The Journal Gazette
Sunday, June 23, 2019 1:00 am

Our towns

Downtown shopping made easy

TERRI RICHARDSON | The Journal Gazette

Roger Couch hands a visitor a small flyer.

The flyer lists all the upcoming events for the year in Roanoke. It's one of the things Couch likes best about the small community in northern Huntington County.

That and the fact Roanoke is a “nice, friendly community,” says Couch, who owns Grandma Sue's Pies and More with his wife, Susan.

The couple moved to Roanoke from Huntington in 2004 and Susan, or Grandma Sue, eventually opened the store to sell her pies. So far, she has made more than 38,000 of them.

The shop is along a strip of downtown businesses and boutique shops.

The proximity of many of the shops makes it easy to walk to them, says Kelly Moses of Fort Wayne, who was in Roanoke in early May, shopping with her sisters-in-law Rachael Veenstra of Fort Wayne and Kelbi Veenstra of Nappanee.

“It's a cute little small town,” Kelbi Veenstra says.

Roanoke oozes charm, making it a great destination spot or place to live because of its location between Fort Wayne and Huntington.

The town was a prosperous commercial center in the mid-19th century, being a location for a lock as part of the Wabash & Erie Canal. However, things started to decline many years later until the town conducted a revitalization of its historic downtown in the 1990s.

Now the town boasts art galleries, antique shops, clothing stores, cafés, a winery and upscale restaurants. It also has a 25-acre park that becomes the center of many of the town's events, including its annual Fourth of July activities.

About Roanoke

Population: 1,694 (2018 census estimate)

County: Huntington

Founded: 1848

• The town was the hunting and fishing grounds of the Miami Indians.

• Became a top shipping and trading location as part of the Wabash & Erie Canal in the mid-19th century.

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