Israel Christian House

Israel Christian House

Roll over links above for more options!

Our Vision

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.

HFI Scholarships 2022

In 1772 Israel Christian a landowner and merchant of Botetourt County donated 45 acres of land to establish the town of Fincastle that would eventually become the county seat of Fincastle.  The land was divided into ½ acre lots for development with land reserved for the courthouse, the jail, and a church (originally the Church of England that became The Presbyterian Church of Fincastle).

In 1968 Historic Fincastle, Inc, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting and preserving the historic town of Fincastle was established.  In 1999 the HFI Scholarship program was established to help a graduating student from James River High School and Lord Botetourt High School who plan on continuing his/her education in the state of Virginia. The first Elizabeth and Israel Christian Scholarship was awarded. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded yearly based on an essay on a given historical research topic. The topic for 2022 was “This year marks the 250th anniversary of the town of Fincastle.  Many changes have occurred in the appearance of the town and lives of the resident just within the 20th century.”  The students were provided with a list of people, or they could select someone who grew up in Fincastle in the 40’s and 50’s and the essay was to describe what he/she learned about the town and life in earlier generations.  The winner from James River High School for the Elizabeth and Christian 2022 Scholarship is Haleigh Horan. She is the daughter of Christopher and Dana Horan of Fincastle and plans to attend Virginia Tech to study Biochemistry.  The winner from Lord Botetourt High School for this scholarship is Olivia Turner, the daughter of Lori and Jason Turner of Daleville who plans to attend Virginia Tech to study Public Relations.

In 2016, the first Pat Simmons and Sally Eads Volunteer Scholarship was awarded.  This $500 scholarship is based on the number of hours of volunteering to give back to the community and an essay explaining how this has impacted the student’s life. Isabella Erber from James River High School is awarded the Pat Simmons and Sally Eads 2022 Scholarship. She is the daughter of Julia Clark and Al Erber and plans to attend The College of William and Mary or Christopher Newport University to study Biology. The Pat Simmons and Sally Eads 2022 Scholarship was also awarded to Caroline Edmondson from Lord Botetourt High School. Caroline is the daughter of Erin Edmondson and Adam Edmondson of Roanoke and plans to attend The University of Lynchburg to study Biomedical Science. Historic Fincastle, Inc would like to thank all the students who sent in an application and would like to thank the Susan Critzer and the scholarship committee who read the applications and made the decisions about the winners.  Congratulations to all.

Haleigh Horan, JRHS, Elizabeth and Israel Christian 2022 Scholarship Recipient
Olivia Turner, LBHS, Elizabeth and Israel Christian 2022 Scholarship Recipient
Isabella Erber, JRHS, Pat Simmons and Sally Eads Scholarship Recipient
Caroline Edmondson, LBHS, Pat Simmons and Sally Eads Scholarship Recipient


250 years of Fincastle ~ 1772 – 2022

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  Clicking on this link  or the image below will open a new browser window.