Roanoke is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 377 and State Highway 114 on the Missouri Pacific line and Henrietta and Denton creeks, two miles south of Grapevine Lake and seventeen miles southwest of Denton in south central Denton County. The first settlement in the Roanoke area was on the original land grant of Travis Wright in 1847, when twenty families from Missouri led by Louis and Charles Medlin settled near the confluence of Denton and Henrietta creeks. Named Medlin Center for the group's leaders, the area was often flooded when the creeks rose, and in 1879 the site was moved to higher ground one mile south, where the community was called Garden Center or Garden Valley. In 1881 the Texas and Pacific came through the area and missed Garden Center by only a few miles. The residents then moved to the rail line and began building the community, known as Rawranoke or Roanoke for Roanoke, Virginia. A nearby community, Elizabeth, brought its post office, which had operated from 1870 to 1881, and many of its residents to Roanoke to be near the railroad. By 1890 Roanoke was a thriving community with a population of 350, four churches, a school, a cotton gin, a dry-goods store, several groceries, a saloon, a hotel, and a livery stable. Physicians, a barber, and a shoemaker met the needs of residents in the surrounding area. Roanoke continued to grow, and by 1914 it had four churches, a weekly newspaper named the Roanoke Enterprise, the Continental State Bank, a grain elevator, and the Denton Oil and Gas Company. Roanoke was incorporated by 1940, when it had a population of 485 and thirty-two businesses, including two manufacturing firms. Several years later a new newspaper, the Community Standard, was published in the town. The population of Roanoke rose slowly, reaching 585 by the early 1960s, where it remained until the 1980s, when the town's proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth caused a dramatic increase to 1,616 by 1990. In 1980 Roanoke had two manufacturers producing and processing chemicals, but by 1990 it had eight manufacturers producing concrete, cabinets, fiberglass boats, and aircraft supplies. In the 1980s Roanoke had a community center, a library, a bank, three shopping centers, and eight churches. It was part of the Northwestern Independent School District and had one elementary school within the city limits. The downtown area was being renovated, and new commercial development was taking place. In 2000 the population reached 2,810.
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