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Visit Charlotte’s oldest house: Alexander Rock House

The Hezekiah Alexander House is the oldest home in Mecklenburg County and is part of a homesite preserved by Charlotte Museum of History.

A two-story home made of stone with green shutters and a green door.

The Hezekiah Alexander Rock House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places + is the oldest home in Mecklenburg County.

Photo by CLTtoday

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Did you know Charlotte is home to the oldest house in Mecklenburg County? The Charlotte Museum of History is actively working to conserve the Hezekiah Alexander Rock House.

Tucked away on Shamrock Road in east Charlotte, the grounds are expansive and offer a trip into Charlotte’s history.

Meet Hezekiah Alexander

The first item you’ll notice while walking to the homesite behind the museum — a statue of Hezekiah Alexander. But the display is not of Alexander, exactly.

“It’s interesting because he never actually had a portrait commissioned,” says Mea Agazio, the Education & Engagement Manager at Charlotte Museum of History. “So an artist did an artistic rendering of a number of his male descendants to create this representation.”

A statue of a representation of a man from the late 1770s surrounded by a pathway and trees.

Hezekiah Alexander, his wife, and first five children relocated to Mecklenburg County in about 1768 from Pennsylvania.

Photo by CLTtoday

Editor’s note: You’ll notice the statue has a book in hand. This signifies his advocacy for education in the late 1770s.

Alexander, his wife Mary, and their children moved to Mecklenburg County in about 1768. Moving from Pennsylvania, you’ll notice the northern influence in the construction of the Rock House.

The Rock House

The home was built entirely of stones from the property and completed in 1774. It features several rooms, an attic, and a basement.

Not much is known about the home’s stonemason — the museum says the majority of the work was most likely done by people who were enslaved.

A hearth surrounded by table set for six diners to enjoy a meal.

The table featured a formal dinner setup using China inspired by remnants of the exact dinner set found through archaeology.

Photo by CLTtoday

Walking into the home, you’ll notice several rooms divided by walls not original to the structure. Rather, they were designed to match the second story of the house.

Agazio mentioned the number of rooms and the size of the home were a nod to Alexander’s status and wealth. “You were taxed by the amount of rooms you had in a house.”

You’ll also notice pieces of furniture original to the house itself, including a desk used by Alexander in 1775, with hidden compartments built in.

“He played a big role in helping draft the Mecklenburg Resolves. So in 1775, all British authority in this county was declared null and void. We can imagine him drafting those results right here at his desk,” says Agazio.

Alexander lived in the home until his death in 1801.

A large stone hearth surrounded by tools for cooking and replicated furniture.

The reproduction kitchen tells the story of cooking in the late 1770s — enslaved women would cook three meals a day in this building with a fire roaring 24/7.

Photo by CLTtoday

Alexander Homesite

The museum is a steward for the entire homesite which boasts a number of buildings including a kitchen, springhouse, and barn.

The kitchen would have been used by the enslaved women on the property, cooking every meal served to the Alexander family. Editor’s note: The structure is a reproduction as the original burned down at least two times when the Alexanders lived on site.

“We do know there were at least two enslaved women that worked and lived in here. Bet lived here pretty much her entire adult life. We believe her to have been the cook not only for the Alexander family, but also for the enslaved community,” says Agazio.

Charlotte Museum of History actively researches the property’s history and its descendants to this day, listing every man and woman who lived on the farm.

A stone structure built over a small creek.

The springhouse was built in similar fashion to the Rock House over a small spring to keep foods from spoiling.

Photo by CLTtoday

The springhouse is considered to be an 18th century refrigerator. The stone building was erected over a spring, used to keep foods as fresh as possible.

“It stays very consistently the same temperature — 57 to 62° Fahrenheit year round,” says Agazio.

There is so much more for you to explore, but this is just a small bit of what you can expect at the Charlotte Museum of History. Make sure to stop in and check out everything CMH has to offer, and if you run into Mea on your visit, tell her Maria + Jack sent you and say hello. 👋

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