Originally the centerpiece of a 911-acre plantation, Rosedale was built off North Tryon near Sugar Creek Road in 1815 by a tax collector , merchant, and postmaster named Archibald Frew. Archibald and his sister Sarah arrived in Charlotte in the 1790s, armed with an inheritance from their family. Somewhere along the way the house was dubbed "Frew's Folly" for unknown reasons, perhaps because the yellow window trim was such a stark contrast to the log architecture of the day. After Archibald's death in 1824, the house sat vacant until his niece and her husband, Dr. David Caldwell, bought it in 1827. Dr. Caldwell ran the plantation and owned two slave families consisting of about twenty people.
Pictured in this photograph from 1886 are Robert Baxter Caldwell and Alice Caldwell, who inherited Rosedale after the death of their father, David, in 1861.
The Caldwell family continued to own the house until 1987, when a private organization purchased it and immediately set out to restore it. In 1993 Rosedale was reopened as one of Charlotte's only surviving examples of a nineteenth-century period plantation home, and docents began to give educational tours of the property. Rosedale is also one of the finest examples of the Federal architectural style in the county, and is noted for its classical faux-grained woodwork and the original French wallpaper that still survives in three rooms. Twentieth-century gardens comprise the rest of the 8.5 acres of Rosedale, which are all that remain of the original 911-acre plantation. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is also designated as a local historic landmark.
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass