The historically significant Rogers riverfront home in New Richmond is being restored.
Purchased and saved from demolition in September by New Richmond native and economic development expert Robert Lees, the restoration has been underway for the past 60 days.
“I was born and raised only a couple of houses up the street from the old Roger’s house,” said Lees. “As a child, my friends and I would play along the riverbank behind the home. I have bought the property and am saving the home not only for nostalgic reasons, but because it represents a vibrant part of New Richmond’s history.”
Lees has hired S&K Contractors to renovate the building as close to its original condition as possible.
“There is not much that you can save in an old building like this, but we are doing our best to restore it and keep it as close to the original condition as we possibly can,” said S&K site foreman Glen Hampton. “We will have to of course modernize it, but our goal is to keep as much of the historical feel as possible.”
According to Lees, that was the goal – to celebrate the pride of that structure by taking it back to its former glory.
“The history of that home cannot be ignored or forgotten,” he said. “It is too important.”
John George Rogers was born in 1797 near Camden, New Jersey. In 1804 he and his family settled in Williamsburg, Clermont County, before moving to Bethel in 1813.
He was a medical doctor, or what was known in those times as a circuit-rider doctor. Rogers was also a trained lawyer. It is generally accepted that his medical practice and offices officially opened in the New Richmond building June 1818.
His doctor’s offices were located in the New Richmond home on the riverside of Front Street, one block down from Quarry Street. Rogers is probably best known for officiating at the birth of President U.S. Grant on April 27, 1822.
Because of its close proximity to the Ohio River (132 feet from the river bank), the nineteenth century home was a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad.
Due to his philanthropic nature, Rogers died impoverished at the age of 84 from apoplexy.
“Rogers was one of the most respected and renowned citizens of the county,” Lees said. “His waterfront home is one of the most historical buildings in Clermont County. Buying this home is a dream come true. It is our responsibility to save and preserve the history of historic New Richmond. The future depends on it.”
S&K Contractors expect the renovation and restoration to be completed within the next 120 days; 12 – 15 people are working full-time on the project.
Robert Lees has plans to eventually turn the home into a museum.