One of several boomtowns to emerge in the feverish land speculation of the late 1880s, Glasgow, incorporated in 1892, seems frozen in time. Where other boomtowns such as Buena Vista continued to grow in the post-boom era, Glasgow did not. Glasgow developed following the construction of the James River and Kanawha Canal in the 1850s and the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s. Growth accelerated in 1890 with the formation of the Rockbridge Company, which under its president, former governor Fitzhugh Lee, platted a city that would have extended some 3.5 miles along the waterways. The 1893 nationwide depression caused the enterprise to collapse. As a result, Glasgow is a town of buildings and spaces that represent the ambitious, but unfulfilled dreams of is founders, and its sparse streetscape represents lots never built on, not buildings lost.
The oldest building in the community, Peter Sallings's two-story, central-passage, brick farmhouse (c. 1820; 733 Fitzlee Street), served as the offices for the Rockbridge Company in the 1890s, and as a hotel for visiting speculators. The Federal house, with its attenuated, two-story portico must have offered an impressive sense of history and permanence for the development company. Nearby is a graveyard with markers from the 1830s that reveal the Valley's German tradition of decorative carving.
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