Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke and a Family Connection

I have read about Black Dog Salvage located in Roanoke countless times over the years and always thought that it would be a place that I would enjoy visiting.  This company rescues and then sells architectural treasures from historic homes and businesses that are being demolished. 

I didn’t realize until this past spring that wanting to visit Black Dog Salvage would lead to a family connection.

My grandmother didn’t talk much about her side of the family.  The only two things that I remember her telling me about her grandfather was that she liked to go visit him because he would give her money and that he was a stonemason. I once jotted a note to myself that his house was just before a bridge and beside a laundry mat.  I’m not familiar with Roanoke, so this didn’t mean a lot to me, but I kept that slip of paper, just in case.  I learned this spring that his house is still standing and that Black Dog Salvage is now located in the old laundry mat.

Yesterday Mama and I visited Black Dog Salvage and I saw my great-great grandfather’s house for the first time.

Just like Granny said, it was just before a bridge.

This post from the Black Dog Salvage’s blog has information about the house.  It was built my Michael Grosso (my great-great grandfather) and Joe Grosso (his son) in 1911 using surplus stone from their projects around Roanoke.  I wish that my dad and grandmother were still alive so that I could ask questions about these relatives about which I know so little.

Mama and I drove around a few of the neighborhoods near this home and saw quite a few stone walls.  We wonder if Michael Grosso built them.

The house is empty and was locked but it didn’t stop me from pressing my camera against the window to capture a few photos.  Isn’t this mantel unique?

Can you imagine the skill it took to do this kind of stone carving? 

Look carefully at the turret on the post office below.  Do you see the gargoyles?
Post office

The guys at Black Dog unearthed a gargoyle that was similar to those on the old post office in the backyard of the house and it’s now in their shop as part of a water display.

I copied the picture below from the Black Dog blog.  It fascinates me because they are family about which I know very little.  According to my aunt, the lady second to the left is my grandmother’s Aunt Lizzie Driscoll with her family.  They lived in a house across the street that is now gone.  Can you imagine having fourteen children??  The youngest girl in the photo is still alive.  She became a nun and is now being cared for by her order in Nazareth, KY.

Just for fun, I put two ladies from the photo above along with my grandmother and me on one document. Can you see the resemblance?

I’ll be back tomorrow to share with you some of the architectural treasures found at Black Dog Salvage.


  1. What a neat story! I love family histories. I can see a resemblance between you all!

  2. You DO favor!!!

    I love this post! Oh, and the wall color in that first picture….so popular NOW!!!! Gorgeous home!

  3. Wow! What a great story! Can’t help but to wonder what the house looked like in its glory days. I bet you find out a whole lot more on this part of your family. I am also looking forward to see what kind of treasures the Black Dog has today.

  4. I’ve lived here 5 years and still haven’t been in there. You’ve certainly piqued my interest. What a great family story. I think I’ve seen that house before.

  5. What a fascinating post! I love family history. So cool! That house is amazing!! The mantle is gorgeous!

    My great, great, great uncle built a historic home in Natchez and we toured it once. It was SO COOL!

  6. Hi Paula – I just found your post via Woven Home. So glad you were able to see the house! Next time you’re in town, please let us know and we’d be happy to let you in. Reading your post helped put some pieces together. Sister Angie brought us the newspaper clippings and photos a few years ago and we had assumed she had grown up in the house. Do you know who is pictured on the far left? Someone recently sent us a note letting us know the large family photo was the Driscoll family but we weren’t sure of the specifics. Hope you can make it back to Roanoke again soon!
    Take care,

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