Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rosedale, the Historic Estate in Washington DC

Pictured left is my pug dog, Picadou, a little tuckered out after her walk at Rosedale, when we were visiting just the other day. Rosedale plays an important part in my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, because it was the family home of (prince) Agustín de Iturbide y Green's mother and, later, his home for many years, on and off, until it was sold in the early 20th century.

As I recount in the epilogue of my novel, "The Story of the Story or, An Epilogue by Way of Acknowledgements," when I first began researching the novel in the late 1990s, there was nothing-- and I mean absolutely nothing-- available on-line about Rosedale.

I found my way into the story by visitng the Historical Society of Washington DC, where I came upon the privately published and beautifully researched book by Louise Mann-Kenney, Rosedale: The Eighteenth Century Country Estate of General Uriah Forrest, Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C. (1989).

Some other relevant works include Historic Homes in Washington: Its Noted Men and Women by Mary S. Lockwood (NY: Belford Company, 1889); Cleveland Park, an Early Residential Neighborhood of the Nation's Capital by Grace Dunlop Peter and Joyce D. Southwick, and Old Georgetown on the Potomac by Henry Ridgely Evans, Washington DC 1933, which includes the author's personal memoir of his friendship with Agustín de Iturbide y Green, beginning as boys in Georgetown in the late 1860s.

Rosedale, Washington DC  Photo: C.M. Mayo
In addition, in the Historical Society of Washington DC's library and other Washingtonian libraries, I found several newspaper articles about Rosedale and the family, a few of which mentioned previously unknown details about the tangle with Maximilian von Habsburg.

[Pictured left is my snapshot taken in the winter of 2000, when Rosedale was still serving as a dormitory for the Youth for Understanding Foundation. It has since been painted a rich honey-yellow and is now a privately-owned residence within the Rosedale Conservancy.]

My research concluded a few years ago; no doubt these libraries have many new articles about Rosedale not listed here. There was a spate of publicity a decade ago, when Elián González, a Cuban boy whose custody was in dispute, found refuge at Rosedale, though, curiously, in not one of the many articles did I find any mention of Rosedale's history with another child whose custody was in dispute: Agustín de Iturbide y Green. (Really, I find that a headshaker.) Subsequently, a few years ago, Rosedale was in the local press again when a dedicated association of neighbors saved it and a small portion of the grounds-- now a community dog park-- from development. The Rosedale Conservancy-- the organization's website-- includes many photos and more information about Rosedale.

Herewith, a list of those older articles focussing on Rosedale:

+++In the Historical Society of Washington DC Library

November 16, 1947, "The President and Mrs Cleveland" by John Clagett Proctor, The Sunday Star

September 1, 1944, "Historic Landmarks of Cleveland Park," by John Clagett Proctor, The Sunday Star

And: a large map showing "Mrs Green" (which is Rosedale) on the Defences of Washington, Extract of Military Map of N.E. Virginia, War Department, 1865

+++In the Martin Luther King Library's Washintongtonia Room

*March 27, 1932, "A Relic of Antiquity," by Gilbert G. La Gorce, The Washington Post
This article is the most detailed. It claims that Alice Green was a youngest child, but this is incorrect (according to a Green family genealogy).

April 1933 (no date), "Phillips' Lease Famous Old Home" Washington Herald

March 23, 1941, "A Might-Have Been Empress Who Lives in Georgetown," by Jane McIlvane, Times-Herald
A very detailed article based on an interview with Agustín de Iturbide y Green's widow, Louise Kearney Iturbide. Erroneously states that upon their marriage in 1915 they lived in her family home, Quality Hill in Georgetown; in fact, the house was sold almost immediately after their marriage and they lived instead at the Pelham Apartments on P St NW, near Dupont Circle.

September 25, 1950 "Cleveland Park's Charm..." by George Kennedy, The Star
A mention with a little detail.

March 28, 1953, "Gen. Forrest's Home Unchaged in 160 years" by E.R. Noderrer, Times-Herald

August 19, 1958, "The Rambler... Visits his Favorite House" by George Kennedy, The Star
Another mention with a little detail.

Spring 1960, Cathedral's New property, Rosedale Estate, Associated with Capital';s Earliest History" by Elizabeth Coonley Faulkner, Cathedral Age

+++Georgetown Public Library's Peabody Room

A terrific resource-- here is where I sat down and read a first edition of Henry Ridgely Evans' memoir, Old Goergetown on the Potomac. They also have a complete collection of Evans' works-- he was a prolific writer, a 33rd Degree Mason, and an expert in magic and occult phenomena.

>>To listen to the podcast of my lecture at the Historical Society of Washington DC, click here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...