When Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill asked the public to share their views on changing the city seal, redesigned in 1906, back to the original seal of 1884, 531 people went to the city’s website to respond. The tally: 479-52 in favor of the historic version. More than 200 left comments, some that say a lot about Roanoke and Roanokers today. We’re using our letters feature today to offer a sampling:
- Current seal is a visual mess! Lets make the switch!
- Current city seal makes Roanoke look like it should be in New Jersey or the Rust Belt. While we have an industrial history, there are many more reasons to love this area, and it all starts with the incredible views, and our proximity to nature.
Keep it simple
- I think the 1906 seal is so busy it is difficult to actually identify anything about it. If given a choice between the two, I would choose the more simple design. If there is a concern about looking dated, then why not create a new seal entirely?
- New seal is far too cluttered. Historic seal is simple and powerful.
- Clean, neat and classic (as well as classy). The current seal looks amateurish.
- The 1884 seal gives the hope of rail service in Roanoke once again, showcases the mountains and indicates a sense of justice which, we hope, prevails. It is simplicity itself — pleasing to the eye and to the sensibilities, whereas the 1906 seal is far too busy and doesn’t enhance Roanoke’s striking beauty. Keep it simple. Show the tranquility and beauty of Roanoke and highlight its railroad past, at least.
- I agree, the current city seal does not represent Roanoke today. It would be hard to create a seal that could show Roanoke as it changes from decade to decade. The historic seal shows Roanoke’s heritage, and I think it is more attractive than our current seal.
Make it real
- I’m a former resident; this [Historic] image more accurately reflects my image of Roanoke; when I travel there on I-81, I am always thrilled when the mountains come into view . . . it means “I’m home!”
- Make sure you put white plastic bags hanging off the trees along the Roanoke River and don’t forgot Bev Fitzpatrick’s Rocket from the Museum of Transportation!
- Before I read the article in the paper, I looked at the two seals that went with the article. I thought the 1884 Historic City Seal was the current one. To my surprise, when I read the article, the old-fashioned 1906 Seal was current. The 1884 seal makes a much better pictorial statement about the City of Roanoke. “What’s old is new again.”
- The 1884 seal looks much too rural for a city. The current seal looks more urban and industrial, which is the right image to project for a prosperous city.
- I work downtown. I think the 1884 seal better represents what is attractive about the valley, a gorgeous close-by natural environment with a rich history.
But no Star
- 1906 seal, in its depiction of heavy industry, does not accurately reflect the Roanoke of today (arguably, neither does the original, but it comes closer.) Maybe include a medical facility to reflect the city’s role as a health center, with a small airliner overhead. The Taubman might be a distinctive feature, or a representation of Mill Mountain or a civic center to emphasize Roanoke’s role as an arts center. Please leave the Mill Mountain star out of it.
- If it had the Mill Mountain Star on it somewhere it would be perfect.
- More development in and around these mountains than ever. The mountain views are being rapidly replaced with concrete. Leave the current seal. Roanoke City will need a new City Seal by 2020 — just scales sitting on top of a building (no mountains in the background).
- We lost our industry and rail businesses, but the mountains will never go away.
- The feel is more pleasant, calming, colorful and pastoral. The current seal is a hodgepodge of images and at first glance looks like a picture of a war zone. It is just too busy and gives the impression that Roanoke is an industrial city with the smoke stacks and the pollution pouring out of them. My only suggestion on the historic seal is that you use the 611 as the steam engine rather than the one pictured. It is more of a signature train for Roanoke. And don’t worry about the attorney general’s modesty issues. Show lady justice as she truly is!!
- The 1906 seal is too busy and I like our lady of justice standing rather than kneeling.
- I’d like to suggest one change: to remove the staff she’s holding with the caduceus/medical symbol to demonstrate that in addition to the railroad’s impact we are also a strong medical/research economy as well.
- A no-brainer. 1906 seal visually way too busy/cluttered & what’s with the right leg? 1884 seal is clean and cool.
A lot of hooey
- Now, if folks didn’t gripe about the cost of a change, the survey results would be suspect. Not to worry:
- I don’t care other than I don’t want to pay for any change.
- Are you kidding me? Let me get this right, the city cuts out our services like leaf collection due to budget shortfalls; therefore, I have to pay an extra $800 each fall for a private leaf removal service . . . and now the city wants to take up some pointless project of replacing the seals on all things city to “portray the appropriate image”? Get your priorities straight!
- This is a complete nonissue. Address the problems our city faces such as funding for education rather than wasting time and money on something that does not matter.
- I feel that the present one should remain. This is where we as a city can come together to save money, knowing that this will be a cost issue, and the money can go to other areas in the city. I would like to see it stated about the price of this change.
OK. Here’s the cost: $1,308.76, an estimate that includes three $2 seal photos for legislative offices, three flags, the seal in council chambers, a one-time charge to set up new stationery and an official stamp for the city clerk.