Washington Octagon House

Also known as: Loren Andrus House
57000 Van Dyke St., Washington, Michigan


Photo taken by Jim Allen, Nov 2009



Street View 


A Michigan Historical Marker here reads: Loren Andrus House

Loren Andrus (1816 ~ 1901) came to Macomb County from New York State in 1828. He served as an assistant engineer on the survey of the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal, but gained prominence in agricultural work. In particular he focused on the breeding of fine wool sheep, and he helped organize both the Macomb County and Michigan Agricultural Societies. Loren and his wife Lucina, hired his brother-in-law David G. Stewart, a Macomb County builder and architect, to construct this house. Stewart built an Octagon, popularized by phrenologist Orson Fowler, who touted the Octagon as a spacious building form that offered healthier air circulation and an abundance of light. Andrus himself made the bricks with local clay. The house has an elaborate central spiral stairway that leads to the cupula.

Side 2:

Loren Andrus built Michigan's most elaborate remaining example of the Octagon house form in 1860. In 1945 Detroit businessman Albert Schmidt donated money to the Detroit Board of Education for the purchase of a farm which gave "city boys" paractical experience in their agriculture studies at Wayne (State) University. By 1952 the 330-acre self-supporting farm had 90 Holstein cattle and 1,200 hens. Eggs were sold in green and gold cartons (Wayne's colors) with the slogan "Educated Eggs from the Wayne State University Farm." Despite the efforts of subsequent owners, the house eventually deteriorated and was ravaged by vandals and wildlife. In 1986 a non-profit organized to save the house. The Friends of the Octagon continued to restore and maintain the property into the twenty-first century.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 3, 1971
Reference number
Architectural style
Victorian: Octagon Mode
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Single dwelling
Period of significance
Significant year


19th Century (38,023)
Brick (42,466)
Built 1860 (432)
Built during 1860s (3,788)
David Stewart (2)
Have Street View (48,212)
House (27,794)
Macomb County, Michigan (16)
Michigan (1,960)
Octagon Mode (145)
Private owner (54,403)
Victorian (19,703)
Washington, Michigan (1)

Update Log 

  • December 10, 2012: New photos from Jim Allen
  • September 26, 2012: New Street View added by Rattrak