Rossetter House Museum

Historic Rossetter House Museum & Gardens

The 1908 Rossetter House and Gardens

The 1892 Roesch House

The 1865 Houston Cemetery

1320 Highland Avenue   Melbourne, FL 32935 (Located in the Eau Gallie Arts District)
 Contact phone: 321-254-9855 or,

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday
11:00am -4:00pm

Tour times are subject to change due to events. 


Rental Spaces

Lawn and Gardens (Large) Two lawns surrounded by palm trees and gardens, includes the shaded patio, and a private brides room.
Ideal for weddings and other large events of 100 guests or less.

Patio (Medium) A shady space tucked away in the Rossetter gardens.
Perfect for medium sized gatherings and events of 30 or less guests.

Parlor (Small) A bright, indoor, air-conditioned space for meetings and small gatherings of 20 or less guests.


Come see the spaces yourself! Schedule a free tour with us of the spaces you are interested in renting.


                                      Ella's Closet Gift Shop

Gifts, local artwork, and books on Florida history. Located in the Roesch House and open during Museum hours.




Contact the museum for more information!



A Museum is Born

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.


Caroline P. Rossetter

     Caroline Postel Rossetter, known as Carrie, was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1898.  Carrie's mother, Ella Maude Rogerio, was born in Palatka, Florida and is descended from early Minorcan families living in and around St. Augustine. Her father, James Wadsworth Rossetter, was an agent for the Florida East Coast Railroad, and a partner in the Indian River and Lake Worth Fishing Company.

     In 1904, a six year old Carrie moved with her family to Eau Gallie, Florida from Jacksonville, Florida. At this time, her father's fish company was one of the largest consumers of gasoline in Eau Gallie. For this reason, James W. Rossetter became the Standard Oil Agent for South Brevard County, and he began shipping gas via his fishing boat. During the early part of the twentieth century, many commercial fishing boats were coverting to gasoline and diesel engines from sail and steam power.

     James W. Rossetter passed away in 1921. Carrie, the oldest of her siblings, had been working with her father for a number of years and decided to take over her father's oil agency. At the tender age of twentythree, Caroline had assumed the responsibilities that had rested on the shoulders of her late father. She worked hard in the first few years to keep the oil agency and to make enough commission to help support her family (mother, younger sister and three younger brothers). This was during the difficult economic period which led to the Great Depression. Carrie's younger brother, James W. Rossetter Jr., helped out during these difficult years, and the family was able to pull through along with the support of the Eau Gallie communitywho had respected and loved James W. Rossetter Sr., as his family did.

     Carrie was the first woman to hold the position of oil agent in one of the largest companies in America, but that is not her only accomplishment in the business. She also remained in that position for 62 years. Caroline Rossetter built some of the first gasoline stations in South Brevard and was the sole distributor of oil to the Banana River Naval Air Station's civilian air force during the Second World War. Caroline also continued her father's interests in the areas of both cattle and citrus.

     During the later part of the twentieth century, Caroline contributed to educational institutions including the Florida Institute of Technology and to many cultural and commmunity organizations. She was on the borad of trustees at FIT from 1993 until her death in 1999. She was president of Rossetter Properties, which was dedicated to the development or real estate and promotion of the citrus, cattle, and farming industries in Brevard County through the distribution of Standard oil products. She was the director of the Sun First Bank in Melbourne from 1973-1979. Caroline was a founding member and patron of the Brevard Art Museum and a director of the Brevard Art Center and Museum. She was one of the first and longest running members of the Eau Gallie Yacth Club, and the Palm Bay and Melbourne Area Chambers of Commerce, as well as, a lifetime member of the Brevard Crippled Children's Association. Caroline was also a longtime member of the Florida Cattleman's Association and the Florida Historical Society.

     Miss Rossetter had been honored by the Brevard County School District for "distinguished and valuable service to the community", and was recognized by the Chamber of Commerce as well as the City of Melbourne for over 60 years of service to the Melbourne and Eau Gallie communities. She was also cited by Chevron U.S.A (previouly Standard Oil) for her work on behalf of the company since 1921.

      Caroline Rossetter formed the Rossetter Foundation in the 1990s to preserve her family's homestead and to maintain its historic Florida appeal. She occupied the family home from the time the family moved to Eau Gallie in 1904 until her passing in 1999. Through her many philanthropic donations to local schools and cultural organizations, and her active role as a member of the local business scence, Carrie Rossetter cemented her place in Brevard County history. She will always serve as a symbol of great success through great community sevice and superior strength when faced with diversity.

Houston Cemetery

The Houston Cemetery, located half a block south of the Rossetter House, was established in 1865. Currently, there are twelve graves remaining in the cemetery.

An interesting characteristic of the Houston Cemetery is the use of initialed footstones in addition to headstones.

Initialed Footstone: J.C.H.


The Houston family were among the earliest settlers in Brevard County calling their homestead Arlington in 1859 (later renamed Eau Gallie). It is believed that John Carroll Houston had his slaves build the first structure on the property of what is now the Rossetter House. The Houston's operated a refuge and staging area for blockade runners transporting goods from the Indian River to the St. Johns River during the Civil War. Houston's son, also named John, was captured in 1864 while running the blockade.

John Carroll Houston served as a Brevard County Commissioner during Reconstruction 1864-1874. He established the second post office of Brevard County in 1871.

The Houston family served as host, and hunting and fishing guides for wealthy northern sportsmen and naturalists in the late 1860' and 1870's.


Buried in the Houston Cemetery are:

Samuel L. Houston, June 13, 1856 - Feb. 17, 1883 (Age: 26, Son of John C. and Mary V. Houston)

John Carroll Houston, July 8, 1816 - Feb. 17, 1885 (Age: 69, First Settler of Arlington/Eau Gallie)

Mary Virginia Houston, Feb. 19, 1823 - Feb. 13, 1894 (Age: 70, Wife of John Carroll Houston)

Bonnie Houston, Sept. 9, 1899 - Feb. 19, 1900 (Age: 6 Months, Daughter of George Charley Houston and Beulah Mae (Kinniard) Houston)

Maud Bertha Young, Jan. 20, 1902 - July 9, 1904 (Daughter of Charles Young & Mary Houston Young)

Susan E. Houston, Oct. 8, 1841 - July 4, 1909 (Age: 67, Daughter-in-law of John C.and Mary V. Houston. Married to John Houston)

Maudena Belle Braddock, Jan. 2, 1910 - Dec. 3, 1910 (Daughter of Braddock and Houston)

Children of W. R. & A. L. Roesch (Four buried around a single headstone):


Infant Son, April 2, 1887 - April 3, 1887

Mary H. Roesch, Dec. 22, 1885 - May 6, 1887 (Age:1 1/2 years)

Infant Daughter, Born and Died Jan. 15, 1888

Daughter, Born and Died Aug. 22, 1889

Earl Leroy Roesch, Son of Wm. R. and Ada Roesch, October 7, 1895 - Oct. 25, 1895



Conclusions from the April 2010 Ground Penetarting Radar (GPR) Survey prepared by John J Schultz, Ph.D. and Joanna Fletcher, BA. Department of Anthropolgy, University of Central Florida.


Eighteen anomalies were marked during the survey and sixteen addtional anomalies were detected after the data was processed.  All the anomalies were similar in depth and size to the hyperbolas created by marked graves, and appear to be located within existing rows of graves.  These anomalies may also represent  nautral subsurface features, such as tree roots.  We suspect that the anomalies located in the NE and N areas of the cemetery are most likely due to tree roots since they are located near existing trees.  There are numerous anomalies found in existing rows and we suspect that these are probably represent unmarked graves.  We would not be surprised if the anomalies represented at least 20 unmarked graves. However, there is no way to confirm this without invasive testing, such as probing, which is not a recommended option at this time.


Roesch House

Located across the street from the Rossetter House, the Roesch  houses the Museum's offices and Ella's Closet Gift Shop.

The four bedroom, 2-story house was built by Mr. William Roesch in 1901.William Roesch married Ada Louise Houston in 1885. Ada Houston was the daughter of John Carroll Houston. The Houston's were the first settlers of Arlington in 1859 (later renamed the Township of Eau Gallie).


William Roesch was elected the first Town Treasurer of Eau Gallie in February 1887. He was also an early land developer subdividing and building houses on some of his holdings in town lots, known as The Roesch Cottages. In the following years William Roesch became a Merchant, long serving Mayor, Postmaster and founder of the first Eau Gallie Newspaper, The Eau Gallie Record.

Tragedy struck the Roesch Family when five of their six children died between the years 1887 and 1895. Their children are buried in the Houston Cemetery.

Rossetter History

The Rossetter family (James, his wife Ella and daughters, Caroline and Ella) arrived in Eau Gallie, Florida in 1902. Mr. James Wadsworth Rossetter purchased the property (on which the current configuration of Rossetter House now stands) in 1904. The Rossetter House is restored as it stood in 1908. The property was first settled by Eau Gallie pioneer John Houston and his family in 1859. 

James and Ella Rossetter eventaully had more children named James, Appleton, and Charles. The home stayed in the family and became the residence of only Caroline and Ella who lived there until they passed.

Before passing, Caroline and Ella Rossetter donated their family home and collection of Victorian antiques to the Rossetter House Foundation to preserve the home and contents as a monument to Eau Gallie's past. The property is owned by the Rossetter House Foundation and managed by the Florida Historical Society. 

To learn more history about this beautiful home, the Rossetter family, and the town of Eau Gallie come by for a guided tour. Times are located on the welcome page.



Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to call to schedule a tour?

Normally no, however for groups over six we ask that you call ahead.

 Is the house on the US National Registry?

The James Wadsworth Rossetter House is a historic U.S. home in Melbourne, Florida. It is located at 1328 Houston Street. On July 27, 2005, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.



Directions and Contacts

How to find The Rossetter House Musuem and Gardens — 

Map of 1320 Highland Ave
Melbourne, FL 32935-7005, US

  • From I-95 take Exit -183. Go East toward Melbourne on SR-518/Eau Gallie Blvd.

  • Follow SR –518/Eau Gallie Blvd. (Montreal Ave) 5.1 miles. Turn right onto Highland Ave.

Parking is available immediately on the north on Hector Street (just North of the Rossetter House property)

Please begin your visit at the Roesch House (Museum Office/ Ella's Closet Gift Shop)

Site Manager
Historic Rossetter House Museum
1320 Highland Avenue
Melbourne, FL. 32935
Benjamin D. Brotemarkle, Executive Director
Florida Historical Society
The Rossetter House Foundation, Inc
435 Brevard Avenue
Cocoa, FL 32922
321-690-1971 x201



Rental Spaces

Lawn and Gardens (Large) Two lawns surrounded by palm trees and gardens, includes the shaded patio, and a private brides room.
Ideal for weddings and other large events of 100 guests or less.

Patio (Medium) A shady space tucked away in the Rossetter gardens.
Perfect for medium sized gatherings and events of 30 or less guests.

Parlor (Small) A bright, indoor, air-conditioned space for meetings and small gatherings of 20 or less guests.

See the museum website for more information:

Patio Rental

Patio Rental

A breezy patio in the shade amidst the Rossetter gardens.
This outdoor space is ideal for medium sized gatherings.

see the museum website for more information:


Suited for 30 guests

Furniture available for a set up fee includes:

o   Six round tables, seat four each

o   Two rectangular tables (six feet in length)

o   30 chairs

Lighting, linens, and tents not provided

Electrical outlets are available but are limited

Restroom facilities for men and women available

The patio is wheelchair accessible

Wedding Rehearsal is optional for a fee


For more information or to make reservations contact us at
321-254-9855 or


Roesch Parlor

Roesch Parlor Rental - Meetings and Small Gatherings

The charming Roesch House Parlor is a cozy setting for any small gathering. A beautiful room within the Roesch house, airconditioned and illuminated by four large windows that look upon the property. Warm wood floors and traditional moldings provide historical character to the parlor.

Suited for maximum 20 guests




Wedding Rentals

Have the entire lawn and gardens to host your perfect wedding!

We provide outdoor space for ceremony and/or reception
including both the North and South lawns, the patio,
and a private bride's room in the Roesch house.

For More information see the Rossetter House Museum Website:

~ Accomodates a maximum of 100 guests ~

~ Furniture, lighting, linens, and tents not provided ~

~ Electrical outlets are available but are limited ~

~ The patio and portions of the lawn are wheelchair accessible ~

~ Restroom facilities for men and women available ~


Please call for information or

to schedule a tour of the grounds.



Guided Historical Tours

 $15/ person, group tours available


Tours are approximately one hour long. Tour includes Rossetter house, gardens, Houston cemetary, and Ella's car. The gardens are open for free to the public. To see the rest, the purchase of a tour is necessary. 


Tour time are affected by museum events.



Our guided tours of the interior of the Rossetter House Mansion include an entertaining and informative discussion of the history of the area and the interesting people who made the history.  Starting in the Roesch Parlor you will discover some of the original pioneers of Eau Gallie.  Weather permitting the next stop is the Houston Family Cemetery.  Then it's off to the Rossetter House.  This incredible structure is filled with original furniture and other items from the Rossetter Collection.  Theres more!  The gardens are then explored on your way to the vintage automobile that was driven by Ella Rossetter.  And finally a surprise is waiting for you when you travel back to Ella's closet.

 Group Tours

Groups tours of 10 or more people,
scheduled and paid in advance at $10/person.

Call at 321-245-9855