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Old May 17th, 2007, 06:42 AM   #1
xzmattzx
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Abandoned Wilmington: the Gibraltar mansion

Gibraltar is a mansion built in 1844 by John Rodney Brinckle, grandnephew of Delaware Patriot Caesar Rodney, on Greenhill Avenue in The Highlands neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware. The Italianate house, perched on rocks on one of the highest points in Wilmington, was named after the rocky outcropping in Europe. Members of the Brinckle family lived in the house until 1909, when philanthropist, preservationist, and amateur horticulturalist Hugh Rodney Sharp and his wife, Isabella Mathieu DuPont Sharp bought the property. Upon expanding the property, the Sharps hired Marian Cruger Coffin to design the estate's formal gardens. Coffin, one of the nation's first and most accomplished female landscape architects in the U.S., deisgned that gardens between 1916 and 1923, and created several garden "rooms", sectioned off from other parts of the garden and having their own feel. The mansion was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, and is an official "Save America's Treasures" project.

The house and gardens are currently controlled by Preservation Delaware, Inc., who campaigned in 1997 to have the gardens restored to their original appearance. The gardens are now accessible to the public from Monday to Friday, or by appointment. The house still sits abandoned, but there has been a push to convert the house into office space. The ongoing debate about the Gibraltar Mansion office space can be found throughout the "Wilmington Development News" thread.

Since it is under watch by Preservation Delaware, the house is securly locked up, and boarded up where vandals, looters, and explorers had broken into the house over the years. Despite this, I was able to snoop araoun a little and see parts of the inside of the house. I plan on contacted Preservation Delaware, located in the garage house at Gibraltar, for a formal tour some time in the future.
















The living room.



The sun room.



The greenhouse.





Wilmington's skyline is visible from Gibraltar, although you can't see the skyscrapers on the Riverfront or in the lower section of Downtown from here.



Downtown Wilmington from the front steps.





The gardens are a park for the city of Wilmington and are open to the public on Modays through Fridays.



















































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Old May 17th, 2007, 03:29 PM   #2
zachus22
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That's spooky. Any idea why it was abandoned?
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Old May 17th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #3
krull
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Wow that must have been a wonderful home to live. It might have a few ghosts by now. They probably won't like it that it will be transform into offices. Weren't you a little freak out been inside of the house?
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Old May 18th, 2007, 04:28 AM   #4
xzmattzx
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I'm not sure why it went abandoned. I guess the Sharp family just didn't want to live there anymore or the family died off, but the property stayed with the family.

It didn't seem too freaky, although it wasn't all that pleasant looking around when no one else was on the property. A guided tour would be much nicer. What was worse than any spookiness were the huge bees and the swarms of them around the house, which thrived from living in a place where no one would get rid of them.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 12:42 PM   #5
rbrinckloe
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IN RESPONSE TO ALL YOUR QUESTIONS, FOLKS:

Gibraltar exists because I saved it. Took me seven painful years to accomplish (1991-1998). Had I not done this, Gibraltar would now be six acres of townhouses. That was the plan until I stepped up to the plate.

My great great grandfather built Gibraltar in 1844, and my ancestors lived there until 1909, when my grandfather sold it to the Sharps/duPonts so he could move his architecture practice and family to Easton, MD, where, by the way, I now live and work.

I did my best to have the mansion restored. As you see, I did not succeed with that part, but I did succeed with the gardens and with keepi ng the house from being torn down. I also saved your city from more insidious neocon townhouses.

Thank y'all for caring.

Very Respectfully,

RJB
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 02:55 PM   #6
royal rose1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbrinckloe View Post
Gibraltar exists because I saved it. Took me seven painful years to accomplish (1991-1998). Had I not done this, Gibraltar would now be six acres of townhouses. That was the plan until I stepped up to the plate.

My great great grandfather built Gibraltar in 1844, and my ancestors lived there until 1909, when my grandfather sold it to the Sharps/duPonts so he could move his architecture practice and family to Easton, MD, where, by the way, I now live and work.

I did my best to have the mansion restored. As you see, I did not succeed with that part, but I did succeed with the gardens and with keepi ng the house from being torn down. I also saved your city from more insidious neocon townhouses.

Thank y'all for caring.

Very Respectfully,

RJB
I hate to say it, but six acres of row houses almost sounds like a step up, especially in the ghetto that is Wilmington. There is enough abandoned in that "city" already, as much as this place is beautiful, tearing it down wouldn't have been the worst thing.
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