When it was built more than 200 years ago, Rosedale Plantation presided over more than 900 acres three miles outside of Charlotte.

Today, it sits on about 9 acres on North Tryon Street. If not in the actual heart of uptown Charlotte, it’s still an urban oasis—and a chance to travel back to a time when Charlotte didn’t even have a newspaper (to see why that’s important, keep reading.)

Rosedale was completed in 1815 by Archibald Frew. And because of the extravagance of the design and construction—especially in contrast to the neighboring farmers who lived in log cabins with dirt floors—it became known as Frew’s Folly.

Today, Frew’s Folly is your chance to walk through a time when America was young, rural and wide open. And, as Rosedale was a plantation, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the enslaved people, like Cherry and Nat, who lived and worked here.

The three-story structure is filled with fine details, including molding that was carved piece by piece to form a gorgeous garland border that decorates the front room, plus “Paris” yellow trim on the exterior, faux painted panelling, hand-carved fireplaces and the original French hand-blocked wallpaper. All of it has been restored to its original luster.

As was the custom, a newspaper from the time was hidden within the mortar of the fireplace to mark the completion date. Since Charlotte had no newspaper at the time, the paper Frew used was from Richmond, VA. A portion of the paper, along with Frew’s signature, has been saved and framed.

Even if you never set foot in the house, you’ll be inspired and soothed by Rosedale’s grounds, which featured the Big Tree Museum and countless native plants. It’s been designated an Advanced Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and a member of the Butterfly Highway, which is “a roadmap for pollinators & wildlife conservation”.