Oct 6, 2009

Historic mantle brought back to mansion

by Melinda Zosh

Janice Dixon remembers looking out of her back window toward Wards Road and instead of seeing a Walmart, she saw a dairy farm and a narrow, two-lane road. Those were the days when she lived on what is now University Boulevard. But she was not a Liberty student. She and her family lived in the Carter Glass Mansion.

The university’s main campus “sits on the former estate and dairy farm of multi-term U.S. Senator Carter Glass,” according to Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.

Senator Glass, Secretary of the Treasury in President Woodrow Wilson’s administration, is best known for sponsoring the bill that created the U.S. Federal Reserve Banking System. In addition to active participation in politics, Glass’ family owned the Lynchburg newspaper, according to Falwell.

“President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once called Glass ‘the last unreconstructed rebel’ because of his loyalty to the politics of the Old South,” Falwell said, adding that Glass served in Congress until his death in 1946.

Dixon’s father and mother, Daniel and Hallie Bowman, along with her sister and herself called the Carter Glass Mansion home from 1952 until 1978.

Falwell announced in convocation a few weeks ago that one of the mantles will be making its way home and “it will be installed on the same fireplace where it originally was installed.”

Glass attained possession of the two marble mantles that were in the second U.S. Capitol after the British destroyed the first during the War of 1812. In 1923, Glass installed the mantles in his estate, originally known as Montview but now known to Liberty officials as the Glass Mansion, according to Falwell.

In the early 1970s, Liberty acquired most of the Glass estate, later acquiring the home in 1977.

“The previous owners…retained ownership of the two mantles and a large stone ornament from the ancient city of Pompeii that once sat over the well near the home,” Falwell said.

The Carter Glass Mansion is open to students, faculty members and the community daily. The Mansion also serves as a “hospitality house” for Liberty University guests such as convocation speakers, according to Falwell, adding that the mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1980s thanks to research performed by LU history professor, Dr. Cline Hall.

Contact Melinda Zosh at mzosh@liberty.edu.

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