The Rosson House

Historic Building Fact Sheet

the rosson house in downtown phoenix from street level

The Rosson House viewed from Monroe Street in Downtown Phoenix. (Feb. 2023) Photo credit: Jake Case

Need to Know Info

Address113 North 6th Street, Phoenix, Arizona
Coordinates33°27′0.72″N 112°3′57.6″W
Date Added to NRHPJune 3, 1971

The Rosson House, built in 1894-1895 in the Stick-Eastlake Queen Anne Victorian style and designed by architect A.P. Petit, was originally the home of Dr. Roland Lee Rosson and Flora Murray Rosson before changing ownership multiple times, falling into disrepair, and eventually being restored by the City of Phoenix in 1974 as a historic house museum in Heritage Square.

As an early example of fired brick and wood construction in Phoenix, the Rosson House now offers public tours showcasing its multicultural architectural elements and the history of its former residents.

The In-Depth Story

The Rosson House: A Victorian Gem in Downtown Phoenix

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, the Rosson House stands as a captivating remnant of the city’s rich architectural heritage. Located at 113 North 6th Street, on the corner of Monroe Street, this historic house museum in Heritage Square offers visitors a glimpse into the opulent Victorian era.

Constructed between 1894 and 1895, the Rosson House exemplifies the Stick-Eastlake – Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture. Its design, the final masterpiece of the renowned San Francisco architect A. P. Petit before his untimely death, seamlessly blends elements from various cultures. The Asian-inspired moon gate, Italianate hooded windows, and a French octagonal turret create a visually striking and unique aesthetic.

The house was originally commissioned by Dr. Roland Lee Rosson and his wife, Flora Murray Rosson, who had acquired the land known as Block 14 in 1882. Dr. Rosson, a prominent figure in Phoenix’s early days, not only established himself as a respected physician and surgeon but also ventured into the realm of politics, serving as the county coroner, treasurer, and even the mayor of Phoenix in 1895, although his tenure was cut short due to difficulties with the city council.

The Rosson family resided in the house from its completion in early 1895 until they sold it and moved to Los Angeles in June 1897, possibly due to financial difficulties or seeking better educational opportunities for their children. Tragically, Dr. Rosson passed away in Los Angeles in 1898, while Flora Murray Rosson lived until 1911.

Over the years, the Rosson House changed hands multiple times, with notable owners including the prominent Jewish couple Aaron and Carrie Goldberg, and the Higley family, whose son Chet was born in the house. However, it was the Gammel family who owned and lived in the Rosson House the longest, from 1914 to 1948, operating it as a rooming and boarding house.

rosson house historic photo

A historic photo of the Rosson House, from the Historic American Buildings Survey (date unknown), courtesy of the Library of Congress.

As time passed, the once-grand residence fell into disrepair, eventually becoming a “flop house.” Recognizing its historical significance, the City of Phoenix purchased the Rosson House and the remainder of Block 14 in 1974, initiating a community-driven restoration effort to return the house to its former glory.

Today, the Rosson House stands as a testament to Phoenix’s architectural heritage, an early example of fired brick and wood construction in a city where adobe was once prevalent. Visitors can marvel at its intricate details and learn about the lives of its former residents through guided tours offered by the Heritage Square Foundation and Guild.

Beyond the Rosson House, Downtown Phoenix boasts several other notable brick landmarks from the same era, including the John T. Dennis mansion (demolished in the 1950s), the M. Jacobs house, the Columbus Gray house, and the J.Y.T. Smith House. Additionally, smaller concrete block homes by J.J. Welty, as well as brick hotels and the Clark Churchill mansion, contribute to the city’s diverse architectural tapestry.

Step into the Rosson House, and be transported back in time to an era of grandeur and sophistication, where every detail whispers stories of Phoenix’s rich past. This Victorian gem, a beloved part of the city’s Heritage and Science Park, is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and architecture aficionados alike.

NRHP Reference #: 71000112