One hundred years ago today, the Rosewell mansion in Gloucester was ravaged by a fire that left only the brick shell of the structure that architecture historian Thomas T. Waterman deemed “the largest and finest of American houses of the colonial period.”
Begun by Mann Page I in 1725 and completed by Mann Page II in 1737, the Flemish bond brick mansion stood three stories high over an English basement and had foundation walls that were three and a half feet thick.
The Page family owned the home until 1837. It then passed through three different owners and was the home of Judge Fielding Taylor, his wife and their daughter Nellie when it burned in 1916.
The three were sleeping in second-floor rooms when Nellie was awakened by the smell of smoke and discovered the fire in a room downstairs. The Taylors had entertained a guest in the room earlier, and an ember from the fire that had warmed them is believed to have ignited the blaze.
The Taylor family escaped with thei...
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