A Museum is Born...
The Historic Rossetter House Museum is a project of the Florida Historical Society, Inc. and The Rossetter House Foundation, Inc. The museum comprises the 1908 James Wadsworth Rossetter House and gardens, 1901 William P. Roesch House, and the 1865 Houston Family Memorial Cemetery.
The Rossetter Family arrived in Eau Gallie in 1902; a family already deeply rooted in Florida history with connections reaching into the colonial era. Like other Florida pioneer families they had made their livelihood on the frontier from Jacksonville to the south along the St. Johns River and coastal waterways.
Eau Gallie was founded in the 1850s around a variety of agricultural ventures including sugar cane, rice, and citrus groves. By 1893 it had become the southern end of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway attracting new visitors from the north. When James Rossetter built his home on Highland Avenue in 1908, Eau Gallie with a population of about 200 people, had a hotel and thriving commercial district on the Indian River.
Raising a family of five children Rossetter became a leading merchant in the fishing industry and agent for the Standard Oil Company. Nearby the family graves of the Houston family plantation served as a reminder of the humble beginnings of the community. Across the street, long time Eau Gallie resident and neighbor William Roesch also raised his family, serving the community as postmaster, newspaper publisher, and mayor.
At a young age Carrie P. Rossetter took responsibility for the family home and the Standard Oil Distribution business. The oldest child at the passing of her father, in 1921, Carrie dedicated her energy to seeing her family survive with the beginning of the 1920s in Eau Gallie. Her story is one of great success against many challenges. Seventy years later, Carrie with sister Ella F. Rossetter sought to secure the preservation of their family home, family history, and legacy of the Eau Gallie area, with a bequest to make their property a historical monument.
Today the Rossetter House and surrounding properties stand as a living reminder of Florida’s past and the people who made it home in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. The Rossetter House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available daily during operating hours.