Thursday, November 8, 2012

On Saturday, November 3, 2012, in the Botetourt County seat of Fincastle, VA, there was a big to-do that was over 200 years in the making.

The county and the federal government installed at the Botetourt County Courthouse a special NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) disk commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition. It is the second such disk in the state: the first is at Monticello.

Why install this in Fincastle? A very good question. Some believe that the Lewis and Clark expedition actually started in Fincastle, not St. Louis. However, the real reason belongs to the ladies: William Clark's wife, Julia aka Judith Hancock, was a Fincastle gal. He knew he before he and Meriwether Lewis set out on their historic trek across the fledgling nation, and named the Judith River in Montana after her. Clark's second wife also came from this area (but nothing was named after her as she came after the expedition).

The Lewis and Clark expedition, for those who may not know, was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. It was the first transcontinental venture and the men kept detailed journals of plants, wildlife, and people they met along the way. The journals are still studied today by enthusiasts of history. But knowledge was not the goal: economic and commercial growth was. They were seeking the most viable route to the Pacific.

Here are photos from the hour-long event, which was full of pomp and dignity as befits a ceremony of this import.

The Botetourt County Courthouse before the festivities begin.
VMI Cadets played bagpipes and bugle.
Folks stood around and chatted prior to the ceremonies. The man in the foreground is a county supervisor.
 The pastor and the judge take a look at paperwork prepared for the day.
The box hiding the NOAA disk.
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts took part in the ceremony.
The historic sign noting when the county courthouse burned in 1970. My husband's father helped put out the fire.
County supervisor and a Roanoke news reporter.
Heads bowed as the color guard enters the area.
The judge says a few words.
The Scouts lift the box for the big reveal.
The special NOAA disk. It has important geological information embedded in it.
Folks standing around looking at the disk as the ceremonies end.
It was a beautiful day and there were about 200 people there. Visitors to the Botetourt County Courthouse should be sure to check out the disk.

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