Rosewell Re-Opens on Saturday April 1, 2017
The Rosewell Plantation Ruins will open for the 2017 Season on Saturday April 1, 2017. Visitors can look forward to new operating hours, additional new signage at the Ruins, and new interpretive stories that further explore the rich diversity of the Rosewell community.
The new season brings new operating hours. Rosewell’s Visitor and Exhibit Center will be open on Fridays and closed on Mondays. The Ruins will be open 6 days a week, Tuesdays - Saturdays from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sundays 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Operations Officer Katrina White Brown noted that the change in operating hours will particularly accommodate visitors who want to get an early start on their weekend. “We are responding to the many guests who wanted to visit the ruins on Fridays but found us closed. This is a very exciting and needed change for us” Brown said.
Rosewell enters the 2017 season on the heels of one of the most successful fundraising efforts in recent history. Brown noted that the Annual BBQ and Winetasting Event raised almost $6500 and the Ghost Tours raised almost $3000 towards the preservation and operation of the Ruins and Visitors Center. Brown added that “we believe our new season will provide even more opportunities to raise much needed funds for Rosewell.”
In addition to the new operating hours, Rosewell is preparing for the installation of three more interpretive signs to be placed at site of the ruins. Three signs were set in place at the opening of the 2016 season; the newest signs will include information on the 18th century Rosewell ice house, described as one of the finest examples of such in the entire Tidewater region. A total of nine signs will eventually be placed, designed to enhance the historic understanding of the Ruins.
While the Rosewell Ruins and the Page Family will continue to be core elements of the historical narrative told at Rosewell, this year visitors can also look forward to the ever- expanding story of the Rosewell community. Recent scholarship has broadened Rosewell’s historical context to include elements of 17th century tobacco-based, slave dependent economy in the Tidewater region; and continues through the 18th century to the 19th century decline of the agricultural decline in the region.
“We are anticipating a lively response to what Rosewell will be offering this season,” said Brown. “We need more docents and volunteers,” she emphasized. “Volunteers supply our lifeblood at the Rosewell Foundation. They make it possible for us to continue unlocking the trove of historical treasures at Rosewell. There are many ways volunteers can help, and no experience is needed. All that is needed is a passion for history and a willingness to help”, Brown pointed out. “We welcome anybody interested in guiding tours, conducting fundraising events, providing in-kind service, and performing general administrative tasks. Rosewell is calling, and we hope the call is answered by lots of willing volunteers, Brown concluded. Contact Rosewell (804) 693-2585 to volunteer.
Rosewell is on the National Register of Historical Places and has been a registered Virginia Historic Landmark since 1997. It was the epicenter of events closely related to three eras of American history: contact by English settlers with the Native Americans; the American Revolution; and the Civil War. When built, Rosewell was the largest mansion in Virginia and remained such for over a century. During Colonial times Rosewell was known as America’s grandest and most magnificent house, and regarded as one of the North American continent’s greatest architectural treasures.
Rosewell was the ancestral home to three generations of the Page family. Mann Page I started building the home in 1725. He died in 1730; the house was completed by his son Mann Page II between 1737-1738. John Page, the grandson of Mann Page I was the last generation of the Page family at Rosewell. After a century of ownership by the Page family, Rosewell was purchased by Thomas Booth in 1838. After ownership by the Booth family (1838-1847) and the Catlett family (1847-1853), Rosewell was purchased by Josiah Deans in 1853. Then the Deans family and their descendants - the Taylor and Greaves families - owned Rosewell for over 125 years. until December 1979 when the Greaves family presented the ruins to the Gloucester Historical Society (GHS). The house had been destroyed by an accidental fire in 1916; weather, vegetation, the environment, and vandals continued to precipitate Rosewell’s decay.
Since 1979 preservation and stabilization efforts have been on-going, but only a fraction of the mansion remains standing. In 1997 GHS and The Rosewell Foundation partnered to “continuously do its utmost to preserve and care for the ruins.” Rosewell is an important thread in the tapestry of Virginia history, and the ruins provide a unique opportunity to weave a full and colorful picture of the people who created the history – black and white, enslaved and free, wealthy and poor.
ROSEWELL FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT AND OFFICERS
(GLOUCESTER, VA) - Long time museum professional Lawrence Henry has been elected as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rosewell Foundation. Henry succeeds former president Sandra Pait who retired after serving three director terms and 5 years as president of the board. He was elected at the board’s annual meeting held Sunday May 15, 2016. Other officers elected were: 1st Vice President – Philip Page; 2nd Vice President – Dr. David Muron; Secretary – Letitia Grant; and Treasurer – Clayton James.
Henry brings a wealth of experience to the position, including leadership roles as: Director of the Concord Museum in Concord Massachusetts; the Director of the Tennessee Historical Commission, and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs; and Director of Museums at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg Virginia. He is President Emeritus of Brookgreen Gardens in Pawleys Island South Carolina.
The new President and CEO is not only responsible for leading the Rosewell board, but also for directing all aspects of the Foundation’s operation, including on-going efforts aimed at the continued preservation and stabilization of the ruins. Henry observed that “this is a very interesting time for the Rosewell Foundation as it undertakes to invest anew in the effort to preserve the Rosewell ruins.” Pointing out that the Foundation “seeks to broaden the understanding of what the ruins mean in their silent witness to three centuries of life lived in and around them,” he encouraged the public to “look for us to engage the community in the process of learning from our shared past.”
The Board also recognized outgoing president “Sandy” Pait for “her leadership in every facet of the operation of The Foundation during the past five years.” The Corporate Board Resolution, presented to Pait at the annual meeting, emphasized that “her good and tireless work is, in no small part, the reason The Foundation and The Ruins continue to operate.” The Board further commended Pait for her “unparalleled” benevolence on behalf of the Rosewell Foundation.
Built in the 18th century, Rosewell was the ancestral home to three generations of the Page family. Even in its state of ruin Rosewell is still considered one of Gloucester County’s most revered historical and architectural treasures. Described as “the largest and finest of American houses of the Colonial period,” a disastrous fire destroyed the home in 1916, leaving it only a shell. However, noted architectural historian Thomas Tileston Waterman observed that “the walls of Rosewell stand and even in their ruined state they form the finest example of early brickwork that remains to us.”
Opens for the 2017 Season on April 1st at 10:00 am
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