This beautiful Federal style manor was built in 1815 for Archibald Frew. Frew was a merchant, postmaster, and tax collector. The neighbors called it "Frew’s Folly" though no one is sure why. It was once part of a 911-acre plantation.
In stark contrast to the simple log cabins of the area, the Federal 2-story house was a site. The white house featured bright yellow trim on the outside. This incredible home includes a 2-story portico. Unlike many homes of the time which kept their kitchens separate from the main house. The kitchen area of this house is located in the basement. The coolness of the basement also allowed for better storage of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Sadly Archibald would not live much longer after his masterpiece was completed. Oddly enough he died on April 15th 1823 at age 45. His sister, Sarah, married into the Davidson family which is connected with the Rural Hill Plantation in Lake Norman.
In 1830 Dr. D.T. Caldwell brought the house for his family. Dr. Caldwell was a prominent physician in the area and with the help of 20 slaves ran a farm to help sustain his family. Dr. Caldwell passed away shortly before the beginning of the Civil War. It was taken over and ran by his family. After the war ended and slavery was abolished some of the slaves returned to the plantation as paid workers to help take care of the home.
Like most other homes in the South, the house went through a number of owners and uses. Eventually it was restored and opened to the public. Today visitors are once again a welcome site to the home. Inside the immaculate home you take a guided tour through the main rooms and bedrooms which are furnished as they would have been at the time of the original owners. The house is noted for its faux gained woodwork and for the French wallpaper that survives in three of the rooms. In one of the main rooms you can see the original woodwork of the house. You are also taken downstairs to see the basement where most of the cooking was done. Outside the home take the time to enjoy the surrounding gardens. Many of the trees and box woods in the boxwood gardens are still original to the home. You can also see where current excavation of the property is on going.
Hours/admission: Mon.-Fri. 10-4, Sat. & Sun. 1-4. Guided tours given at 1, 2, and 3 Tue.-Sun. Admission: $5 anyone over 8. There is a small gift shop and restrooms on the premises. Events include a Christmas open house and a family reunion. Please go to www.historicalrosedale.com. Located 3 miles from downtown Charlotte. This grand home sits in one of the most dilapidated parts of Charlotte. So please don’t be startled when driving to the home.
Charlotte, North Carolina
October 3, 2006
From journal Historical Charlotte