Established in 1772, the town was named for George, Lord Fincastle, son of Lord Dunmore, Virginia's last royal governor. County surveyor William Preston laid out the town on a grid plan. While the town's prosperity developed from its crossroads location, the discovery of ferro-magnesium springs, “Nature's Great Health Restorer,” in the 1880s and 1890s, made the town boom. For a few decades, Fincastle had a lively summer season teeming with visitors seeking renewed health or social gaiety. Bypassed by the railroad and industrial development, the town, now almost a bedroom community for Roanoke, retains much of its nineteenth-century architectural fabric.
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