Hearthstone is the first house in the world to have electric lights powered by a centrally located hydroelectric station that used the Edison system. It began operation on September 30, 1882 with a generator situated in the beater room of the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company. The three buildings that were lighted on that historic occasion were the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company owned by John Van Nortwick and run by Henry J. Rogers who owned the home on the bluff above, now known as Hearthstone, and Kimberly & Clark’s Vulcan Paper Mill located nearby. There was one other generator in the nation at the time, in New York City. It powered several business, but no homes – giving Hearthstone its distinctive title.
A tour of Hearthstone includes the Hands-On Hydro Adventure Center, with plenty of interactive activities for kids and grown-ups. And of course, old mansions are cool. Evening tours are available during Haunted Hearthstone and Victorian Christmas or by appointment.
Hearthstone is closed Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
General Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for Seniors or AAA members, $5 for kids 5-17, free for kids under 5.
Thursday — Friday: First tour begins at 10 am
Saturday: First tour begins at 11 am
Sunday: First tour begins at 1 pm
Tours are conducted every half hour with the last tour of the day beginning at 3:30 pm
You’ll find Hearthstone right along the Fox River near downtown Appleton along Highway 47. Highway 125 (College Avenue) and Highway 96 (Wisconsin Avenue) are just to the north; U.S. 10 and Highway 441 are just to the south and I-41 wraps around the west and north sides of the city. Plenty of ways to get there!
625 W. Prospect Avenue