Outside the Octagon

Outside the Octagon

The history of octagon houses have a confusing history. Originating in the 1850’s, the North American versions were either designed as an homage to the pseudoscience of phrenology, or they were an unique approach to load-bearing walls. Others claim they were homes designed for the unitarian pious (all walls and rooms are of equal size and equidistant from each other), or for security from the rancor of the Civil War (frequent windows and vista porches made it easy to scout for approaching marauders).

Whatever the reason, the Gregg-Crites Octagon House in Circleville, Ohio was built in 1855 and sat on the main road between Columbus and Chillicothe, the original capitol city of Ohio. The original farm was sold in the early 2000s to Wal-Mart, and the house was slated for demolition to make way for a Wal-Mart Super Center. (Or, what we call “progress”.)

Fortunately, the Circleville residents were able to form a commission that moved the entire house to a safe location a few miles from its original home. They hope to renovate the house and turn it into a museum someday.

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