Botetourt Springs, Virginia

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Botetourt Springs
Former settlement and resort
Botetourt Springs is located in Virginia
Botetourt Springs
Botetourt Springs
Coordinates: 37°21′13″N 79°56′12″W / 37.35361°N 79.93667°W / 37.35361; -79.93667Coordinates: 37°21′13″N 79°56′12″W / 37.35361°N 79.93667°W / 37.35361; -79.93667
Country United States
State Virginia
CountyRoanoke County

Botetourt Springs (originally: Sulphur Spring Tract)[1] is a mineral spring and was a historical settlement on the border of Roanoke County, Virginia and Botetourt County, Virginia, United States. The spring is located 12 mi (19 km) from Fincastle.[2] Botetourt Springs was originally settled in the mid-18th century, growing as a mineral spring resort during the summer, especially after the 1820s.[3][4]

In its time, it was one of the best known mineral springs in Virginia,[5] and one of the chief sulphuric thermal springs in America.[6] Notable visitors included General Andrew Jackson and General Lafayette.


Botetourt Springs has two springs, one of sulphur and the other of chalybeate.[7] An 1857 book mentioned that Botetourt Springs was a notable resort during the warmer months and that the springs contained magnesia, sulphur and carbonic acid".[8]


The Carvin Lands on Carvin Creek was a 150-acre parcel granted to William Carvin in 1746. Carvin expanded the acreage and his son, William Carvin II, inherited the property.[9]

Edward Carvin inherited the Sulphur Springs homeplace and approximately 900 acres from his father, William Carvin II, in 1804. Edward sold the homeplace and 474 acres to Christian and Martin Wingart who sold the land to Charles Johnston in two transactions between 1818 and 1826. Around 1820, Johnston built a hotel and cottages around the spring, naming it Botetourt Springs after the county in which it was located. Andrew Jackson was a visitor,[10] as was General Lafayette in 1824.[11]

With the increase in travel on the road west, the hotel and its springs stayed popular through the 1830s. Johnston died in 1833 and was buried on the property. By 1839, with the opening of other hotels in the area, the popularity of Botetourt Springs ebbed and it was closed in 1839.[12]

Johnston's nephew, Edward Johnston, bought the property and converted the hotel to a school, the Roanoke Female Seminary. This seminary was unsuccessful.[12]

In 1842, the property, including the buildings and 600 acres, was purchased by an agent for Valley Union Seminary, a Baptist organization.[12] The seminary, founded in the same year, became Hollins University.[13] William Carver's spring house still stands on the property.[12]

By 1873, Botetourt Springs had a post office. It was accessible by travelling nine miles on a turnpike that led from the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.[7]

Today, it is part of the suburb of Oldfields in northern Roanoke.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Kegley, p. 332
  2. ^ Barber, John Warner; Howe, Henry (1861). Our Whole Country: Or, The Past and Present of the United States, Historical and Descriptive. In Two Volumes, Containing the General and Local Histories and Descriptions of Each of the States, Territories, Cities, and Towns of the Union; Also Biographical Sketches of Distinguished Persons, John Warner Barber. H. Howe. p. 657. Botetourt Springs.
  3. ^ Colbert, Judy (2008). Virginia Off the Beaten Path, 10th: A Guide to Unique Places (10 ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 181. ISBN 0-7627-4881-8.
  4. ^ "The History of Roanoke County". Visit Roanoke. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  5. ^ Medical and surgical directory of the United States. Polk & Co. 1886. p. 909.
  6. ^ Burt, William H. (1883). Clinical companion to "Physiological materia medica": a compendium of diseases, their homoeopathic and accessory treatment. Gross & Delbridge. p. 69.
  7. ^ a b Walton, George Edward (1873). The mineral springs of the United States and Canada: with analyses and notes on the prominent spas of Europe, and a list of sea-side resorts. D. Appleton & company. p. 223.
  8. ^ Sears, Robert (1857). A Pictorial Description of the United States: Embracing the History, Geographical Position, Agricultural and Mineral Resources, Robert Sears. p. 337.
  9. ^ Kegley, Frederick Bittle (2003). Kegley's Virginia frontier: the beginning of the Southwest : the Roanoke of colonial days, 1740-1783. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 514. ISBN 0-8063-1717-5.
  10. ^ Smith, William Robert Lee (1921). Charles Lewis Cocke: founder of Hollins College. R. G. Badger. p. 35.
  11. ^ Prillaman, p. 85
  12. ^ a b c d Prillaman, Helen R. (1887). A Place Apart: A Brief History of the Early Williamson Road and North Roanoke Valley Residents and Places. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 83. ISBN 0-8063-4706-6.
  13. ^ "Charles Johnston Frontiersman & Founder by Peter W. Houck". Historic Sandusky Foundation. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2010.

External links[edit]