Baum scholars generally believe that Roselawn, the mansion L. Frank Baum’s father bought in 1866 with profits from the oil business, stood in what is now the parking lot of a defunct skating rink. Roselawn was located on the first plank road in the United States, now Brewerton Road/U.S. Route 11.
L. Frank grew up here with many happy childhood memories. With his brother Frank, he produced a family newspaper on a printing press their father purchased for them. The yellowish hemlock wood of the plank road may have been an inspiration for the Yellow Brick Road.
Roselawn was sold at auction in 1880. Later, the successful L. Frank bought it back for his parents. Baum’s mother re-sold the property in 1887. It passed through several hands and eventually became a roadhouse. It burned down on February 25, 1899. In 1900, a new roadhouse was constructed on the site, operating under such names as the Old Rural Inn and Faatz’s Hotel. This structure was damaged by one fire in 1957 and destroyed by a second in 1958.
Roselawn’s historic address, 2299 Brewerton Road, ceased to exist following a general realignment of street addresses to improve access for emergency service providers. The current address corresponding to that parking lot is 2601 Brewerton Road. As recently as the 1970s, a former employee recalls that the skating rink at this location, then named Sports-O-Rama, used the 2299 Brewerton Road address.
Thanks to Michael F. McGraw, Gary Karpinski, Ray Leonard, and Jeannine Chubon for research assistance.