Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
625 W PROSPECT AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Henry J. and Cremora Rogers House
Other Name:Hearthstone
Reference Number:29476
Location (Address):625 W PROSPECT AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1881
Survey Date:1991
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Queen Anne
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:William Waters
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Rogers, Henry J. and Cremora, House
National Register Listing Date:12/2/1974 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. Original garage in basement.

In 1882, Henry Rogers hooked up his new house, now a museum, to a central hydroelectric station, making it the first residence in America to be hydroelectrified. Rogers was an executive for the local gas utility, but when he heard about the steam-powered electric station Thomas Edison had built in New York City, he had the bright idea to use the 38-foot drop of the Fox River to power an electric station here. With three local investors, Rogers formed the Appleton Edison Light Company, ordered two Edison K-type dynamos, and built a central generating station to power his Appleton Paper and Pulp Company and a nearby mill. Almost as an afterthought, he wired his home, then under construction. Not entirely trusting the new technology, he hedged his bets and installed pipes for gas service, too. As dusk fell on September 30, 1882, the hydroelectric generators hummed, and the new house glowed with incandescent light.

In the Queen Anne house itself, a two-and-one-half-story structure designed by Waters of Oshkosh, the essential asymmetry finds expression in a variety of projections, roof lines, gables, porches, balconets, dormers, and surface treatments, including false half-timbering. At the east elevation, successively smaller porches step up from one story to the next, creating a tiered effect.

To decorate the interior, the Rogers family brought to Appleton a Flemish craftsman, William van Stratam, who fashioned magnificent Eastlake woodwork with floral carvings and richly colored stained glass. His fireplace mantles, nine in all, are particularly noteworthy. In the parlor, the mantle is made of bird's-eye maple, and birds make up the theme. Tiles bordering the fireplace depict a scene from Longfellow's "Evangeline Feeding the Birds," and carved songbirds and birds' nests grace the medallions on the casing around the parlor windows and doors. Hand-painted fireplace tiles in many of the other rooms depict scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, Walter Scott's novels, and Charles Dickens's Pickwick Papers. Art-glass chandeliers designed by Quezal Art Glass and Decoration Company, as well as one with Morning Glory shades reputedly crafted by Louis Comfort Tiffany, hang in a number of the major rooms. Seven of the original brass toggle switches for electric lighting also remain, but the original silk-insulated wiring has been replaced.
Bibliographic References:OSHKOSH NORTHWESTERN 5/21/1994. Appleton Post Crescent 5/14/2001. Architecture and History Survey. September 2006. Prepared by E. H. Robinson. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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