by Aila Boyd
Lewis and Clark Portrait Signs will soon appear at three Botetourt County locations following the recent approval for signage from the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.
The signage will more easily help residents of and visitors to the county know where local sites associated with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are located.
The criteria for receiving approval for the signage was established by a committee from Virginia’s Great Valley Lewis and Clark Eastern Legacy Trail and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and Conservation and Recreation.
“We want to preserve this valuable history so that it’s available to citizens of Botetourt County and Virginia,” Kip Burton, co-chair of the Botetourt County Lewis and Clark Trail Committee, said.
Santillane, the Botetourt County Courthouse, and the Botetourt County History Museum, all located in Fincastle, were approved.
Botetourt County was one of four localities throughout the Commonwealth recently approved to post the signage. The other localities include the Robert Preston House in Bristol, Ingles Ferry in Pulaski County, and The Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center in Charlottesville.
Additional announcements about Lewis and Clark Portrait Sign applications will be made in the near future.
Peggy Crosson, chair of Virginia’s Great Valley Lewis and Clark Eastern Legacy Trail, explained that sites that have been denied signage in the past are allowed to submit new applications. She noted that the majority of applications are denied because they lack substantive documentation that prove a link to Lewis and Clark.
During the first batch, 10 applications were submitted. Six of the applications were approved.
Danny Kyle is busy at work on an application for Greenfield. If approved, the Greenfield site would bring the total number of locations in the county that have Lewis and Clark signage to four.
He explained that the application process is fairly exhaustive and takes months to complete.
Crosson also noted that money is being sought to install a kiosk in Botetourt County that visitors will be able to go to that will tell them where all of the Lewis and Clark sites are. A similar kiosk has already been installed in Abingdon.
In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly designated Virginia part of the Lewis and Clark Eastern Legacy Trail. Kip noted that 19th District Delegate Terry Austin was instrumental in achieving the designation.
According to a brochure produced by Historic Fincastle Inc., Santillane, located at 99 Housman Street, was built in 1820 in the Greek Revival style following a fire that destroyed the original house from 1795. Judith Hancock grew up in the original house. She married Gen. William Clark, who served as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1803 to 1806.
It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Botetourt County Courthouse, located at 1 W. Main Street, has been rebuilt three different times. The first courthouse was a log structure. It was followed by a structure which was built in 1818. The third iteration of the courthouse was built in 1845 and was partially destroyed by fire in 1970. The current structure was rebuilt and dedicated in 1975.
The Botetourt County History Museum, located at 3 W Main Street, was built in 1800.
In 2012, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lewis and Clark Disk was installed at the Botetourt County Courthouse. It was the second disk of its kind installed in Virginia. The first disk was placed at Monticello.