Monday 2 January 2012: Houses of Wilmington #1
I've decided on a weekly project, in part to make my blip life a bit easier, and to also make photographs of the houses I show when I take groups on the "Historic Wilmington Walking Tour", on behalf of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society.
Each Monday or Tuesday, expect to see a house from the 300 blocks of the "historic district" of downtown Wilmington. Although they don't match the size, grandeur, or age of many of the historic buildings known to our European blippers, they each have a history and charm worthy of recording.
De Rosset House (1841)
This is a beautiful ante-bellum mansion that sits on a terraced hill overlooking the Cape Fear River. The tall cupola capping the roof like an Italian bell tower, was considered to be a status symbol. Only three homes have them. Armand de Rosset was a French Huguenot who came to Wilmington in 1737. His grandson, Dr de Rosset III, attended medical school in Philadelphia, and returned to practice medicine. He donated land which became Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington's first large burial ground, located just outside of town. In 1855, tragically his 6 year old daughter was the first to be buried there, having died from yellow fever.
Around 1900, the house was converted into apartments. During WWII, the population grew from 30, 000 to 90, 000, mostly shipbuilders. The De Rosset House became a 'rent-a-bed' with about 325 people staying there each day. 243 vessels were built between 1941 and 1945.
The house is now a private dinner club, known as the City Club.