Location: Gloucester, Virginia
National Register of Historic Places
Built between 1725-1737 by Mann Page I and his son Mann Page II, Rosewell was the grandest building of Colonial America. Owing to its massive size, Rosewell was always a burden on the Page’s finances, and in 1839 it was sold out of the family. In 1916, the mansion was gutted by fire, and only the masonry walls remained standing. From this point forward the ruin sat abandoned to the elements and slowly decayed. In 1943, an explosion at the nearby Naval Mine Depot weakened the south wall and it later collapsed during a hurricane. A windstorm in 1974 toppled large portions of the north and west walls, and vandals robbed the exquisitely decorative frontice piece and water table constructed of hand molded bricks. Rosewell had fallen victim to the ravages of nature, time, and neglect.
In 2004, the Foundation commissioned Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects to provide a Conservation Assessment of the ruins which included a brief history, on-site investigation, and a description of the elements needed for a full stabilization plan. Following the report’s guidelines, the Rosewell Foundation commissioned a photogrammetric survey of the ruin which included CAD drawings of each floor plan and interior and exterior elevations as the foundation began assembling funds for the full stabilization plan. In 2007, the foundation called upon MCWB to head up a team of experts in formulating the Blueprint for Preservation of the Ruins at Rosewell.
In the summer of 2007, MCWB surveyed and photographed every viewable wall surface of the ruin while suspended in a platform from an eighty foot crane. The findings were compiled into the Rosewell Survey, a comprehensive volume of photographs, conditions surveys, problems of repair, and general observations about the ruin. From the Rosewell Survey a full stabilization plan was composed, prioritizing areas of work, listing general repairs required, and providing recommendations for future interventions to make the ruin more accessible and viewable by the public
Over the past few years MCWB has been at the forefront of recording historic structures using the most advanced technologies available. MCWB has recently recorded the Rosewell mansion ruins at a very high level of detail and accuracy as a preamble to the upcoming repair and stabilization work now being planned for the ruins.