Hearthstone Historic House
Hearthstone was at the center of a pivotal moment in history in the United States; the dawning era of electrification, a scientific and technological advancement that had arguably one of the most profound impacts in the way Americans lived their lives from that moment forward.
Hearthstone is a nationally significant engineering site as the first house in the United States to be incandescently illuminated by a hydroelectric powered Western Edison Electric Light Company dynamo power station and an Edison Electric System. This was realized by Henry J. Rogers, an entrepreneur and visionary, who not only built the house: He brought electrification technology to Wisconsin and shaped the city of Appleton through his paper mills and his work bringing gas and water services to the citizens of Appleton.
Beyond its engineering significance, Hearthstone is a truly exceptional example of Queen Anne style residential architecture. It is one of the few residences in the state exhibiting an elite level of exterior design and richness of interior design, finishes, and furnishings.
Edison, Rogers, Vision, and Hearthstone's place in history
Hearthstone is the first residence in the world to be illuminated electric light bulbs powered by a hydroelectric based Western Edison Electric Light Company dynamo and a Thomas A. Edison designed Edison Electric System. It remains a rare glimpse into the early techniques used in residential electrification and is unique in the world in that many of the original light fixtures, switches, and wiring are still in place.
Hearthstone also tells the story of technological change coming to a nation as well as a very human story, one of vision, faith in new technologies, and of fortunes won and lost.
Queen Anne Style Victorian Architecture
The industrial revolution was beginning and America was caught up in the excitement of new technologies. Queen Anne style architecture, and the new technologies it represented, spread quickly throughout the country. Hearthstone, which exhibits a remarkable level of artistry in both its exterior and interior, is an exceptional representation of the Queen Anne style. The house, designed by William Waters, a nationally known 19th century architect, presents a strong physical impression as it interprets the irregularity of plan, asymmetrical massing, variety of roof forms, and wall projections that characterize the Queen Anne style of architecture.
Interior Design and art
The Aesthetic Movement influenced the design of the interior of Hearthstone, epitomized in the prominent use of native Wisconsin wood species.
Hearthstone has been handsomely appointed with elaborately carved wood door and window surrounds, coffered ceilings, mantles and overmantles. Paneled wainscoting lines the walls of the grand hall, library, dining room, and formal stairway. Parquet floors are composed of maple, white oak, and cherry wood and are found throughout the first floor. Both stained and etched glass decorate the upper portions of the three main entry doors. The house has nine fireplaces, many beautifully tiled. The ceilings throughout the house are twelve feet in height and often elaborately painted.
Hearthstone exhibits a remarkable level of artistry in every facet of its interior.