Rosemount Plantation: Profile


Physical Appearance
Rosemount, a twenty room mansion, has a portico of six Ionic columns, above which arises a hipped roof to the base of a peripteral temple forming an impressive superstructure.

The platform of the portico is set well back from the brick foundation of the columns. A heavy paneled walnut door, flanked by twin parlors which are large, spacious, high-ceilinged, long-windowed rooms. Beyond this is the great hall. A screen of supports divides the area, and the rear section is a sixty foot cross hall with outside doorways at either extremity.

The long dining room opens into the center of this hall by folding doors and at either end of the dining room are white mantels of Carrara Marble brought from Italy. This dining room has a chamber and dressing rooms on either side, and there are three rooms above them. This is thought to have been the first part of the house built.

The upstairs room over the dining room has outside-type windows opening into the hallway. The indications are that a two-stories porch ran across the front of this long narrow structure, containing the stairway connecting the floors. The supports dividing the great hall appear to be little more than porch posts.

There are six large bedrooms and a large hall on the second floor. The Observatory and Widows walk that form the temple like cupola give wide vistas of farmlands, and it is said that the owners kept watch over the slaves at work in the fields from this vantage point. In early days this observatory was reached by an elevator operated by a pulley.

Exceptionally fine architectural features of Rosemount include the following: the handsomely executed fluted columns with superlative Ionic capitals; the identically fashioned doorways on each of the three-story entrances-sidelights and transom on the main floor are of Ruby Bohemian glass, bearing crystal patterns of flowers and vines; the magnificent woodwork of the four double doors in the large entrance vestibule; and the most elaborate cupola in Alabama.

Rosemount underwent a complete restoration in the 1950s, as a result of having passed into new ownership after being in the Glover family for more than 100 years. The new owners, Mr. and Mrs. Edward DeVesci, did a good job of restoring the house themselves, including plastering, papering, reupholstering and refinishing the floors and woodwork.

Rosemount has received wide acclaim from numerous architects, most of whom consider it one of the most outstanding Greek Revival antebellum mansions in the Alabama.

The commanding cupola and the tasteful use of wooden construction materials are outstanding features of Rosemount. “It (Rosemount)is one of the Deep South’s finest classic compositions done in wood. says J. Frazer Smith.

Well-known architect Clay Lancastor called Rosemount “the most grandly conceived mansion in Alabama, perhaps in the entire Southland.” Ralph Hammond, an authority on Alabama mansions, describes the home as “the Grand Mansion of Alabama”

Rosemount rests on a star-shaped knoll, and forms a natural pattern of land planning which includes a large lake, giant magnolias which border an old-fashioned formal garden, orchards, pasture lands, farm groups and slave quarters. All this may be viewed from (and was the inspiration for) the crowning glory of Rosemount-the cupola. The cupola was reached from the second floor by means of an elevator and was used as a music conservatory. From this cupola not only may the entire estate be seen, but three neighboring counties and the distant shores of the Tombigbee and Black Warrior River’s.

Allen Glover, born in 1770, came with his wife Sarah Sarana Norwood from South Carolina to the black belt region of the Alabama territory in 1818. He apparently first built a house of brick, but black belt soil making such poor quality bricks, he began a new house, Rosemount, in 1832, in wood. Seven years and the help of dozens of slaves were required to complete the house.

Glover had one son, Williamson Allen and several daughters. One of his daughters married Francis Strother Lyon, builder of Bluff Hall in Demopolis, and another, James Innes Thornton, builder of Thornhill near Forkland, both of whom were state officials.

Rosemount’s elegance shows Glover as a man of wealth, culture, and social position; it reveals his efforts to build a house to suit his particular needs rather than one to conform with the conventional plan of the day. One of the most pleasing features of the house is the apparent ease with which it embodies what is best in the design of late Georgian and Classic architecture.

In addition to the information above, two photographs were included of Rosemount taken in the summer of 1972 which are included herein. The side view is one of the better pictures in existence that shows the side profile in a good state of restoration. The early 1970’s automobile provides a good visual reference as to the size of the mansion.

In 1971, the then-owner of Rosemount, filed paperwork with the National Registry of Historic Places to have it placed on the register. A professional team surveyed the site and catalogued the house and property, describing the mansion in more detail than had previously been published. The only other professional review of the house had been conducted during the Historic American Buildings Survey of the 1930’s but without nearly as much descriptive information. The information forms a historic profile of the mansion that is included here. My thanks to Lynne Parker, one of the original responders to my first article, for obtaining this valuable documentation from the NRHP so that I could include it here.

7 thoughts on “Rosemount Plantation: Profile”

  1. My family the Mitchell’s owned Rosemount from the late 70s and did major renovations before selling it to the Lyons in 87/88 your site has broken my heart as I use an original painting of the home as the logo for my company. I have pictures i could share of the home in its glory with the antebellum furnishings

    • Thank you for your comments and response. I am always on the lookout for new photographs and information about Rosemount and as you can see from the comments that have been posted, many descendants of the Glover family who constructed the house are also very interested in it and its future. I would be most happy to receive any photographs that you wish to share and to post them on this site.

      Again, thank you for getting in touch and I look forward to learning even more about this magnificent home.

      J. M. Brewer

      • Amanda Mitchell said:

        How do I send the pictures over? I have them of the renovations done by my family , the pool house, the gardens, tennis courts the details down to the bohemian glass sidelights. Some are polaroid and I’m in process of scanning.
        Amanda Mitchell

      • I have sent you an email just now on how to send pictures to me. I’ll be glad to publish any you would like to share. Thanks again!
        J. M. Brewer

  2. Elaine T. Cole said:

    My 2nd great grandmother, Lizzie Little may have been a slave there. She was born in Forkland Greene Alabama in 1849 and was a mulatto. I would like to know where there is a list of slaves for this plantation.

  3. Carolyn Cagle Crum said:

    My name is Carolyn Crum (Cagle) who owned Rosemount in the mid to late 1970’s. I purchased Rosemount from Joe Simpson, Birmingham, AL. Mr. Simpson owned the house for 20 years, after Mrs. DeVesci. He did not live in the house nor do I believe he worked on the house. He came down on weekends to sit on the front porch and write poetry. He kept a caretaker on the property to keep vandals away. There was no kitchen in the house. The outdoor kitchen lay in shambles on the ground back of the dining room. We built a kitchen in one of the bedrooms on the northside and a laundry room in the butler’s pantry. I had an elderly yard man named Joe Early. Joe was born at Rosemount from a line of slaves, and as a young boy he attended to Ms Amelia’s fireplace (last Glover descendent to live there). He said that I was reincarnated Ms. Amelia and that she had made life miserable for him as a boy and I had come to make it miserable in his old age! I fell in love with Rosemount and feel now that I was merely an instrument to put her into the right hands for love and restoration. I sold Rosemount to David and Jennifer Mitchell

    • Thank you so much for your response and I am glad you found my blog. It is always great when someone with a direct history to Rosemount adds to the story of this great house. I also appreciate you solving the mystery of what happened to the kitchen. I was never sure about the original kitchen and was certain that one of the other rooms must have been used. Little by little the pieces all come together. Please share any other stories you would like about your time at Rosemount. They will be enjoyed by the many people who have a special connection to this beautiful home!

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