DISCOVER DOWNTOWN like never before!
Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the GREAT businesses located here in downtown. Get to know the owners and their products from checking out their answers to a series of fun questions!
What is the name of your business and who is the owner(s)?
I’m Hearthstone Historic House. I’m a museum. Why are you asking me so many darn questions!? Sorry… I’m 136 years old so I get a little cranky. I’m owned by Friends of Hearthstone, Inc. It’s a non-profit run by great people.
What service(s) and/or product(s) do you offer?
I’m a house! What do you think I provide? It’s called shelter! Ok, sorry again. Still a little cranky. I protect the priceless collection of Victorian artifacts and art that tell the story of not only Appleton but also of America. I have a truly unique place in history as the first residence anywhere in the world to be lit by hydro-electrify from a central Edison system. The stuff you take for granted like walking into a room and turning on the lights – yeah, I started that. You’re welcome.
Don’t interrupt me, there’s more. The Friends of Hearthstone people give tours of me during the day (cause not only am I important, I’m beautiful… no brag, just fact). They also do monthly nighttime events that feature live music or theatrical performances or other great things. Check out their website… whatever that is.
What inspired you to start your business?
It all starts with a firm foundation! I’m a house! Actually, it starts with the gentleman who built me, Henry Rogers, who was a visionary. When I was finished in 1882, I was a showcase of the latest technologies - electricity (nine years before the White House!), steam heat (the system still works!), hot and cold running water (years before city water was available), indoor plumbing (you’re welcome again!), and pocket windows that double as doors (Pier 1 didn’t invent indoor/outdoor living!)
What are 3 words that describe your business?
History, technology, art.
If your business had a theme song, what would it be?
I’ve had plenty of theme songs over the years starting with “Home on the Range” (written in 1872 – Henry Rogers made his fortune in silver mining in Colorado so it’s fitting) to Aretha Franklin’s “The House that Jack Built” (2014 – “This was the land that he worked by hand, it was the dream of an upright man…". Darn, I miss her.)
In between there were a few other favorites. Some of the more recent ones (I’m 136 years old!) include “Homeward Bound” (Simon and Garfunkle), “Brick House” (Commodores - hey, I’m made out of brick and this song still gets this house rocking… speaking of which), “Rock the House” (AC/DC or Gorillaz – take your pick), “Our House” (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young or Madness – take your pick again), “The House that Built Me” (Miranda Lambert). You get the idea. Come up with a few of your own. I’m not gonna do all the work here! Sorry, still a bit cranky. I like almost all “house music” except maybe “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads. That one kinda scares me.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Make people wipe their feet. I’m a house!
What's something about your business nobody knows?
- I am an art museum. I am a marvelous example of period architecture and interior design and decorating. I am literally filled with art from the carvings on the ceilings to the carpets on the floors… and the paintings, tiles, sculptures in between. They are all amazing (no brag, just fact!)
- Friends of Hearthstone, Inc. does a lot in the community like work with the Appleton Area School District to promote STEM education (FOH is the Wisconsin Affiliate for the STEMIE program under the auspices of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI), provide intern opportunities and practical field work for UW-O students and Lawrence students, work with Sculpture Valley on recognizing veterans with the “Every Soldier’s Square” project, and lots more. Again, check out their website. (I gotta find out what that is! It sounds like something the exterminator treats me for.)
What do you love most about being in Downtown Appleton?
This place was a boom town when I was built and it’s still booming!
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Are you kidding me? Time travel! I wanna go back to when my timber was limber!
If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be and why?
Thomas Edison, Henry Rogers, Abraham Lincoln, and… Beyonce. (I’m old! I’m not dead!) Seriously, do I really have to explain any of them?
If you could bring back any fashion trend, what would it be?
Whale bone corsets and bustles. Seriously hot (in more ways than one!). Plus big hats on the ladies… (just like the “Summer on the Veranda” events that I host). Oh, and anything that shows off a little ankle. (Hubba Hubba.)
Something else fun and unique about your business you want to share?
I am a perfect place for a small wedding. The bride and groom don’t even need to decorate. Why? Cause I’m filled with art! Geez, how many times do I have to say it!? Sorry. Yeah. I’m always cranky.
Learn more about Hearthstone Historic House Museum and plan your visit, check them out on Facebook! Click here.