Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

The Past and Future of the Region
The Glencoe Heritage

The Radford Heritage Foundation was established in 1993, and obtained the Wharton home upon its donation by Kollmorgen Corporation. The Heritage Foundation created Glencoe Museum in the existing historically important Italianate Victorian home that stands on the banks of the New River. The home was built circa 1870 by Brigadier General Gabriel Wharton CSA and his wife, Ann Rebecca Radford. Glencoe houses a permanent collection and temporary exhibits of historical and cultural significance to Western Virginia. ((540) 731-5031. P.O. Box 1412, 600 Unruh Drive, Radford, VA 24143).

The mission of the Radford Heritage Foundation is

to identify, document, preserve, and promote Radford heritage,
the past and the present, for the future.

The Radford Heritage Foundation now seeks to further create and maintain Glencoe Museum, promote the City of Radford, and offer cultural opportunities for the community.

Nexus is an idea being shared with the Radford community by Bob Giles. He's a Virginian, lives in Blacksburg, and has become familiar with and attached to Radford since visiting with his daughter and grandchildren there for 18 years. He retired in '98 from Virginia Tech where he taught many courses, mostly in natural resource and environmental topics. He shares ideas here within this website for the good of the community and the region and so that many people can see them, find useful parts, and perhaps find a way to implement them.

He's been working on the Rural System concept
for several years and believes that Radford (with Glencoe and other Foundation and Radford units as centers of activity) can become recognized as:

Readers will recognize the strengths and capabilities of universities, agencies, government groups, individuals, and many others already present. These will not be listed here. The three above topics, but especially their interactions, are briefly noted. Bob will be glad to discuss these with individuals and groups.

The place where ranging was born

Ranging is discussed in several places and links are provided here. The concept is that of including all types of outdoor recreation under one topic and making them together important for local people as well as visitors. Ecotourism, often suggested as a hope for the future of many towns and rural areas, suggests that it is for "outsiders." While inviting outsiders seems to be a good idea, costs can also be high, often exceeding gains. . A total diverse, outdoor recreation system as described within the Rural System design can be beneficial. A high quality environment is needed for high quality outdoor recreation and for visitors. The results can be esthetically as well as economically and environmentally sound. Radford can become known as "that ranging place."

The capital of the modern southwestern Virginia rural region

Southwestern Virginia - Monterey to Martinsville and westward - has been treated poorly by many criteria. There are major needs in towns and cities and these are being actively tended. A concept for diverse rural interests and activities is needed and some are available within the Rural System design. These include

There are problems throughout the western Virginia region that can be addressed with centralized ideas, services, and help while federally- and state-supported help diminishes. There is a timely opportunity for special local action. Problems in the "coalfield" are especially acute. The New River Valley, the Highlands, the Alliance, the town and county and planning districts ... all have had over-lapping objectives and discussions for years. A singular, private, entrepreneurial approach may be timely.

Maybe Radford is the place where the Rural System gets started.

The active link between the past
and the future of the Region, the Nexus

Nexus can be the name of a function of the museum and Foundation. Nexus, literally the link between the past and present, can move the costly maintenance of a museum past questions of function, payoff, and accountability into a role that models and describes the past and moves such description past the well-known present into the future.
The richness of the surrounding universities and colleges suggests that annual major symposia can be held to discuss the best estimates of the future. This is regional futurism. A museum concentrating on the future has to be unusual, if not unique, at least notable. The Rural System displays a systems approach and a modern systems approach includes feedforward. This is prediction, futurism, or prognostication ...but directed at decisions made today. It is applied futurism, addressing how we must adjust decisions made today to make them "right" for tomorrow. The concept is general and can be applied to the building structure itself, to society, town taxes, regional economics, state politics, theology... a central interest with unlimited applications.

Profits from various sources and activities within Rural System and the suggested activities of Nexus are likely to support and expand the influence of the Foundation.

I am hopeful that these ideas will stimulate others and that discussions will lead to successful work of the Foundation and achievement of its objectives.

Robert H. Giles, Jr., PhD
504 Rose Avenue
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060

Perhaps you will share ideas with me
about some of the topic(s) above at

Maybe we can work together
... for the good of us all
... for a long time.

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August 25, 2003