Nationally Recognized Orford Landmark to be Revived

Historic view of Rogers House, courtesy Orford Social Library

Historic view of Rogers House, courtesy Orford Social Library

The N.H. Preservation Alliance recognized the Town of Orford and others for their efforts to protect a significant New England landmark on May 19.  This gathering was an important opportunity to welcome the new owners and thank everyone who made this preservation project happen, said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the N.H. Preservation Alliance.

In February, the Town sold the historic c.1817 Rogers House, located on Main Street/Route 10 in Orford, to Elise and Jared Hemingsen. Elise Hemingsen’s grandfather and grandmother, Roberto and Edith Alonso, immigrated from Cuba and settled in Orford in 1960. [Roberto worked for Equity Publishing Company and in 1962 Elise's mother, Vanessa, was born at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. Vanessa would marry David DeSimone and move to New Jersey, where Elise was born in 1990. David and Vanessa then returned permanently to Orford in August 2007.  Jared and Elise were married in the Orford Congregational Church in July, 2016].

Presentation of 200-year old office sign of Attorney and Rogers House builder, John Rogers.  Left to right, John Adams, Chair, Orford Selectboard; Carl Schmidt, Orford Historical Society; new Rogers House owners, Jared and Elise Henningsen; Paul Goundry, Selectboard member; Anne Duncan Cooley, former Selectboard Chair; David Smith, Selectboard member.   Photo by Ted Cooley.

Presentation of 200-year old office sign of Attorney and Rogers House builder, John Rogers.  Left to right, John Adams, Chair, Orford Selectboard; Carl Schmidt, Orford Historical Society; new Rogers House owners, Jared and Elise Henningsen; Paul Goundry, Selectboard member; Anne Duncan Cooley, former Selectboard Chair; David Smith, Selectboard member.   Photo by Ted Cooley.

Working together, the Town’s Selectboard, the N.H. Preservation Alliance and an ad-hoc citizen group led by long-time preservationist Carl Schmidt of Orford, met the goal of finding the preservation buyers and protecting the house for future generations with an easement held by the N.H. Preservation Alliance. The preservation easement was completed at no cost to the Town thanks to generous donors.  The Selectboard worked swiftly, with citizen input, to get the property back on the tax rolls and preserve the integrity of the historic “Ridge” neighborhood of Orford.

The Rogers House is second from right in this photo by Peter Randall

The Rogers House is second from right in this photo by Peter Randall

The Rogers House is one of Orford's seven Ridge Houses, built in a row on the east side of Main Street between 1804 and 1838. These homes are one of the most outstanding examples of rural Federal residential architecture in the United States.  Built by local attorney John Rogers, the Rogers House has been listed since 1977 on the National Register of Historic Places as part of a recognized Historic District.  Over the past years, the property has had a series of owners, including a couple who in 1916 made extensive enlargements to the rear of the house and its gardens.