Rosson House was built in 1895 in an unlikely place, Phoenix, AZ. It’s about the only survivor from this era and is unusual in that it’s made of brick. The Rosson family had been living in an adobe dwelling, so this must have been quite a step forward for an army doctor and his family. They were rich enough to erect a Victorian Queen Anne-style mansion and spent a bit more than $7,500 to build it, which would be rent money for a month for many people today in places like Seattle or the cost of a cruise. They moved into this house the year Dr. Rossen became mayor of Phoenix.
Today, this survivor stands in block 14 of the original Phoenix townsite. This block contains 6 or so other early Phoenix residences, but none of them are from the 19th century, making Rossen House unique. Its restorers paid special attention to detail, so this house is an exceptional example of an atypical, tourable Phoenix house. If seeing very old mansions from past eras, parquet/pine floors, an elaborate catalog staircase, and a period sewing room is your thing, you will love Rosson House. If not, you will admire it but be bored.
Rosson House has survived for the usual reasons. The Rossons rented it out to snowbirds and only owned it for 2 years. Rosson maintained a doctor’s office on the first floor. A succession of families moved in but didn’t stay long, except for the Gammels. They lived in it until after World War II and then turned it into apartments. It was a boarding house when Phoenix recognized its Historic Places potential and painstakingly restored it.
Heritage Square and Science Park between 5th and 7th Streets near downtown Phoenix contains all of the 19th century structures that are still around. There are small museums, restaurants, and a botanical garden in this urban complex that shows a lot of civic pride. Festivals and community meetings are held here as Phoenix continues to grow.
This is the last remaining residential block from Phoenix’s distant past. Ruth and I saw it just after the coldest day here since the 19th century. Just north of Phoenix, Prescott, AZ had 28 inches of snow in 24 hours.