Rose Hill Mansion FAQs

How old is the house? Who built it?

The Greek Revival Mansion was built in 1839 by William Kerley Strong. The Carriage House Visitor Center and Gift Shop is Strong’s former carriage house which was created out of the oldest structure on the property, the c. 1809 house of Robert Rose. The Swan family lived on the property from 1850-1890.

Did enslaved workers live at Rose Hill?

Yes. Slavery was legal in New York State until 1827 . The second resident on the property Robert Rose emigrated from Virginia in 1803 with his extended family and 75 enslaved African-Americans. Rose owned 37 of the enslaved workers.  Most of the enslaved workers were farm laborers.  There were also skilled carpenters, a nursemaid, and a cook.  Between 1810 and 1820, 28 enslaved workers were freed.  The buildings  which were the slave quarters are no longer standing.

Research into the lives of enslaved workers at Rose Hill is ongoing.  Based on our current knowledge, below is a list of the enslaved workers at Rose Hill from 1803 to 1827:

Aggy Gaten (wife of Charles Kenney)

Aunt Dinah

Aunt Judy Gaten

Berlet Kenney (child of Aggy and Charles)

Billy Nicholas


Ceaser Gaten

Charles Kenney (husband of Aggy Gaten)

Dangerfield Lee

David Kenney

David Lee

Edmond Lee

Emily Douglas (child of Phillis and Henly)

Garrett Kenney

Geo. Gaton

Godfrey Gaten

Henly Douglas (husband of Phillis Kenney)

Henry Douglas (child of Phillis and Henly)

Henry Gaten

Jenny Kenney (child of Aggy and Charles)

John Gaten

John Kenney

Lucy Nicholas

Margaret Douglas (child of Phillis and Henly)

Maria/Mary Gaten

Nancy Kenney (child of Aggy and Charles)

Peter Lincoln

Phillis Kenney (wife of Henly Douglas)

Tom Gaten


Can I see the house without a guided tour?

No, the interior of the house may be viewed only by guided tour. During operating hours the Carriage House Visitor Center and Gift Shop are free and open to the public.

Is Rose Hill wheelchair accessible?

Rose Hill Mansion has limited wheelchair access.

Visitors with limited mobility may park in the bus loop in front of the Visitor Center for closer access to the mansion’s entrance. The Visitor Center has restrooms up one step, and wheelchair accessible restrooms are in an outbuilding off of the main parking area behind the Visitor Center.

Access around the grounds and house is over gravel drives, slate walkways, and uneven grass.

There are 5 steps up to the main entrance of the house.  The house is wheelchair accessible by a ramp off the back porch. The house is wheelchair accessible on the first floor only. The kitchen is down two steps from the main part of the house. Thresholds between some rooms are slightly raised. There are 20 stairs to the second floor. An informational binder and seating is provided for those who cannot see the upstairs section of the tour in the Visitor Center or in the mansion’s kitchen.

The Carpenter Shop is not wheelchair accessible and must be accessed by 5 steps.

The Visitor Center is partially accessible and the first floor of the mansion is wheelchair accessible with temporary ramps. We have one wheelchair accessible bathroom on site. Images of the second floor rooms are available for viewing in the Visitor Center. Please call and let us know your needs, if you anticipate difficulties accessing the buildings and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Are the grounds open to the public?

The grounds are open to the public year round during daylight hours.

Is the house air conditioned?

No, the house is heated, but not air conditioned. It can be very warm inside in hot weather. In addition, despite central heating, the house can be cooler inside than outside, especially in the early summer and late fall.

Is Rose Hill a government-owned site?

Rose Hill Mansion is owned and operated by Historic Geneva, a private non-profit corporation, which receives some funding from the City and Town of Geneva and the New York State Council on the Arts.  

Based on its architecture the mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  The mansion was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Can you take pictures or video of Rose Hill?

As long as they are for personal and not commercial use, photographs and video can be taken of the house and grounds. Photographs inside the house must be taken without the use of a flash.

Do you take donations? How can you support Rose Hill Mansion?

Yes. Please see our Support page for more information.

Do you accept credit cards?

We accept Mastercard and Visa.