Glencoe gives visitors a fascinating look back at the Victorian way of life during the post-Civil War years. Built by Confederate Brigadier General Gabriel C. Wharton, the house and grounds provide an intimate view of life from another era.
Gabriel C. Wharton was a native of Culpeper County and graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. Wharton spent several years working in civil engineering before entering military service for Virginia and the Confederacy in 1861. While stationed in southwest Virginia during the early years of the Civil War, he met the family of Dr. John Blair Radford, for whom the City of Radford is named. In 1863, Wharton married Anne Rebecca, daughter of Dr. Radford, and he also earned the rank of brigadier general.
After the Civil War ended, Wharton returned to civilian life and to his original interests of mining and the railroad. Wharton had discovered the rich mineral resources of southwestern Virginia during the war and now became a key proponent of developing the area. In 1869 Wharton and his wife were deeded 554 acres of land by Anne Rebecca’s father, and by 1870 the couple had completed the home that now houses the museum.
Built to Impress
Glencoe was built to be a symbol of prosperity for the burgeoning area. The solid masonry structure was built in the Italianate style popular during the mid-19th century. The home boasted three floors and 12 fireplaces; guests entering the central hall were ushered into one of two parlors that boasted 11-foot high ceilings, elaborate moldings, and fine furnishings. Siginificantly, Glencoe was built facing the New River and the regionally important railroad bridge, emblems of Wharton’s myriad business interests.
The home remained in the Wharton family until 1980, when it was purchased by Kollmorgen Corporation. In 1996 the company donated Glencoe to the City of Radford, and, following an extensive restoration, Glencoe Museum opened in 1998.
Visit Glencoe Museum and step back into the Victorian opulence of the New River Valley.