The Octagon House – A Rare Style Home to Visit

Octagon Hall Museum

The octagon style of home is recognizable by its eight sided walls. Most octagon houses have porches, cupola and a flat roof. This is a very rare style of home and was only built from around 1850 to the 1870s with some built after.

This style of homes gained popularity by the Orson S. Folwer book called The Octagon House: A Home for All. It wasn’t uncommon in the mid 1800s to see schools, churches, barns, and businesses with this unique octagon style being built. Before Folwer’s book Thomas Jefferson completed his summer house, Popular Forest in 1819 in the Octagon style.

A few examples of Octagon homes exist in the United States today as highlighted below including the previously mentioned Popular Forest. Scroll on down to learn about FOUR different octagon style homes that you can visit in the United States.

Four Octagon Homes You Can Visit in the United States

Octagon Hall

#1 Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest Octagon Retreat

542 Bateman Bridge Rd, Forest, VA 24551

Thomas Jefferson was a self-taught architect who learned architecture by studying The Four Books of Architecture by Andrea Palladio (which was published in 1570) from which he learned about home design.

In 1806, Jefferson began the construction of his octagon brick house at Poplar Forest in Forest, Virginia. This is thought to be the first octagon house in the United States.

Learn more about Poplar Forest

#2 The Loren Andrus Octagon House

57500 Van Dyke Avenue, Washington, MI 48094

Loren Andrus used Folwer’s book as inspiration when he started building his octagon house in 1858. The surrounding farmland supplied most of the materials for his house and was completed in 1860. He lived in the house until 1890 and since then it has gone through many owners and is now a museum. In 1971 the Octagon House was listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Learn more about The Octagon House

#3 Octagon Hall Museum

In 1847 Andrew Jackson Caldwell starting building his eight sided octagon home. It took almost 12 years to complete but was finally finished in 1859. It instantly became a landmark in Kentucky. During the Civil War the home served as a hospital for Confederate and Federal soldiers as well. It has only had three owners since it was built and is now owned by the Octagon Hall Foundation whose mission is to preserve the only eight sided house left in the state of Kentucky. It is currently the site of the Octagon Hall Museum & Kentucky Confederate Studies Archive.

Learn more about Octagon Hall

#4 McElroy Octagon House

2645 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94123-4402

Built in 1861 this home is a national landmark in San Francisco. It was a family home until the early 20’s until it was sold to an electric company It was neglected and left in disrepair until the 1950s when The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in California saved the home by purchasing it for $1. They were able to learn about the house when a time capsule was discovered during electrical repairs in 1953 that included a photo of the McElroys who were the original owners, a letter and newspaper clippings.

Learn more about the McElroy House

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