Octagon House

Also known as: Old Holmes House, Old Watson House
619 E. Main St., Laurens, South Carolina

Photos 

Octagon House

Photo taken by Michael Miller in September 2016

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

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Description 

The Octagon House, constructed in 1859, is considered to be the first concrete house built is South Carolina. This eight-sided structure with hipped roof has four porches and four extended rooms on the first floor level and a central octagonal core for the second-floor level. The octagonal design is maintained throughout, even down to the eight-sided porch columns and chimneys. Window design and placement varies in each fašade, but all have granite sills and lintels. A large square skylight that illuminates the interior central hall of both floors crowns the upper roof. The octagonal motif that is so prominent on the exterior is muted inside the house. Below the first floor are basement rooms with outside access only. Most of these rooms were originally used as domestic slave quarters, but one small one built entirely of field stone served as an ice house and collection point for moisture which accumulated in the concrete walls and was transferred to this location by a series of drain pipes. While the house displays several interesting architectural features, it is primarily significant as an early appearance of the method of construction utilized by the designer and builder, Zelotes Lee Holmes, a Presbyterian minister and educator of upcountry South Carolina. The walls are from 12 to 15 inches thick and include hollow passages that provide a cooling ventilation system throughout the house. As one of the first concrete houses in South Carolina, the Octagon House stands as a landmark to a structural technique that did not fully mature in the state until the twentieth century. Listed in the National Register March 20, 1973. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 20, 1973
Reference number
73001715
Architectural styles
Victorian: Octagon Mode; Other architectural type; Concrete construction
Area of significance
Engineering
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Single dwelling
Period of significance
1850-1874
Significant year
1859

Update Log 

  • September 23, 2016: New photos from Michael Miller
  • September 19, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View", Corrected "GPS Coordinates" and Imported Photo
  • September 19, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller

Sources