Preservation Greensboro Development Fund
The Rossell House In Irving Park is one of eight residential commissions by Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen in Greensboro.
The preservation easement was recorded in August 2018
One of eight residential commissions by Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen in Greensboro has been protected from destruction by its owner, in partnership with the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund. The property has been preserved by Jackie Humphrey. She and her late husband Hugh owned the house since 1968.
The residence was commissioned by Cora and Major John E. Rossell in 1919, and stands as one of the first generation of homes constructed in Irving Park. Major Rossell was a native of Washington DC. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1911, and entered the Army as a Second Lieutenant with the Sixth Infantry. Major Rossell married a Rockingham County NC native, Cora Gallaway Mebane, in 1917. They had two children that were raised in Greensboro.
For the Rossells, Keen designed a handsome two-story frame Colonial Revival dwelling with a gambrel roof and a pent eave. Keen is well-known in North Carolina for his design of Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, but his commissions in Greensboro are among his earliest. Colonial details of the house include a central classical entrance flanked by sidelights with a transom and a charming staircase. Arts and Crafts details include the robust plaster porch columns and large windows.
After the Rossells, Louise Wolf and Herman Cone occupied the house from 1922 until 1937. Cone was the son of Greensboro industrialist Moses Herman Cone, and served as treasurer of Proximity Manufacturing Company and assistant treasurer of the Cone Export & Commission Company. Jackie and Hugh Humphrey acquired the home in 1968 and the structure was inscribed to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Irving Park Historic District in 1994.
In 2016 the house was opened as part of Preservation Greensboro’s Sixth Annual Tour of Historic Homes & Gardens in Irving Park.
A Preservation Easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and the Preservation Greensboro Development Fund that protects the Rossell House as a significant historic and cultural resource in perpetuity. Preservation easements are recognized as the strongest and only perpetual protection available for historic properties. The donation of a preservation easement by Humphrey is a commitment to the permanent protection of the significant historic property. Since the easement is attached to the deed, it binds future owners of the property as well.
“Mrs. Humphrey is committed to the preservation of this house so that future generations can enjoy the craftsmanship and design of Charles Barton Keen,” says Benjamin Briggs of Preservation Greensboro. “The house will join a select few in the city that cannot be destroyed for redevelopment, or have their original features removed. The Preservation Greensboro Development Fund looks forward to working with all future homeowners to make decisions that update or enlarge the house for style and convenience, yet preserve the most important features.”
“This house is certainly one of Greensboro’s most treasured places,” says Briggs, “and now it will be one of our protected places.”
The Preservation Greensboro Development Fund is a charitable holder of easements established in 1988. It is a sister organization of Preservation Greensboro.