Monday, December 17, 2012

What's on Your Mind? A few popular Malcolm atlases still around

Kevin Kittredge
is The Roanoke Times' What's on Your Mind columnist. whatsonyourmind


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Q: Do you know where I can find a copy of Malcolm's 2005 Atlas of Roanoke County? Are they being sold anywhere? I love these atlases! I used to have three copies, but one went astray, so now I have only two, which are getting worn out. I'd really like to purchase one somewhere.

Linda Goodrich

A: Obviously, Linda, you and I are the only two people left in the world who still navigate with hand-held maps instead of GPS. The Malcolm Atlas was first published in 1993. Derived from the U.S. Geological Survey, the more than 60-page atlas shows not only streets in Roanoke, Salem, Vinton and Roanoke County, but elevations, boundary lines, neighborhood names and power line routes as well. It also pinpoints schools, libraries, colleges, fire stations and churches.

The driving force behind the atlases was Mary Linda Malcolm Smiley, who died in 2006. A childhood polio survivor, in her 84 years "little got past her and less got her down," as Joe Kennedy wrote in a Roanoke Times column about her shortly after her death. At the time, her children recalled their mother as a diligent note taker who tried to work part-time jobs in addition to her work at the family's engineering, map and blue print business. Apparently a restless spirit, Smiley learned to play a different musical instrument every few years. She also loved to people-watch, and late in life insisted on taking a ride to "someplace where the action is," they said. Smiley worked on the 2005 revision of her atlas for five years, adding 480 streets and the valley's first greenways. Mike Murray of Hollins worked on the 2005 atlas as well. The Malcolm atlas still can be found at branch libraries in Bent Mountain, Hollins, South County, Mount Pleasant and Vinton, and no doubt other places as well. Chip Givens at Givens Books in Salem has one. He had two, but someone bought one of them a couple of weeks ago, he said. The cover price of the 2005 atlas was $17, but Chip's only asking five. "It's in pretty good shape," he added.

Sounds like a deal.

Q: I have been battling diverticulitis for years. This is a horribly painful condition when one has a flare-up, and the older you are, the more likely you are to have the condition. I wonder if there is a support group for people with this condition. If there is not one, and there is enough response from people, I would be willing to host one.

Duane Howard

A: My mother had that. I guess that means I'll get it, too. As for support groups, there is an online group at To find it, Google " and diverticulitis." If anyone wants to take Duane up on his offer to start a local support group, you may contact him at

Have a question? An answer? Call Kevin Kittredge at 777-6476 or send an email to Don't forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.

Look for Kevin Kittredge's column on Mondays.

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