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2022 Preservation Award Honors Hillcrest Farm


GDHS honored Ruth Swenson and Lori Christopher with the 2022 Historic Preservation Award for their restoration of Hillcrest Farm in Panther. The Harvest Luncheon culminated with celebrating the two for preserving the 150-year-old Rohrbacker House, known as Hillcrest Farm, in a manner consistent with its historic and architectural integrity.

Ruth and Lori maintained as many of the original features as possible, including the heart-of-pine floors, wainscoting with chair rail in the dining room, stair railings and the five-panel doors with original hardware on the second floor.

The original Hillcrest sign still hangs above the front entrance, and the dinner bell sits atop a post outside the kitchen door, testimonies to the farm when it doubled as a summer boardinghouse and welcomed guests to enjoy its wide vistas and warm hospitality.

Hillcrest ceased operation as a summer boardinghouse in the 1930s when the Depression took its toll on the local tourist industry. After remaining in the Rohrbacker family for nearly 100 years, the property was sold in 1946. The present owners have made every effort to preserve the original features of the farmhouse. Sadly, the original bank barn had fallen into disrepair and had to be demolished in 2015. Ruth explained that much of the wood was able to repurposed, “which took a little of the sting out of it.”