Looking At The Queen Anne Hotel in New Orleans – A Reminder Of Our Own Rocky Mount NC Treasures – Preservation and Perspective

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The Queen Anne Hotel has a steep gabled roof, asymmetrical shape and dormer windows Named for its style of architecture, dating from 1880-1910.

IF ONLY….those cities that are trying to revitalize their historic downtown core areas all had a Queen Anne Hotel like the one pictured above. But wait, here in Rocky Mount we have a trove of architectural gems and a fascinating history surrounding our downtown area.  We have any number of homes that could become a Queen Anne Hotel. We must not take for granted the communities architectural assets. The Queen Anne Hotel demonstrates the importance of the preservation of these assets.

The Queen Anne Hotel is located in the heart of the Garden District, originally developed between 1832 and 1900 and is considered one of the best-preserved collections of historic mansions in the Southern United States. The Hotel is an elegant 1890’s Victorian mansion, a prime example of the spacious homes built by Americans who settled the area following the Louisiana Purchase. The area now know as the Garden District is filled with architecturally notable residences and nestled in lush grounds on oak‐lined streets. A very early example of a luxury suburb, it was dubbed the “Garden District” by travel writers as early as 1852.

In addition to its grand residences, the area is made up of more modest homes in many sizes and styles, as well as a cemetery, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, a shopping corridor along Magazine Street and a large public avenue, St. Charles Avenue. The Garden District remains a tightly knit community still occupied by families who have been a part of New Orleans’ most famous social traditions since the 19th century. The district was laid out by New Orleans architect, planner, and surveyor Barthelemy Lafon. Does Rocky Mount not have grand residences, modest homes in many sizes and styles?

Originally the area was developed with only a couple of houses per block, each surrounded by a large garden, giving the district its name. In the late 19th century, some of these large lots were subdivided, as Uptown New Orleans became more urban. This has produced a pattern for much of the neighborhood: of any given block having a couple of early 19th-century mansions surrounded by “gingerbread”-decorated late Victorian period houses. The Garden District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

Change the names around, think of our five historic districts: Edgemont, West Haven, Rocky Mount Mills, FallsRoad, Villa Place and Central City. Think of the homes associated with D. J. Rose’s fantastic craftsmanship, and much MORE. No matter how small or insignificant you may think your home is, it is part of our large Rocky Mount neighborhood. Preserve it, fix what is broken as you are able, paint, plant a flower. We may not live in New Orlean’s Garden District, but our neighborhoods are historic and just as worthy. It’s our little piece of heaven to take care of. Help breath new life into the revitalization of Rocky Mount.

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Taking nothing away from this beautiful Queen Anne Hotel’s interior photo, in a future post yet to be written, you will see that it pales in comparison to an interior by Rocky Mount’s D.J. Rose. You’ll see.

D.J. Rose – Leading Character in the Rocky Mount Story With An Invitation – Part 3

Scan 1Another spring unfolds, days warm, flowering trees unfurl and catch us by surprise when glimpsed through the garden. Something happens to us this time of year; a longing for things past. We close our eyes and remember moments we would like to experience again. Perhaps sitting beside one of our parents listening to them read aloud, or a time when we were teenagers waiting for our first kiss. Whatever this nostalgic time-traveling is about, it  has to do with younger days, when we played with the neighborhood kids, caught fireflies in a jar, spent the night with a grandmother who baked the best chocolate cake in the Mill Village. We would like to walk along the Main Street of our youth, filled with cars, people shopping, meeting and greeting one another. We would like to stop and wave at the train as it goes by. We wish family and friends were still alive to answer the questions we now have for them. If only we could spend time with D.J. Rose, the leading character in the story I’ve been telling you. Think of what we would learn from this young man, who over time made a lasting contribution to Rocky Mount. The future that is being reimagined today is partially built upon the architectural assets he and his company contributed to this sense of place.

I believe Fennel Hudson, A Meaningful Life, is right when he wrote: “Old buildings whisper to us in the creaking of floorboards and rattling of windowpanes.” Listen for Mr. Rose’s whisper when you think of the Ricks Hotel, the original Masonic Temple on Main Street, the May and Gorham building, Rocky Mount Municipal building on Main Street. the Peoples Bank building, the First Methodist and First Presbyterian Churches, Planters Cotton Seed Oil factory, Rocky Mount’s Railroad Passenger Station including the addition of the second and third floors, Rocky Mount’s first electric power plant and water plant, as well as portions of the building you know today as The Power Plant, the Sunset Avenue Water Plant and significant portions of Rocky Mount Mills buildings. Some of the schools he built are Abraham Lincoln, R. M. Wilson School and Edgemont. The firm he founded, D. J. Rose and Son Inc., is the oldest continuously operating general contracting firm in North Carolina and to this day maintains the North Carolina General Contractors License number 27.

YOU ARE INVITED – PRESENTATION MARCH 29TH 7:00PM – BRASWELL LIBRARY

THE GIFT OF HISTORY: ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS & PROJECT FILES

The contracting firm D. J. Rose and Son Inc., based in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, has donated a major collection of historic architectural drawings and other documents to the North Carolina State University Libraries, which forms the basis for the presentation on the 29th. Here is an opportunity to keep company with D.J. Rose once again in the whispering of these drawings. Use your imagination…slip into a seat beside him for a lovely evening honoring his work. th

 

See you there, I’ll save you a seat!

 

D.J. Rose – Movie Star or Contractor? – Part 2

thI could make up a story about D. J. Rose, and tell you he was a movie star. Based on this photograph, would you doubt me? This gorgeous man has long settled into his place on the family tree, yet he is not forgotten. I’ve gazed at this photograph, hoping Mr. Rose would reveal himself. He sent me in search of some facts to help imagine his surroundings. We know he arrived in Rocky Mount in 1890 at age 29. Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President (1889 to 1893), elected after conducting one of the first “front-porch” campaigns, delivering short speeches to delegations that visited him in Indianapolis. (In today’s political climate, I was drawn to the word short.) Amazing people were born in 1890, which could easily side-track us. People like Dwight Eisenhower, Rose Kennedy, Agatha Christie, Charles de Gaulle and Boris Pasternak.

HERE is a youtube link to the popular songs of 1890-1920.

713px-StateLibQld_2_167751_Group_of_men_wearing_three-piece_suits,_posing_for_a_portrait,_1890-1900            In search of clothes worn at the time of Mr. Rose’s arrival, I found this  photo of men wearing three-piece suits, posing for a portrait, 1890-1900. With his handsome face, I hope Mr. Rose never wore a mustache.

We know that in time, David Rose married Anna Phillip Woodall. They had three children: Mary Lucille Rose Ward, Ira Woodall Rose and Vera Durham Rose. After Anna’s death he married Vira Benton with whom he had five more children. With apologies to these two women, their stories must wait.

peoplesbank3-323x400Between 1890–1918: D. J. Rose and Company’s new business is established. In 1900, offices are opened on Rose Street, where Mr. Rose partnered with fellow builder S. S. Toler until 1910. The company oversees notable projects such as the city’s first electric power plant in 1901 and the Bank of Rocky Mount (right) in 1918. We salute Rose and Company for their numerous projects. You can read HERE about the Ricks Hotel, one of his many contributions to Rocky Mount.  Don’t miss Part 3 to learn more about the accomplishments of D. J. Rose, and an upcoming event you won’t want to miss.