February 9, 2024

Stitching Together the History of the Rose Hall Dress Shop

Virginia Beach History Museums is gathering oral histories to preserve and archive stories of the site’s rich history.

Rose Hall Dress Shop Wedding Gown Exhibit

Do you have memories of the Rose Hall Dress Shop or stories of it passed down from family members? If so, the staff of the Virginia Beach History Museums (VBHM) would like to hear from you. The museum is seeking any stories, photos or other items from the Rose Hall Dress Shop era (1955-1974) of the Francis Land House that the public is willing to share. 

History of the Rose Hall Dress Shop 

The Rose Hall Shops for the Ladies and Their Daughters, also known commonly as the Rose Hall Dress Shop, was a community cornerstone in the mid-20th century. When the Studds family purchased what is now the Francis Land House in 1954, they decided to convert the house into an elegant women's and young girls' attire shop because there were no specialty shops for women to get dresses, including wedding attire, between Norfolk and the Oceanfront. Soon after it opened in April 1955, the shop quickly became known for its remarkable customer service. Some repeat customers were so well known that buyers for the shop would purchase merchandise with particular customers in mind.  

The shop also provided wedding consultations and was a "one-stop shop" for brides-to-be. Evie Myatt was the bridal consultant for several years. She helped brides pick out their dresses, trains, veils and other accessories, and outfitted the bridal party. Myatt even assisted with choosing invitations and suggested florists, photographers and caterers. Rose Hall’s bridal department strived to take all the stress out of planning a wedding. Customers' needs changed over the years, and the shop closed in 1974 when the house was sold at auction, then acquired by the City of Virginia Beach the next year. 

Learn more about the shop by watching a mini-lecture and walkthrough of the Rose Hall Dress Shop exhibit in the Francis Land House. Please note, the Francis Land House is currently undergoing a restoration project that is expected to be completed later this year. 

VBHM staff and volunteers are gathering oral histories to preserve and archive stories of the site’s rich history. Additionally, if you have any histories about life in Princess Anne County (now Virginia Beach) during Prohibition and/or World War II, please reach out to VBHM staff by emailing vbhistory@vbgov.com or calling 757-385-5100

Woman posed in front of mirror at Rose Hall Dress Shop

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Virginia Beach History Museums

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