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Fincastle, VA – This Christmas, a special piece of Botetourt County history will hang on the Governor’s Mansion Christmas tree in Richmond. The theme of the tree is “Celebrating Virginia’s Localities”, and each county has been asked to submit a local-artisan made, handcrafted ornament. To meet this challenge, local woodworker Willie Simmons fashioned an ornament out of wood that he had salvaged from the previous Botetourt County courthouse that burned in 1970.

“The courthouse has always been important to me,” said Simmons, who has worked as an artist for 35 years in the County. “My family has been in charge of the bell ringing ceremony for New Year’s Eve for generations; my earliest memories come from being with my father in the clock tower.”

Using that lifelong passion for the courthouse, Simmons fashioned a piece of the salvaged wood into the shape of the courthouse’s clock tower. Simmons then called upon fellow Botetourt artist and painter Bill White to add the details to the piece. This collaboration across disciplines using historic materials to reflect a modern landmark stands as a fitting tribute to represent the County.

Moreover, once the ornament has finished its service in Richmond, the artists have requested that it be auctioned off in order to benefit the Botetourt County Historical Society. More information regarding the auction will be available early next year.

For more information about the many local artists working in Botetourt, visit The annual Open Studios Botetourt tour will be on Saturday, October 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday, October 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.




For more information, contact

Cody Sexton, Information Specialist

(540) 473-8239