Ann Scott, Betty Ruward, Mary Dye and Joyce Wolff discovered that Sue Downs was right – Rosemount Mansion in Pueblo is a jewel. We four were waiting at the door at 10:00 am one day last week to tour this breathtakingly beautiful old home decorated for Christmas, as it is every year. Ladies in period costume welcomed us into the tiny gift shop where we were introduced to our docent. A large group of young school children were waiting to leave after their special early morning visit. There were about seven of us in the hour-long conducted tour that took us through room after opulent room. There wasn't nearly time to see and appreciate it all. The ladies following us were the local Red Hat Society, adding a Fauve touch as they wove their way amongst the rooms.
The 24,000 square foot mansion, built from 1891 – 1893, for the John A. Thatcher family, belonged to the family until 1968 when John's son, Raymond, died. It was then transferred to the Rosemount Foundation, which has owned and run it since. It is supported by donations, grants, and Rosemount volunteers. Because the property went directly from the family to the Foundation the bottom floors still contain the original furnishings from the Thatcher era. The original velvet drapes from 1893 hang in the beautiful dining room, which could accommodate 36 guests.
John's wife, Margaret, was an accomplished artist who loved roses – hence the name, Rosemount. The rose theme is seen in many of the rooms, many decorated in rose shades of pink. Examples of Mrs. Thatcher's art work are everywhere. The many pieces of china upon which she painted delicate clusters of flowers, mostly roses, are exquisite. The architectural detail is crafted from a different wood in each room: most shades golden and warm. The ceilings were usually painted in light colors frequently depicting garlands of flowers. The library contains several first editions, including a Charles Dickens; consequently the room was decorated in a Dickens theme with nearly life-size Dickens period figures. Each room has been decorated in a fashion that complements the furnishings.
The home had a call system with call speakers and buttons appearing everywhere even one under the end of the dining room table. Messages were relayed to a bank of speakers in the kitchen adjoining the butler's pantry: quite Upstairs, Downstairs. Water was pumped manually up the hill, upon which the mansion is situated, then into a 2,000 gallon tank in the attic. Gravity feed provided water flow throughout the house.
The bedrooms still contain personal effects from the family. There are displays here and there that are museum-like but for the most part the placing of the artifacts appears uncontrived. The usual displays have been moved into storage to make room for the lavish holiday decorations. It was hard for me to imagine the house unadorned; it seemed it should just stay that way throughout the year. Perhaps instead of seeing it for the first time in holiday finery it should be visited earlier in the year then revisited in December.
If I write more here I will only repeat the information you can find on the lovely Rosemount Website (www.rosemount.org).
After some time searching for Christmas trinkets (already on sale) in the Rosemount gift shop we walked across the property to the vintage carriage house cum eatery not surprisingly called The Carriage House Restaurant also charmingly decorated for Christmas. We ordered from a varied lunch menu, the atmosphere was pleasant, and the service good (although we were competing with all those Red Hats).
We spent the afternoon in and out of the many and various little shops on the river Walk. This renewed area of downtown Pueblo is coming along. The space around the water has been landscaped with pretty bronze sculptures and benches spotted here and there. A little coffee kiosk sits beside the bridge. The area, the little pond and the public restrooms were exceptionally clean.
It was a great day-out. We plan to make it a yearly tradition. Plan to join us. Perhaps we can outnumber the red and purple ladies.