Saved from the wrecking ball by concerned citizens
Rosedale’s story is one of challenges, overcoming obstacles and evolving from “survive” to “thrive” in a city that has lost most of its historically significant homes.
It was built on 911 acres in 1815 by Archibald Frew and was called Frew’s Folly because it was so pretentious in a town of mostly log cabins. For over 170 years it was lovingly cared for by members of the same family—Frews, Davidsons, and Caldwells. This Federal tripartite home is the finest architectural example of its type in the region, featuring early 19th century French wallpaper, original faux graining, heart pine flooring sawyered on the site, and hand carved Grecian style molding
In 1986 owners, Miss Mary Louise Davidson and Mrs. Alice Davidson Abel realized they could no longer maintain the house. The sisters sought help from the North Carolina Preservation Foundation (they buy historic properties and try to resell them to new owners who will maintain their historic integrity.) The Foundation approached the North Carolina Colonial Dames, an organization that owns and maintains historic sites, but they could not buy another house as they already own and four properties.
However, members of the Dames in Mecklenburg determined that this wonderful house would not be torn down. They sought funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, the North Carolina Legislature, and their own members. Eventually one million dollars was raised to buy the house on 8.9 acres and begin the meticulous historically correct restoration.
Mary Louise was afraid to have too many guests in the house at the same time because she was not sure of the foundation. She was right. The powder post beetles had gotten into the main beam and when some floor covering was taken up, you could see through the floor to the basement. During the restoration many new details were discovered including the original paint colors, an original upstairs porch and hand carved wooden roof shingles. Behind a wall they found an 1815 newspaper with Archibald Frew’s name on it, so that is how they know the date the house was built.
Although Rosedale is still a “work in progress” renovation has been done, some furniture been acquired, and the house and gardens are open for docent-led tours Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.
A spring fund raiser, an “Arts Festival at Historic Rosedale” will be May 7th on the grounds at 3427 North Tryon Street. There will be pottery and crafts for sale, featuring potters from Seagrove and elsewhere, a sweet grass basket weaver, a jewelry maker, a wood turner and others. Hands on crafts for the children will include a pottery wheel and free pony rides. Historical re-enactors in costume will demonstrate handmade crafts. Lunch will be available for purchase on the grounds. We are looking forward to seeing many Myers Park families there. For information please call Rosedale at 704-335-0325 or go to www.historicrosedale.org.