ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Louisiana
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Louisiana
Rosedown Plantation
Famed for its long avenue of live oaks and
magnificent gardens, Rosedown Plantation is the
centerpiece of a Louisiana State Historic Site.
Rosedown Plantation
The gardens at Rosedown
Plantation are a masterpiece
of landscape architecture and
cover 28 acres.
Rosedown Plantation House
Construction began on the
main house at Rosedown in
1834. It survived the Civil War
and is beautifully restored.
The Avenue of Oaks
The beautiful lane of canopy
oaks leading to the house is
spectacular and serves to
frame the antebellum home.
Rosedown Plantation St. Historic Site - St. Francisville, Louisiana
Rosedown Plantation & Gardens
Winter Blooms at Rosedown
The stunning gardens offer
year-round color. A beautiful
camellia bloom stands out
against dark green in January.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Few real places anywhere capture the image
of the "Old South" as much as Rosedown
Plantation State Historic SIte in historic
St.Francisville, Louisiana.

Part of the noted "plantation corridor" that
stretches from Natchez, Mississippi, south
into Louisiana, Rosedown is known to both
lovers of history and lovers of scenic beauty
for its magnificent gardens and stunning
avenue of live oaks. A place where the house
almost takes second seat to the grounds,
Rosedown is, according to the National Park
Service, "one of the most intact, documented
examples of a domestic plantation complex
in the South."

The plantation began to grow long before the
house itself was built. The original parcel
was part of a Spanish Land Grant issued
when the "Florida Parishes" east of the
Mississippi River and south of the 31st
Parallel were still under the control of Spain.
Seven additional purchases from the 1820s
to the 1840s created a massive cotton farm
of 3,455 acres.

When Daniel and Martha Barrow Turnbull
began construction on the main house in
1834, they named it Rosedown after a play
they enjoyed on their honeymoon. The house
took one year to complete and was designed
in the Federal-Greek revival style. Two
Grecian style wings were added in around

The avenue or "allee" of oak trees leading to
the house is 660-feet long, the unique length
reflecting land survey techniques of the 19th
century when property was measured in 66-
foot long chains. The allee, in other words, is
10 chains long.

A complex of other structures, including a
Greek temple style doctor's office, were built
around the main house, which served not
only as a private home, but as the center of a
thriving and successful plantation. Many of
these survive, including a hot house, milk
shed, kitchen, barn and the doctor's office.
Please click here to see a downloadable
map of the grounds.

Plantation records indicate that Rosedown
was home to as many as 450 African
American slaves. Most of these worked in the
fields of the farm, cultivating cotton and
carrying out other labors, although some
worked in the main house and others helped
with the magnificent gardens. By 1860, 145
slaves lived on the farm in 25 houses that
formed a large size community.

The earliest record of the gardens dates to
1836, when Martha Turnbull began a garden
diary. Her inspiration led to the creation of a
magnificent example of 19th century
landscape architecture.

The gardens grew over the years to include
28 acres and feature fountains, winding
paths, summer houses, statuary and a
stunning array of ornamental plants and
flowers and were one of the largest private
formal gardens of the 19th century.
One of the first plantings of camellias in the
Deep South took place at Rosedown and the
beautiful blooms grace the gardens to this
day. Martha Turnball relied heavily on plants
imported from the Orient as she designed
and expanded the gardens. Her azaleas and
crepe myrtles were brought from Asia via
long sea voyages.

The family continued to live at Rosedown
Plantation during the Civil War, despite the
massive siege and battle that took place just
a short distance away at
Port Hudson. Daniel
Turnbull died in 1862, but family members
continued to occupy the house until the

Now a Louisiana state historic site, the
house and the gardens have been restored
to their original form. In many cases, modern
examples of original plants could not be
found so gardeners propagated from original
stock. With a focus on restoration instead of
recreation, the plantation now looks virtually
as it did 150 years ago.

Located on Louisiana Highway 10 in St.
Francisville, Rosedown Plantation State
Historic Site is open to the public daily from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours are offered on the
hour, with the last tour beginning at 4 p.m.
VIsitors can also walk the beautiful gardens
for self-guided tours.

Entrance fees are $10 for adults, $8 for
senior citizens (62 and older) and $4 for
students (6-17). Children under 5 are
admitted free.
Please click here to visit the
official website for more information.
Doctor's Office at Rosedown
Built in Greek temple style,
the doctor's office reflects the
realities of life in the 19th
century, when fevers and
diseases were commonplace.