In its day, Henry Rogers’ beautiful Queen Anne home on the Fox River was a study in modernity: In 1882, it was the first in the entire world to be lit by hydroelectricity. Operator of the Appleton Paper and Pulp mill, Rogers (with a few other investors) purchased one of Thomas Edison’s first generators to power his mill, the Kimberly-Clark paper mill and his own home. The 130-year-old wiring and fixtures are still in place at Hearthstone, and they still work!
Wisconsin native William Waters, noted for his Wisconsin Building at the Chicago World Fair, designed Hearthstone. Vaulted ceilings, elaborately carved arched doorways and wainscoting, plus the most delicately painted flowers and decorative designs on the ceilings, make this house a true work of art. Period furniture, paintings, dishes, clothing and other household items create the impression that Rogers might step into the room at any moment. You can listen to an old Edison phonograph in the library and take in views of the Fox River through the dining room windows.
The basement holds science exhibits, including a unicycle that powers a tiny Thomas Edison when pedaled to make him dance. There are also photographs of the home from earlier times, and a small collection of household implements. In addition to docent-led tours, Hearthstone hosts occasional 19th-century teas and dinners. In October, visitors can experience Haunted Hearthstone, and in December, a Victorian Christmas.