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History of the City Club

After purchasing the property at the northeast corner of Second and Dock Streets, Armond John de Rosset III began construction in April, 1841 and moved his wife and then five children into the mansion in the spring of 1842.


The de Rossets were fond of entertaining, so architectural plans for the house were designed to
accommodate the many social events they hosted. But the original house proved to be too small for the
parties and cotillions they planned, to say nothing of their children who now totaled 11. In 1854, Dr. de
Rosset introduced gas lighting to the mansion while constructing the wing on the northeast corner. At
the same time a brick outbuilding was added for the carriages, cows, and servants quarters.


The de Rosset family lived happily in their home until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1961, when Dr. de Rosset deemed it necessary to move the family inland to Chapel Hill, NC. Although the de Rosset House was not damaged by Federal troops, the lack of maintenance during the war and lack of money

for maintenance following the war forced Dr. De Rosset to sell the house in 1882. The next few
decades saw the de Rosset House spiral downward from a wonderful antebellum mansion to
dilapidated apartments. Fortunately, the Historic Wilmington Foundation purchased the property and
began its efforts to stabilize the building.

Today, 165 years after Armand de Rosset envisioned his elegant house, the de Rosset House has been
restored with remodeling and modernization, one that de Rosset himself might have imagined. After all,
the purpose today is the same as back then, to provide an elegant, exclusive mansion in which to
entertain and be entertained.


Today’s guests can summon up the ghost of yesterday’s society,

enjoy the terraces, gardens, elegant furnishings, food and drinks,

and relive Armand de Rosset’s dream.

The de Rosset home before preservation by the Historic Wilmington Foundation in 1975.

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