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Wheeling in Ohio County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Serpentine Drive

Oglebay

 
 
Serpentine Drive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, September 14, 2019
1. Serpentine Drive Marker
Inscription.  
"A perfect road winds up the hillside, between banks of well-kept shrubberey, leading one at last out onto the hilltop, where is the vast and glorious lawn of Waddington. Thereon all are manners of beautiful trees, shrubs, fruits and flowers, with acres upon acres of velvety turf, and fields of oscillating grain."
The Story of Oglebay Park,
Ralph H. Weir

Serpentine Drive, so called because of its winding path resembling the movement of a snake, was an elaborately designed approach road to Earl W. Oglebay's estate, Waddington Farm, in the grand manner of the great estates being built by Oglebay and his contemporaries — industrialists and entrepreneurs such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt.

It was not meant for speed and convenience but rather to provide a pleasant and relaxing ride through a wooded landscape that showcased the beauty of the property. Although it looked like a natural landscape, every curve and planting was meticulously designed by landscape architects J. Wilkinson Elliott and Arthur Westcott Cowell of Pittsburgh, PA. The driveway featured glades, shrubbery
Serpentine Drive Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, September 14, 2019
2. Serpentine Drive Marker
and trees, and a stop that included a lookout. The architects' plan called for the driveway to be visually closed in so that the estate could not be seen from the road until reaching th top.

While most approach roads end with a dramatic view of the great house on an estate, Serpentine Drive opened up to a view of the vegetable garden and the sweeping vista beyond. This may have been because the hillside was too steep in front of the Mansion, but the view from Serpentine Drive also reflected Mr. Oglebay's passion for agriculture and showcased the estate as a working farm.

While Serpentine Drive was a privately built and maintained road used exclusively by members of the Oglebay family and their guests, others arrived at Waddington Farm the more direct way — State Route 88. This public road that is used today was actually moved further away from the Mansion at the request of Earl Oglebay after he purchased the property in 1900.

[Captions:]
Right: for Serpentine Drive, designed by landscape architects J. Wilkinson Elliott and Arthur Westcott Cowell of Pittsburgh, PA.
Elliott was a native of Pittsburgh who designed the landscapes of many private estates throughout the Midwest and east coast, including the home of JR Mellon in Pittsburgh. His partner, Arthur W. Cowell, worked in Pittsburgh in his early career before
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moving to State College, PA to establish Penn State's Department of Landscape Architecture in 1913.

Above: Gatehouse at the entrance to Serpentine Drive, circa 1908.
This was one of three gatehouses that marked each of the entrance drives to Waddington Farm. Originally, each had a gate that was closed in the evenings to provide security for the estate. The Serpentine gatehouse was an exact match for the gatehouse located on Oglebay's main entrance on Route 88. A third gatehouse is at the entrance to Falls Drive. Although the Serpentine Gatehouse was razed in 2012, the other two gatehouses are still in use today as private residences. The stone pillars and iron gate from the Serpentine gatehouse have been relocated to the Mansion Museum driveway.

Right: Sarita Oglebay Burton and son Courtney Burton, Jr. travel along one of the horseshoe curves along Seprentine Drive, circa 1915.
The stone wall in the lower left of the photo is one of two that were in the original architect's plan for Serpentine; both walls are still standing today. A lookout, located just beyond the uupper curve of Serpentine in this photo, provided the traveler with a nice stopping point to enjoy the view.

 
Erected by Oglebay.
 
Location. 40° 6.28′ 
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N, 80° 40.006′ W. Marker is in Wheeling, West Virginia, in Ohio County. Marker is on Oglebay Drive (West Virginia Route 88) 0.1 miles west of Lodge Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1330 Oglebay Drive, Wheeling WV 26003, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Carriage House Glass (within shouting distance of this marker); Farm Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Greenhouses (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Guest House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Formal Gardens (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mansion (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oglebay Mansion Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); South Lawn (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wheeling.
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on September 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 16, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 91 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 16, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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