About six years ago I was introduced to these beautiful ruins, hidden behind thick woods and back roads. Instantly, it was love. I’ve been back a good handful of times since I was first shown this skeleton of a mansion and each time it still manages to impress me.
The mansion began being built in 1725 by the Mann Page family and was quite the luxurious home, not to mention the largest in Virginia, at the time. Then in 1916, the house met it’s demise in a fiery blaze said to be caused by one of the 17 fireplaces in the home. Rather than restore the mansion, it has been stabilized (and every time I go back, more brick has fallen away and more weeds have grown inside) and used for archeology. It’s rumored that the grounds are rather haunted and that they have tried to rebuild, but the bricks are removed by ghosts!
It’s quite sad to stand there in the midst of this rather huge shell of a home and know that it once was filled with life and will never be nothing more than decaying rubble. Rosewell was once known for it’s elaborate parties and celebrations. While the grounds still get to experience special occasions every now and then, such as weddings, I’m sure there are quite a few of us who appreciate the ruins that would love to just once walk around in the home before it was touched by fire.
This is the little visitors center, carefully tucked away between woods and bean fields, off a dirt road. It’s $4 to visit Rosewell, in cash. Inside you can find a few artifacts and a short video on the history of the home.
It’s said that Thomas Jefferson was friends with John Page, who once lived here, and even may have written a draft of the Declaration of Independence there as well. If you ever find yourself in Williamsburg, Virginia, you may want to venture to the town of Gloucester, to experience this delicate piece of history. The grounds are so peaceful and beautiful, that I can’t help but want to go back nearly every summer.