CONCORD, N.H. — One of Orford’s seven stately “Ridge Houses” has been sold to a couple who bought the property sight unseen and plan extensive renovations to revive it.

Built in 1817, the Rogers House is among a collection of homes built in a row on the east side of Orford’s Main Street between 1804 and 1838. Together, they are considered one of the most outstanding examples of rural Federal residential architecture in the United States, according to the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, which worked with the town and a citizens group to protect the landmark.

They are called the Ridge Houses because of their location on a ridge, or terrace of land, that used to be a river bank.

The town had taken the house and land in 2015 because of nonpayment of property taxes, and it was eager to get it back on the tax rolls. The preservation alliance, meanwhile, wanted to help protect it, so the group raised money to pay for enforcement of a preservation easement on the property. The easement will protect the highest-priority historic features of the home while allowing for flexibility by the new and any future owners, said Jennifer Goodman, executive director of the preservation alliance.

“The combination of the architecture and the setting make them very special,” Goodman said of the Ridge Houses. “It’s great to have new owners with great plans to make this house alive again.”

The buyers, Jared and Elise Henningsen, are moving from Miami next week. Elise’s grandmother and parents live in Orford, and the couple were married there in July. Relatives sent them an online listing for the home a few months later, and they purchased it for $263,000 without seeing it in person first.


The 3-acre property includes the nine-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot main house and a carriage house. It underwent significant expansion in 1916 and renovations in the 1980s and ’90s. Jared Henningsen, who is leaving a job with CBS Radio for one at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said that while he and his wife have some experience renovating a much smaller, 100-year-old home, this project will require much more work in planning. For starters, the house is full of mold, he said.

“This is going to be a big undertaking,” he said.

The house also includes a locked safe, Henningsen said.

“I can’t wait to crack that open,” he said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: