Fincastle, VA– On Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 3:00 pm on the front lawn of the Botetourt County Courthouse in Fincastle, Virginia, citizens and distinguished guests will join together to honor the strong ties that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark have to Botetourt County. The focus of the event will be the dedication of a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Lewis & Clark Disk, especially crafted to commemorate the occasion. The disk will be a permanent reminder of the great historic legacy the two explorers have with the county and is only the second NOAA commemorative disk to be installed in the Commonwealth of Virginia – the first being at Monticello. Its scientific use is to conduct a National Geodetic Survey (NGS) over an eight hour scan that collects data such as latitude, longitude, and elevation of the Earth’s surface, then feeds this information to the Online Positioning User Service (OPUS). Positional information has many scientific and engineering applications such as establishing property boundaries, constructing buildings and bridges, and ensuring the safe passage of ships.
The Botetourt gathering in November 2012 fittingly replicates a similar event in the courthouse square on January 8, 1807, when William Clark returned to Fincastle after the great Expedition. On that date, he was given a welcome address by the citizens and the very first sentence demonstrated his close connection to the community and surrounding area. ” Sentiments of esteem and gratitude induce us to offer you our sincere congratulations upon your safe return to the bosom of your country.” This relationship was thought to have begun through the friendship established by Lewis & Clark with their former Army buddy, Billy Preston of Greenfield Plantation. Later, Clark married Judith Hancock of Fincastle, and after her death, Judith’s first cousin, Harriet Kennerly Radford, also of Fincastle. These prominent connections to Botetourt County are just a few of many that the NOAA commemorative disk installation pays tribute to.
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The NOAA disk was made possible through a matching gift offer from the Lewis & Clark Trust, Inc. and a coalition of government and historical groups who paid the purchase price balance. Following a ceremony that includes speakers who are nationally known Lewis & Clark historians, the disk will be unveiled for the public to view. This will be followed by a public reception and Lewis & Clark exhibit at the Botetourt Museum located behind the courthouse.
Representatives from the National Park Service, the Lewis and Clark Trust, Inc., the Southern Shenandoah Valley Branch of Preservation Virginia and national and locally elected officials will be on hand to help celebrate the historic occasion in the Shenandoah Valley region. Master of Ceremonies will be the Honorable Judge Malfourd (Bo) Trumbo. The VMI Color Guard and Pipe Band will participate along with local Boy and Girl Scout Troops and other community groups. Headliners will be speakers Peyton C. (Bud) Clark, and Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs.
Bud Clark lives in Brighton, MI and is the 3rd Great Grandson of General William Clark. He spent his professional career with Ford Motor Company working in the US and foreign operations for Ford. In 2001 Bud and his brother were invited to the White House to receive the long overdue promotion for William Clark to the Rank of Captain. As a member of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, MO, Bud portrayed William Clark during the 2003-2006 Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He has spoken to thousands of people about the experiences of his Great, Great, Great, Grandfather and the unchanging values of the expedition then and today. Bud serves on the Board of Trustees for the Lewis and Clark Trust.
Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs, is a resident of Helen, MT, and an author of two books, “The Lewis and Clark Companion: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Voyage of Discovery” and “ Why Sacagawea Deserves the Day Off and Other Lessons from the Lewis and Clark Trail”(with Clay Straus Jenkinson). Stephenie came to the story of Lewis and Clark through her many years of summer travel with her father the late Stephen Ambrose, author of “Undaunted Courage”. Those summers were spent on the trail with the Ambrose family living and learning the story first hand on or near the original camp sites used by Lewis and Clark. Stephenie holds two degrees in history from the University of Montana and has paddled countless miles on the rivers of Lewis and Clark. Stephenie serves as Chairman of the Lewis and Clark Trust, is on the Board of the Montana Perseverance Alliance and the Advisory Council for the American Prairie Reserve.
The county celebration is hoped to be a forerunner of a second such event, one that would follow the approval of the National Park Service’s proposal to U.S. Congress for continuing and extending the Lewis & Clark Trail eastward. Also referred to as the Eastern Legacy Trail, if approved, the trail corridor would begin on the eastern side of Kentucky’s Cumberland Gap and run northward through the middle of Southwest Virginia and part of Central and Northern Virginia. In Botetourt County, the trail corridor might include, but is not limited to) such roads as Main Street, Fincastle, Blue Ridge Turnpike, Springwood Road and segments of Route 220 South. A map of the National Park Service’s most recently drafted “preliminary trail corridor” will be included in the public exhibit at the county museum following the dedication.
The public is invited to participate in the historic celebration on November 3rd. Sections of Main Street and Roanoke Street surrounding the courthouse will be closed prior to the event, but there is adequate public parking nearby. Check the Botetourt County website for a map and list of available parking areas.
For further information regarding the dedication ceremony, contact Kip Burton, Dedication Event Chair (540-43-1533), Lisa Moorman, Coordinator, Botetourt County Tourism (473-1167), or Peggy Crosson, Chair, Eastern Legacy Trail Project, Southern Shenandoah Valley Branch, Preservation Virginia (540-354-9698).
For more information, contact
Lisa Moorman, Tourism Coordinator
Peggy Crosson, Preservation Virginia (540-354-9698)