Red, white and blue star.

Mill Mountain Star

Field review by the editors.

Roanoke, Virginia

Roanoke is known as both the "Star City of the South" and the "Only City with a Mountain Within Its Limits," so it logically follows that its citizens would want to construct a giant, glowing star on top of Mill Mountain. This is exactly what they did. The Star, built in 1949, is considered the "World's Largest Man-made illuminated Star,"* yet another claim to fame that Roanoke can add to its impressive roster.

The Mill Mountain star stands eighty-eight and a half feet tall. It uses 2000 feet of neon tubes and 17,500 watts of power, so it puts out a pleasant little hum. It's best appreciated at night, but before midnight, please, because that's when Roanoke goes to bed and turns the star off.

Behind the Star.

Since the Iraq War began, it has glowed red, white, and blue (The red-white-blue lighting theme originally appeared during the 1976 Bicentennial). It used to turn red whenever there was a traffic fatality or drunk driving accident in Roanoke Valley -- but that role has been ended.

People wanted a pretty star or a patriotic star, but not a mournful star.

* A tipster points out that the Franklin Mountains Star in El Paso, Texas spans 459 ft. of a steep slope, making it technically the largest man-made illuminated star. But we give points to Roanoke for standing up their star like the Hollywood sign.

Mill Mountain Star

Mill Mountain Park

Address:
210 Reserve Ave., Roanoke, VA
Directions:
I-81 exit 143. I-581 exit 6. Right onto Elm Ave./Rte 24. Pass hospital, left at 2nd light onto Jefferson St. Left at 4th light onto Walnut Ave., which becomes Parkway Spur Rd. At top of mountain, right at Mill Mountain Park sign.
Hours:
Park closes at 11 pm, star is turned off at midnight. (Call to verify)
Phone:
540-853-2236
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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