Rose Hill Historic House
In 1747 John Watts, a British gentleman, purchased multiple acres of land and named it Rose Hill. Prior to the Revolutionary War, he was forced out of the country. It is unclear exactly when or where this white clapboard house was originally built, but there are certain indications that it could have been as early as the 1700s, and then moved to its present location at the northern end of Rose Hill some time in the 1800s. It was a small wonder to walk across 29th Street and discover this wooden structure with a brick carriage house next door. Always one to want to know more, I uncovered the name of the present owners of the building in my research and gave them a call. Harriet and Bill Lembeck were able to fill in a few of the missing pieces of information and invited our team for a visit. The couple purchased the house in 1989. Bill explained to me that “The area was a bit run down and not many people were interested in owning a home on East 29th Street. So when we saw it and fell in love, it easily became ours.” They have never lived in it, but they were able to convert the downstairs into a wine education center, Wine & Spirits, and rent out the three floors above. They always had their eye on the carriage house next door, which was bought by separated owners from the farmhouse in 1979. Bill went on to tell me that he was able to buy it back again in 2005 when it went on the market. It had been totally gutted by a blind artist who lived there and made into a gallery. Today, Bill and Harriet rent this space as well, although it is their hope that one day, in the not-too-distant future, they will give up their home in Forest Hills and move into Manhattan and reside in both spaces, turning it back into what it was originally meant to be.