In 1863, Confederate Colonel Gabriel Colvin Wharton (1824-1906, left) met and married Anne Rebecca Radford (1843-1890), the daughter of Dr. John Blair Radford, for whom the City of Radford is named. Six years later, with the Civil War over, the young Wharton family was deeded 554 acres by Dr. Radford. As the third wealthiest landowner in the area, General Wharton set about to build Glencoe as his family’s new stately home on the banks of the New River.
Glencoe’s construction began in the early 1870s and first appeared on the tax records in 1876. It was surrounded by a large, fenced yard, a barn, an icehouse, smokehouse and chicken house as well as extensive gardens.
The house was named Glencoe, in honor of Anne Wharton’s Scottish heritage. Glencoe, Scotland, was the site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald clan, allegedly perpetrated by the Campbells. Anne was a descendant of the Campbell’s.
Gabriel Wharton was a prominent business leader in the community and represented Montgomery County in the Virginia General Assembly. His various businesses included (at different times) a railroad and mining company, several farms, a newspaper, a general store, a grist mill, a lumber mill and a hotel.
After the General’s death, the house was occupied by his only child William Radford Wharton (1864-1918) and his wife Sue. Glencoe remained in the family until the early 1960s. For the next 30 years, the house stood vacant until it was donated to the City of Radford by the Kollmorgan Motion Technologies Group in 1996 to be used as a museum for the community.