What Is Historic Preservation?
Historic preservation is the opportunity to ask ourselves, "What are the things in our history that we should save for the future?" It allows us to look at history differently, to ask questions of the past, and learn new things about our collective history and ourselves. It's a way to communicate our understanding of history to future generations. Preserving historical structures and archaeological sites can also enhance a community's character and identity. Historic Preservation is done through:
- Designating historic sites for protection. This includes federal, state, and privately owned properties.
In Botetourt County, there are great efforts by various citizen groups and organizations to preserve local history, structures, and stories.
- Botetourt's Historical Properties
- Preservation Law
- How to Research Your Property
- What Are The Incentives
- Who Can Help
Historic Districts and Properties
Established in 1770, Botetourt County is rich with history, heritage, and locations. Botetourt is proud to have multiple historic properties, archaeological sites, and historic districts. The Town of Fincastle was incorporated in 1772 and is still the county seat and home to many historical structures, some dating back to the 1770's. The Town of Buchanan is another historic district that served as a major crossroads with its historical Swinging Bridge and canal and lock system used for navigating the James River. Learn more about the historic properties and districts in Botetourt by clicking on the links below:
What the Law Says
In 1966, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act. This act established permanent institutions and created a clearly defined process for historic preservation in the United States. Historic structures that would be affected by federal projects - to by work that was federally funded - now had to be documented to standards issued by the Department of the Interior. The law also required states to take on more responsibility for historic structures and have its own Historic Preservation Office. With the passage of the act, preservation in the United States became more formalized and professionalized.
Want to learn more about the laws surrounding historic preservation? Here are sites that help:
Where to Start Your Research
Searching the history of your home can be a quick project or take many days and and trips to various research and historical repositories. Research into your home and its history gives you a picture of how your property was used and how it developed over the years. The history may only satisfy your curiosity, but you may also learn why some things were built the way they were and, potentially, serve to help you in updating or remodeling your home.
To get started in your research, here are a list of resources that may help:
- How to Research Your Historic Virginia Property - A publication of the VA Department of Historic Resources
- Botetourt County Libraries - Local History and Genealogy collections may have answers to your property's lineage.
- Botetourt County Geographical Information System (GIS) - Often land cards and deed records can be accessed through the GIS website.
- Historical Document Collection: 1770's to Present - Historic Fincastle Inc. provides a digital collection of articles that may have information about your property.
- Botetourt County Historical Society & Museum Library Collection - Additional library collections at the Botetourt County Historical Society & Museum can offer information on families and their properties.
- Roanoke Public Libraries, Virginia Room - Located at the Main Library in Downtown Roanoke, the VA Room collects material on the Roanoke Valley and may have additional material about properties and previous ownership.
Incentives for Historic Preservation
For decades, the government has provided tax incentives for property owners, in the use, rehabilitation, and re-use of historic buildings and structures. Historic Preservation incentives increase the potential for historic properties to be used and rehabilitated, contributing to the local community, culture, and character. A variety of incentives are offered through state and federal incentive programs.
Historic Preservation Easements for Private Ownership
Federal Tax Incentive Information
State Tax Incentive Information
Grant Opportunity Information
Who Can Help With Your Historic Property?
Historic Preservationists are professionals who study, restore or rebuild objects of historical significance. Depending on the area of specialization, a historical preservationist can be archaeologists, archivists, historic carpenters and architects, or public historians. All of them work to protect our culturally important buildings, structures, and landscapes. Although Historic Preservationists are professionals and there is a growing interest in historic preservation as a hobby. Whether you need a professional or want to do research on your own, here are resources to help you:
Property Owner Information
- Preservation Briefs for Historic Building OwnersNational Park Service
- Historic Trades DirectoryDepartment of Historic Resources
- A Citizen's Guide to Section 106 Review (brochure) Advisory Council on Historic Preservation