The Glen Burnie House sits on land that Winchester founder James Wood surveyed, claimed, and then settled in 1735. The oldest portions of the house were built by Wood’s son Robert in 1794 and 1797. Until the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th amendment, every generation of Wood and Glass descendants enslaved men, women, and children on the property. In the 1950s, the 214-acre Glen Burnie property came to be owned by Wood descendant Julian Wood Glass Jr. (1910–1992) in the 1950’s. Glass preserved and renovated his ancestral home from 1958 to 1959. Then, aided by his partner at the time R. Lee Taylor, he transformed the house into an opulent country retreat surrounded by six acres of formal gardens and furnished with one of the most remarkable private collections of decorative arts ever assembled in the Shenandoah Valley.
After his death and as a condition of his will, the house and gardens were opened to the public on a seasonal basis in 1997. They are now an important part of this year-round regional history museum complex known as the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley.
Glen Burnie reopened in 2014 following an extensive two-year renovation. Visitors now experience the house on self-guided tours. Along with the display of decorative objects collected by Glass, interpretive panels tell the story of the house and the people who have lived in Glen Burnie over the generations. The visitor experience includes the first floor of the house and the display of a fully furnished miniature model of Glen Burnie provides visitors with an exacting look at how Glass and Taylor furnished the house as their private residence.
The tradition of entertaining in Glen Burnie that was established by Glass and Taylor endures today. The house and surrounding gardens are host to Museum celebrations, and they are also available for private rental events such as weddings and cocktail parties.
See the Glen Burnie House Interpretive Panels:
Learn More About the Renovation
Press Release 6/9/14: Glen Burnie House Reopens with a New Visitor Experience
Lesperance, Michael. “Rearranging the Closet: Decoding the LGBT Exhibit Space.” InPark Magazine, InParkMagazine, 15 April 2014.
Press Release 212/14: Glen Burnie Manor House to Reopen June 10, 2014