History of Botetourt

Botetourt County was created by an act of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1769. It is named after popular governor Lord Botetourt. 

When it was first established, the county extended from its gateway at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley to the Mississippi River, and covered all or parts of seven present-day states.

Early travelers (mostly Scots-Irish, and then Germans), following the Great Road settled in the fertile valleys and hills. Descendants of many of these early families still live in the county.

The county seat of Fincastle was established in 1772 along a crossroad of the Great Road. The town of Pattonsburg (near present-day Buchanan) was established in 1788 along the James River.

Fincastle was incorporated in 1772 and has been the county seat for Botetourt County since that time. It is currently a town of 350 people and is a virtual museum of American architecture from the late 1770s through the 21st Century.

Both the county courthouse and museum are filled with records of families who migrated through the Shenandoah Valley on their way south and west.

William Clark (Lewis and Clark) married local resident, Judith Hancock, after the great expedition. The center of town, Courthouse Square, contains the famous courthouse reportedly designed by Thomas Jefferson. It is one of 100 contributing buildings to the Historic District that has both state and national designation.

Established by Col. John Buchanan in 1811, the Town of Buchanan retains a blend of historic structures spanning almost two centuries. Standing as a testimony to successive generations, downtown's historic buildings tell a story of each building, its occupants and their contributions to our community's history and culture.

Serving the community for almost two hundred years, the future success of Buchanan's downtown is firmly rooted in its past. We invite you to explore elements of Buchanan's Canal Era, the site of Hunter's Civil War Raid, witness the height of the Victorian era's exuberance, as well as the arrival of the railroad and the 20th century's shift from horse and buggy to the model-T Ford and beyond.

Easy to find, Buchanan is only hidden from time. Due to its unique position between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, Buchanan, Virginia is known as the "Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley," to those traveling north, and "Gateway to the Southwest," to those traveling south.

Conveniently located, Buchanan may be reached from either Interstate - 81 or the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Roanoke Valley Spotlight