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The village that is Fincastle today will continue to be a distinctive and culturally significant community that balances an abiding respect for its history with the needs of 21st century Botetourt County. In the midst of new residential development, Historic Fincastle, Inc., will participate in the development and success of programs to preserve and conserve the spirit of Fincastle, its historic streets and buildings, and its natural setting in a vibrant local economy. Fincastle will remain the center of an eclectic, working community that embraces new people and new ideas–a pleasing, educational place that makes visitors glad they came and anxious to return to an old town with a progressive spirit.
from the INTRODUCTION written by Paxton Davis of “Around Town, A Pictorial Review of Old Fincastle, Virginia”
“Fincastle is an old town, often said to be Virginia’s oldest established community west of the Blue Ridge, part of its visual appeal lies in the air of ancient settlement. Seated more or less midway between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains, it occupies a pastoral bowl, ringed by the blue peaks of either range, that lends it the look of a town perfectly placed. Within the bowl the central part of town, surrounding the Botetourt County Court House, bestrides a sort of natural cone from which the residential section gradually descends in every direction. The effect is enhanced by the white spires of the court house and the town’s several church, of which three are striking example of the classical and Gothic revivals of the nineteenth-century. Numerous handsome houses from that century and a few from Fincastle’s earliest years in the eighteenth-century, line the streets, most of which are topped over with the bowering trees. Sturdy red brick and white frame mingle to form a happy pictorial harmony. … One sees also a number of buildings that are not only gone but virtually forgotten. Bolton’s chair factory and tomato cannery, Ammens Mill, the Castle Theater in which generations of Fincastle residents watched movies- all, and others, are memories only to older townspeople. … All communities change across time, of course, and in the twentieth-century so many American towns and cities have changed so dramatically few can remember what they were one like. Not Fincastle, Circumstance, and lately the termination of many of its most avid residents, have preserved a great deal of its appearance at its zenith.“
About The Dorothy Simmons Kessler Collection
Over the course of her lifetime Dottie Kessler researched and collected a large volume of information about Fincastle history and culture. When her family carried out her request that her historic archives be given to Historic Fincastle, Inc. it was with the understanding that HFI preserve, archive, display and distribute her notes, writings and photographs of the town and county in a manner that honors her love for her town and county. The members of the Archives Committee were determined to be good stewards of this treasure trove of Fincastle information.
The HFI Archives Committee has worked tirelessly scanning, transcribing and uploading numerous documents and images from Fincastle’s past. The searchable collection is now fully accessible online through PastPerfect, a web-based cataloging system used by history museums. Below is an image of the main page. You may access the collection/database by visiting hisfin.pastperfectonline.com. Clicking on this link or the image below will open a new browser window.