Photos from the 2014 HFI Members and Friends Open House at Santillane, December 6, 2014

PicMonkey Collage2 PicMonkey Collagesantillane1santillane2


Photos courtesy of Beth Pappas
(Click on any group of photos for an enlarged view.)

Historic Fincastle, Inc Recognizes Scott Critzer for his tireless work on the Fincastle Sidewalk Project

Critzer HFI

The Board of Directors of Historic Fincastle, Inc (HFI) voted to recognize Scott Critzer for his tireless work on the Fincastle Sidewalk Grant project.  HFI presented Critzer with a plaque noting his leadership and perseverance on the sidewalk project at its annual Membership Open House held at Santillane.  Critzer spent countless hours on the sidewalk project starting in 2007 and continuing through 2014 when the project was completed.  The 2007 Fincastle Town Council, under his leadership, started looking at renovating the town’s aging sidewalks. Mayor Critzer led the council and citizens through a series of community meetings to gauge public interest in the project.  The town council applied for grant funding with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for renovation to its sidewalks through a program called TEA, or Transportation Enhancement Act, which offered an 80 percent matching grant, and the remaining 20 percent being the responsibility of the Town of Fincastle.  In the spring of 2008, VDOT notified the Town that it would be eligible for funding for the project in the neighborhood of $1 million.

Mayor Critzer continued to spend hours working on  committees with the engineering firm to design and plan the sidewalk paths, meet with concerned citizens, find solutions for infrastructure issues, identify impacts on the homeowners, explore and make materials choices and control overall costs of the project. A construction contract was awarded to Virginia Carolina Paving in December of 2013.  An unforeseen obstacle occurred in January of 2014, when VDOT noticed that the street configuration of this historic town would not meet current Federal traffic lane and parking area width requirements.  Thus Critzer and many other citizens spent time considering the impact of one-way streets on the town.

Scott Critzer worked from 2007 to 2014, seven years, to see this project come to fruition.  HFI and its members recognize him for his dedication to this project and the town of Fincastle.  The sidewalks have enhanced the town and its historic character for many years to come.

Christmas lights are hung with care

Christmas lights are hung with care by “The Society to Keep Fincastle Lit”

20131204_182455_LLS“The Society to Keep Fincastle Lit” has once again worked magic with the help of Lumos and volunteers. On Sunday and Monday, Nov. 17 and 18 volunteers tested bubs and festooned the streets of Fincastle with lights and festive pole decorations.

The result of these efforts is the Town of Fincastle will be aglow with strands of red, yellow, blue, green and orange light bulbs and lighted wreaths, snowflakes and trees. The little town lights up after Thanksgiving through New Years. It is decorated with 60 strands of lights and the average strand has 30 bulbs. That makes a grand total of 1,800 working bulbs not counting what goes into the decorative wreaths, snowflakes and trees.

One of the toughest jobs is carrying the decorations down from where they are housed in the off season in the old jail. Lights, cumbersome wreaths and very heavy metal snowflakes and Christmas trees had to be carried down three flights of narrow metal steps in the old jail building.

20131204_182648The color configuration is the same through out the town. the sequence is RYBGO (red, yellow, blue, green orange) bulbs that go in the strands. The RYBGO lights are the size of a standard household light bulb; the other bulbs vary in style from the size of 25 watt bulbs, chandelier bulbs and night light bulbs.

Each of these fixtures must be plugged in and burned out bulbs must be replaced with a bulb of the proper size and color. The 60 strands of wires that hold the light sockets are stored in white pillow cases that are marked with the location where that strand is to be hung. The strands are of various lengths, so exact location is key.

Volunteers file all over the town with the RYBGO bulbs and start screwing the bulbs in the sockets of each strand making sure they are in red, yellow, blue, green, orange order.

20131204_183030Bucket trucks are an important in “Keeping Fincastle Lit.” Again this year, Lumos donated the use of two bucket trucks and four employees for a day. Those employees met up with citizens on Monday, November 18 and actually hung the RYBGO strands and light fixtures in one day due to the good weather conditions.

Keeping Fincastle Lit can only continue with financial contributions from the public. The organization holds no fundraisers. Please consider being a part of keeping this holiday tradition alive. Contributions may be mailed to: Keep Fincastle Lit, P. O. Box 250, Fincastle, VA 24090.

Thanks to Terry Tucker and Dave Tickner for contributing light facts to the story! Nov. 2013

Ron Lucas Award

Whereas the Board of Directors of Historic Fincastle, Inc desires to recognize members who have volunteered their time and resources to help our organization fulfill its mission to support the preservation of the historical, physical, cultural, and natural resources of Fincastle, Virginia, and its surroundings.

Whereas Ron Lucas was a resident and community leader of the Town of Fincastle since 2001 and with Valerie lovingly restored his family home, Prospect Hill, to reflect its true grandeur and historical past.
Whereas Ron’s achievements as a family man, husband, father, grandfather, dog owner, and historian were a reflection of a kind, creative, and generous spirit embodied in a man who lived large, laughed roaringly, and enjoyed the finer things in life.

Whereas Ron continually contributed time, talent and business expertise towards Historic Fincastle, Inc serving as President leading the Board of Directors and association members with enthusiasm and determination through deeds and efforts too numerous to count. Ron fiercely protected the integrity of Historic Fincastle, Inc. and on occasion “went to battle” on its behalf and showed his unwavering dedication during regular office visits entering the room with “and what’s the mighty town of Fincastle up to today?”

Whereas Ron championed the preservation of Fincastle’s historic buildings, many of which bear his personal renovation and restoration talents including Prospect Hill, Solitude, and Academy Hill. Ron’s attention to detail and appreciation for craftsmanship are evident in these beautiful homes.
Whereas Ron’s vision helped all remember that the town had to be protected and cherished to keep the small, untouched community preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved that the members of Historic Fincastle, Inc. would like to recognize Mr. Ron Lucas for his service to this organization and that the Board of Directors of Historic Fincastle, Inc. does hereby present this Proclamation of Appreciation to his wife, Mrs. Valerie Lucas, in honor of Ron for his years of dedication to Historic Fincastle, Inc., the Town of Fincastle, Virginia, its citizens, and for making Fincastle a better community.

Be it Further Resolved that a copy of this proclamation will be kept with 2013 HFI minutes as a permanent testament to Mr. Lucas’ dedication to Fincastle.

This the 07 day of December, 2013

Carol S. Brenner, Co-President
Marni Jones, Co-President

James Matten Early Cabin Roof Replacement Project

Cabin-pic-1James Matten Early Cabin Roof Replacement Project – June 2011

Volunteers for Historic Fincastle, Inc. worked long hours during June to replace the cedar shake roof on the historic James Matten Early Cabin.  The cabin was built in the 1790’s and in 1982 HFI received a $25,000 grant from the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission to restore the cabin.     It was completed in 1987 with an additional $53,000 contributed by HFI.  To continue to maintain this historic structure, it was vital that the cedar shake roof be replaced. The shingles on the roof had deteriorated over the decades, allowing rain and moisture to cause damage to the historic building

This roof replacement project will cost near $10,000 for shakes, supplies, and skilled labor.  “Raise the Roof”, an art sale and social event, was held last year by HFI as  a fundraiser for the roof project.  The event’s art sales, auctions, and purchase of cedar shakes, as well as generous donations from individuals and corporations, raised the majority of the funds needed.  HFI was able to complete the project due to the large number of volunteer hours from a small group of dedicated volunteers.

HFI volunteers worked weekends to remove the old shingles from the roof, which proved more difficult than expected.  In addition to the volunteer work, professional roofing skills were provided by Jason Lucas and Andrew Brenner to install the new shakes, including roofing felt and underlayment.

Cabin-pic-2The roof replacement committee led by Kip Burton gives heart-felt thanks to the following volunteers: Carol and Alan Brenner, Brian and Marni Jones, Lyn Burton, Kirk Weiner, Ed McCurdy, Ben Showalter, and Scott VanCleef.  In addition, food and beverage were provided by Wendy Jones, scaffoldings and tools from Lucas Construction and Main Street Home Improvement, and a helpful hand to unload shingles from an unknown man at the county dump.  Thanks also to those visitors who stopped by to satisfy their curiosity and provide moral support.

The James Matten Early Cabin is located at the corner of Murray and Water Streets.  Tours of the building and town are available from HFI.  The organization is grateful to all who for this project and other historic preservation projects provide time, energy, and vision to preserve for the future.

Click the link to download the article: Article and thank you for Roof Replacement June 2011


Historic Fincastle getting QR Codes for town visitors

Eric Park, Marni Jones, Alex Kosnett, Chris Piott,and Greg LeMieux at HFI office

Eric Park, Marni Jones, Alex Kosnett, Chris Piott,and Greg LeMieux at HFI office

Fincastle Herald, February 22, 2012:
Historic Fincastle getting QR Codes for town visitors

Historic Fincastle, Inc. (HFI) and a group of Virginia Tech (VT) students are working on a joint project making new technology available to town visitors through an Urban Planning Seminar course. Quick Response (QR) Codes will be developed by the students along with an expanded web site to give visitors immediate access to a tour map with suggested routes. Also, historical information about Fincastle and the historic buildings in town will be accessible.

The student group of four is composed of; Alex Kosnett from Dunn Loring, VA a double major in Environmental Policy & Planning and Biochemistry; Chris Piott from Lynchburg, VA majoring in Environmental Policy & Planning; Eric Park from Richmond, VA majoring in Public & Urban Affairs; and Greg LeMieux from Clinton, IN majoring in Public & Urban Affairs and Geography. These students are supervised by Dr. Diane Zahm in this seminar course. Student groups have the freedom to design a capstone project during their final year at VT. Their choices are based on their interests and identified needs in urban planning. The students design the project, develop benchmark deadlines, and assign tasks and duties among the group.

Plans for the project include a Google map of the Town of Fincastle with markers for areas of interest. Visitors to town could access the information via the internet or by use of smart phone technology by scanning a QR Code. The codes will be strategically located in town for convenience to visitors. An audio component is also being explored for buildings built prior to 1800. HFI officers, Carol Brenner and Marni Jones, have met with the students and are very excited about their energy and technology knowledge. More information about this project will be available in the next few weeks.

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