Rosson House Museum
Heritage Square in Phoenix, Arizona
Jen's Note: It's that time of year for snow birds and visitors to flock to Arizona. Jokingly, we rename our home "Hotel Barber" from October to April every year. Only the brave will visit in the summer!
This past month, I was very fortunate to have my best friend from college come visit me. Jodi and I met at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, both majored in Journalism, and were "Big Sis/Lil Sisters" at Chi Omega. She and her mom, Judy, have not been to Arizona before and I was more than happy to take on the role as "tour guide." I get just as much out of these adventures with friends and family as they do because I rarely leave the West Valley.
After the usual historic tour of Goodyear and the West Valley, I thought it would be fun to visit the Rosson House in Phoenix - a museum I've walked past on numerous occasions, but never had the time to tour.
I think it's safe to say we all enjoyed the museum!
About: The Rosson House is a fully restored Queen Anne Victorian home. Originally built in 1895, it's changed hands several times. The City of Phoenix took on a project to restore the home in 1974. It's one of the 8, must-see, historic homes located in Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix.
The house cost $7,500 to build in 1895. It cost $750,000 to restore in 1975.
The Story: Flora Murray, coming from an affluent family, purchased the land the home sits on from her half sister in 1882 for a mere $1,000. Flora's husband, Roland Lee Rosson, was a medical practitioner with high hopes of a political career. In fact, Dr. Rosson was elected Mayor of Phoenix - during the building boom - in 1895. He served a brief 10 months in office.
The Rossons were prominent members in the community and used the home to entertain - and impress. I was amazed to see Dr. Rosson's office had been restored to showcase the antique medical tools typical of the time. (Whew! After seeing that, I am even more grateful for modern day anesthesia!)
Georgia Valeer, who lived in the home as a child during the early 1900's, says Governor Hunt - Arizona's first governor - would stop at the home as it was located half way between the capital and his own home. Georgia gives a wonderful historical perspective on living in the home in this Eight/KAET PBS feature.
The Tour: A volunteer tour guide took us through the home in about an hour. She was helpful and patient answering our questions. The tour actually ends in the Heritage Gallery with the "Victorian Secrets - A Glimpse of the Unmentionable." Your tour guide will tell you about the clothing style at the time in relation to moral values. You'll have to visit to find out how the modern bike changed women's underwear!
Jen's review: I personally enjoyed learning about the various families and children who lived in the home. Now I know why a living room is called a 'living' room and why a funeral parlor is called a funeral 'parlor.' It's difficult to imagine how anyone survived the Arizona summers without air conditioning... especially given the clothing worn at the time.
The best part of the day was spending it with friends!
Nearby: After our tour, Judy, Jodi and I stopped for lunch in Heritage Square. (I give my guests the choice between Pizzeria Bianco and The Rose and Crown. Both have great food and atmospheres.)
We made a quick trip through the Arizona Science Center. (After taking my daughter to the center several times, I have finally mastered the Mind Ball game. Sorry Jodi! The only way to win is to envision sitting on the shores of Hawaii with an umbrella drink in hand!) My Nebraska friends got a huge kick out of the Forces of Nature exhibit considering they live the "dynamic weather" patterns year-round. As odd as it is, this is how we teach our Arizona kids about the Earth's weather.
CONNECT WITH THE ROSSON HOUSE MUSEUM IN PHOENIX
ON THE WEB
PHONE: (602) 262-5070
Tuesdays - School Field Trips and Group Tours only
Wednesday through Saturday - Open at 10:00am
Last tour starts at 3:00pm
Sunday - Open at 12:00pm
Last tour starts at 3:00pm
New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day
$7.50 for adults
$6.50 for seniors/military/AAA/Students
$4.00 for children
**View an Eight, Arizona PBS video about the Rosson House Museum here.**
YouTube video posted: November 1, 2013
*Jen's Disclaimer: Hours, prices, and availability subject to change. Please call ahead before visiting the museum.