History Of Rosemary Hall
Rosemary Hall, the stunning estate built on the hills of North Augusta, South Carolina, overlooks the town center, the Savannah River and downtown Augusta, Georgia. Listed in the National Registry of Historic Places in America, this meticulously crafted mansion became the residence of North Augusta's founder and developer, James U. Jackson, in 1902.
Mr. Jackson designed Rosemary to echo the classic Southern style of the antebellum era, giving the mansion twelve stately Corinthian columns, large plantation windows and a sweeping wraparound veranda. The home's interior architecture and décor, however, reflect the Gilded Age in which the construction occurred; most notably the embellishment of paneled ceilings and walls, an elaborate English staircase complete with large lighted Newell posts, luxurious moldings, immense pocket doors and custom stained glass throughout.
For construction of the home, Jackson ordered thirty train cars loaded with lumber, just to build the massive structure. Craftsman inspected each piece and discarded any that contained a knot hole. He wanted his beloved residence built to the highest level of perfection.
For the interior's splendor, Jackson utilized the very rare and expensive rosemary pine. Jackson personally hand-selected each piece of this exquisite wood to achieve the optimum burl and luster he desired. So proud of his masterpiece, he named the mansion Rosemary Hall, after the exclusive wood and its grand presence.
After Rosemary's completion, Jackson moved his adored wife Edith Barrington King Jackson and their five children from Augusta, to their new home. They were, in chronological order, Walter Mixer, (from Jackson's first marriage to Minnie Falligant, who died in 1883) Daisy King, Edith Barrington, James Urquart Jr. and John Williams.
In the early years, the Jacksons enjoyed raising their children and entertaining many friends lavishly in their opulent estate. Dignitaries, politicians and northern industrialists who stayed at Jackson's Hampton Terrace Hotel became guests at Rosemary Hall. Many visited the mansion including John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Marshall Field, Harvey Firestone, Robert Lincoln, E.B. Harriman, Ty Cobb and President Woodrow Wilson, who spent his youth as a friend of James. President Howard Taft celebrated Christmas day in Rosemary Hall while on his inaugural tour in 1908.
Both Jackson daughters chose to marry at home with elaborate festivities. Each wedding received glowing accounts in the society pages. The Augusta Chronicle noted the vast multitudes of flowers used throughout the first floor and veranda and the "myriads of tiny electric lights illuminating around the columns, shining like a stream of so many diamonds." Edith married James Bishop Alexander in 1913 and Daisy married A. Baudry Moore in 1915.
After the death of James U. Jackson in 1925, three of the five children continued to live at Rosemary along with their spouses, children, and Mrs. Jackson. The home became comfortably converted into apartments for each family. Edith Barrington King Jackson died in 1955 and lays to rest alongside her husband at Sunset Hill Cemetery in North Augusta.
Daisy King Jackson Moore lived with her daughter Mary on the first floor. She and her sister Edith created the first dance studio of North Augusta in the Ladies' Parlor. Edith taught ballet and modern dance while Daisy, an accomplished pianist, accompanied the lessons. Daisy, who had studied piano in New York and even performed at Carnegie Hall, also taught private piano lessons in the parlor. She died in 1967.
Youngest son John Williams, an attorney, married Caroline Best of Augusta in 1928. She bore him two sons, but the couple later divorced. John Williams continued living upstairs until his death in 1978.
The Jackson member to reside at Rosemary the longest, Edith Barrington Jackson Alexander, lived on the second floor, along with her husband "Bish" and five children. Edith studied art at the Lucy Cobb Institute, which is now part of the University of Georgia, and became an acclaimed painter of portraits and flowers. For fifty-two years she led an extensive after school study of art to hundreds of children and adults from the area, in her upstairs studio.
Maintaining her beloved Rosemary Hall and the family legacy remained foremost in the heart of Mrs. Alexander. But the home had gone into total disrepair over the years and became an impossible task for her, both physically and monetarily. Shortly before her death, Edith shared with a close friend and former student her dying wish for her home. "She asked the Lord to restore her Rosemary to the beauty, grandeur and love that was there when she was a young girl." She died in her home in 1982.
God is faithful.