Wilmington cotton merchant and agriculturist John R. Brinckle owned an extensive farm here and landscaped the grounds elaborately. His boxy, three-story dwelling with low hipped roof is austerely plain, of squared stone blocks. The name “Gibraltar” is derived from the Mediterranean promontory of Gibraltar in reference to the house's perch on a rocky ledge. H. Rodney Sharp purchased the house in September 1909, although it was “quite desolate”; he had fallen in love with the “marvelous staircase.” Wilmington's quarries provided convenient stone for expansion, and Sharp tripled the size of the house. He died in 1968, and by the mid-1990s it seemed that rundown Gibraltar would be demolished. Preservation Delaware took over, hoping to find an adaptive reuse for the building. In the meantime, deterioration sadly continued.
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