History

The Preservation of the Historic Rosedale House and Grounds

Completed in 1815 by Charlotte postmaster and tax collector Archibald Frew, the Federal-style home now known as Rosedale once stood on 900 acres of timber and farm land 5 miles outside of the small town of Charlotte. The 4,000+ square foot house was known by her neighbors as “Frew’s Folly,” believing as they did that such an elaborate home in the mostly -rural area was likely to bankrupt Mr. Frew.  The speculation turned out to be correct, although Frew and his family were saved from foreclosure and eviction through a loan from his brother-in-law, North Carolina state senator William Davidson; and following Frew’s death in 1823, the home remained under Senator Davidson’s ownership. In 1833, the senator passed the property to the husband of his daughter Harriet, Dr. David Caldwell, on the occasion of their marriage, and descendants of the Frew/Caldwell/Davidson families continued to call Rosedale home for over 150 years.

In 1986, the last remaining members of the family to live in the home, Mary Louise Davidson and her sister Alice Davidson Abel, sold the house and remaining 9 acres of grounds to the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina. Restoration to its early-1800s appearance began on the house that same year, and in 1993, Historic Rosedale opened its doors to the public as a living museum, the oldest Federal frame home still standing in Charlotte.

Today, Historic Rosedale continues to serve the community through house museum and garden tours, special events, preservation and outreach programs. It is our ongoing mission to research, preserve, and present the stories of those who lived and worked at Rosedale, both the Frew, Caldwell, and Davidson families and the African-Americans, enslaved and free.