460 onto Blue Ridge Springs Road. These names might lead some to believe there was more than one spring but there was only the Sulfur Springs.

Healing Springs Road and Blue Ridge Springs Road both lead to what used to be the Sulfur Springs from different directions. Perhaps one day I can get some people together and we can try to locate the healing water again. My brother said it leads to a creek that flows to the back of two farms that are on the west side of Colonial Road just past the Blue Ridge Baptist Church. I think if possible this would be a nice little hike.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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