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Eye on the Past banner and photo of Nelson Harris

Eye on the Past highlights the history and heritage of the people, places, events and institutions within the broadcast region of Blue Ridge PBS.

Using archival photographs, each episode focuses on the well-known to the often forgotten elements of the past that shaped the life and culture of Southwest Virginia.”

Powhatan Arrow

Nelson Harris brings us the fascinating, yet short, history of Norfolk and Western’s Powhatan Arrow.

Christiansburg Industrial Institute

On this edition of “Eye on the Past” Nelson Harris takes us to Montgomery County to learn about a school founded to educate former slaves.

Prohibition in the Roanoke Valley

On this edition of “Eye on the Past” Nelson Harris takes us back to 1916 and the start of prohibition in Roanoke.

Virginia Military Institute

On this edition of “Eye on the Past” Nelson Harris takes us back in time to the very beginning of one of Virginia’s most important military academies, Virginia Military Institute.

Roanoke City Market

On this edition of “Eye on the Past” Nelson Harris takes us back to 1882 and the very early days of the Roanoke City Market.

Mabry Mill

When young Ed Mabry built his grist mill in 1908, little did he know that it would become one of the most popular tourist attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nelson Harris has the backstory on this episode of Eye on the Past.

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

Created from farmland, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Airport has had a long and colorful history.

Roanoke Life Saving and First Aid Crew

In 1928, Julian Stanley Wise started the very first all-volunteer first aid crew due, in part, to a traumatic incident he witnessed at the age of nine. Today, thousands of rescue squads exist throughout the United States.

Burrell Hospital

The unnecessary death of a black doctor in 1915 leads to the founding of Roanoke’s first African-American hospital.

Virginia Tech

A look at how a small Methodist academy for boys would eventually become the largest land grant university in Virginia.