Botetourt County

Early travelers following the Great Road crossed the James River near the town of Buchanan in Botetourt County. The county seat, Fincastle, was one of the last outposts before the Western frontier serving as a supply station for settlers heading West. Lewis and Clark set off from Fincastle on their expedition.


Botetourt County Historical Society and Museum

Courthouse Square, 1 Main Street, Building 3, Fincastle, Virginia

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Fincastle was one of the first communities in the original area of Botetourt County, founded in 1772. The town is an outdoor museum of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American architecture. The Cumberland Gap Road (Fincastle Turnpike) was authorized to run between Fincastle and the Kentucky line in 1831. The museum building, located in Court House Square, was erected circa 1800. It serves as a repository for hundreds of artifacts that interpret the history of the county.


57 South Center Drive, Daleville, Virginia

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Col. William Preston (1729–1783) played a crucial role in surveying and developing western lands. He exerted great influence in the colonial affairs of his time and ran a large plantation here. He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and was a colonel in the militia during the American Revolutionary War. Preston settled his family at Greenfield in 1762, but moved his growing family farther west to a new plantation, called Smithfield, twelve years later. The surviving properties at Greenfield include rare examples of nineteenth-century domestic architecture associated with the Preston family and the era of slavery.

James River & Kanawha Canal and Wilson Warehouse

421 Lowe Street, Buchanan, Virginia

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The picturesque town of Buchanan, founded in 1811, is located where the Great Road crossed the James River. The “Main Road to the Western Country” in Buchanan’s heyday coincided with the completion of the James River and Kanawha Canal into the Valley of Virginia in 1851, allowing produce from the valley direct access to eastern Virginia markets without an arduous trip by turnpike over the Blue Ridge. The Wilson Warehouse was built in 1839 as a combined store, warehouse, and residence. It was restored as the town’s “community house” in 1938.