Rose Lawn Museum
224 West Cherokee Avenue
Cartersville, GA 30120
Take a step back in time and reconnect with some Bartow County history and culture, as well, at Rose Lawn Museum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the restored Victorian mansion was once home of Samuel Porter Jones, the evangelist for whom Nashville's Union Gospel Tabernacle (Ryman Auditorium) was built. In 1978, the home was purchased by Bartow County and turned into a museum to house the writings and memorabilia of Jones and Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.
It might not be immediately evident, but Rose Lawn began as a small, one-story cottage designed and built in the 1860s. If you look at the front porch, which is a wrap-around version of the Queen Anne style, the entrance is topped by an unusually wide fascia with mirrored swan motif. Looking up, you’ll see the upper porch was the original ground-level porch of the two-story home. This porch is decorated with Chippendale-like trim.
In 1895, construction at the cost of $110 began to raise the existing two floors and add a third floor and basement. The addition built underneath the original structure had 12-foot ceilings and 10-foot double doors leading to most of the rooms. The new first floor contained a parlor, a family music room, a library, two dining rooms, and a kitchen. When completed, Rose Lawn had been transformed into an elegant 18-room mansion and was considered an architectural wonder of its day.
Rose Lawn was named for the 200 rose bushes that once bloomed along the fences and walkways of the 3.5-acre estate. As the grounds are restored, roses once lost are blooming again at Rose Lawn. Original buildings on the grounds included a smoke house, a barbecue house, a school house/study, an additional kitchen, a carriage house, servants’ quarters, a greenhouse, and a well. A barn and tennis courts also once stood on the grounds. Today the school house, smoke house, and carriage house are the only remaining outbuildings. Tours include the carriage house and the school house, which is used for story time.
Tours are offered 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Admission is $4 for Adults and $2 for Students. The house is handicap accessible. Special events are scheduled by appointment only.
Since 1975, Rose Lawn has been the site of an annual Arts Festival. Being held in 2009 on the weekend of September 19&20, the show will feature $1,000 in juried artist awards.
From I-75 in Georgia, take exit 288 (Main Street) to downtown Cartersville. Cross the railroad tracks and continue to the second traffic light. Turn right on Bartow Street and go to the first intersection. Turn left on Cherokee Avenue. Rose Lawn is at the end of the block on your left.
For more information call Rose Lawn at 770-387-5162 or visit the web site www.roselawnmuseum.com.
Photos by Melanie F. Gibbs