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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mill Mountain Star


Last weekend I drove up to the top of Mill Mountain to see The Star up close and pesonal and to take in the view on the night of the-reallhy-big-moon. . My sister, Marsha, remembers going up there when we were children because the train ride up scared her to death.  I do not remember that ride. My older brother, Steve, does not remember a train ride, but remembers going up to the star several times. He assures me I did, too.  But their memories are not mine. I do not recall going to Mill Mountain at all. If I had those memories, my visit last weekend would have stemmed from wanting to see how the top of Mill Mountain had changed or stayed the same.  With no memories leading me up the mountain, I went to see what I could see...fresh and for the first time. The night was spectacular all on its own and made a wonderful backdrop. I was not disappointed.

A lot of you reading this blog know Mill Mountain Star eiher from current visits or from childhood memories. Whether you know The Star or are just learning about it, I offer itshistory, which is taken from Wikipedia.  The photo was taken by me.

The Roanoke Star, also known as the Mill Mountain Star, is the world's largest freestanding illuminated man-made star, constructed in 1949 at the top of Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia.   It was the largest star ever assembled until the El Paso Star was completed I El Paso, Texas.  However, the Mill Mountain Star still holds the claim to world's largest illuminated man-made free-standing star, as the El Paso Star lies flat on the ground. After construction of the star, Roanoke was nicknamed "Star City of the South". It's visible for 60 miles from the air and it sits 1,045 feet above the city of Roanoke
Initially, the star was illuminated in all-white. Later, the star's color would change from white to red to indicate a traffic fatality on that day. As part of the bicentennial celebration in 1976, the design was changed to an outer single star of red encompassing inner double-stars of white and blue. Generally all the colors have been lit at once, but occasionally the colors have been lit in a repeating sequence: each color shows exclusively for a second or two, or in succession. To commemorate a tragic event, the red outer star has been used alone, in a manner akin to a lowered flag. Such commemorations have been made for national and local events. After the September 11, 2001, the star was kept in a red, white, and blue configuration for nearly six years, until April 2007.
On August 12, 2006, the star was turned off for eight days for the city to perform significant electrical upgrades. Outdated junction boxes, transformers, wiring, and conduits were replaced. Many of these devices are from the star's original 1949 construction.
On April 17, 2007, the star had to be turned off because one of the power lines had been heavily damaged by a tree. When the star was relit on April 22, 2007, officials changed the color configuration to all-white "as a symbol of hope" after the Virginia Tech massacre.  Red, white and blue colors were restored May 24, 2007  and remained that way until returning to all white on September 12, 2011.

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