Historical Rose Hill building for Foundations Nashville
Located in Edgehill, one of Nashville’s oldest neighborhoods, our Foundations Nashville building is a historic house that was once named Rose Hill. Dating back to the early 1800s, the neighborhood of Edgehill was founded when Nashville mayor and postmaster Robert Brownlee Currey built a settlement on the second largest of three hills rising near Franklin Pike just southwest of downtown. That hill would later be named Rose Hill for the house built there in 1821 by Henry Middleton Rutledge and his wife Septima Sexta Middleton Rutledge. (Some in Nashville may also know it as the Rutledge-Baxter House.) This historic Victorian on the corner of Rutledge and Lea is said to be patterned after Septima’s family home near Charleston, South Carolina, and it boasts a storied past.

The Rutledges, who were also first cousins, have ties to Declaration of Independence; both their grandfathers signed that historic document. They brought those connections with them to Nashville and Rose Hill, where they hosted many prominent guests, including Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk. Legend also has it that the Marquis de Lafayette stayed in the house in 1825 during his year-long visit to the United States.

Named Rose Hill for Septima’s famous rose garden, the blooms ran all the way down to the Cumberland River in those days. The Rutledges spent many years in the house before Henry passed away in 1844, leaving Septima a widow during the Civil War. Throughout that fateful period in our country’s history, the house was used as lodging for Union officers. As if that weren’t indignity enough, the soldiers trampled Septima’s prized roses. Enraged, she hunted down General Rosecrans and gave him a piece of her mind. Legend has it that before they left, the general saw to it that the officers personally replanted the rose garden.

In the mid-1800s, around the close of the Civil War and the time of Septima’s death, a fire nearly destroyed Rose Hill. The damage was extensive, but subsequent additions to the home have masked most of the evidence. Those renovations were made by the new owner, Captain Edmund Baxter. The original Rose Hill faced onto Rutledge Street, but the addition of a Victorian façade changed the orientation of the house, moving the front entrance to Lea Avenue.

The second half of the 1900s weren’t as kind to Rose Hill, and the beautiful mansion fell into disrepair. The once noble home was turned into a boarding house and later apartments. While many neighboring historic buildings met their fate at the hands of a wrecking ball, Rose Hill was spared. The 21st century brought new life to Rose Hill. The house was restored to its former glory, and a law firm moved in. There were even two enormous rose bushes flanking the sidewalk in a nod to the home’s history.

In 2013, Foundations Nashville became the latest caretakers of Rose Hill’s legacy. The beautifully restored home now welcomes those seeking outpatient treatment in Middle Tennessee for substance use and co-occurring mental health issues.