Also known as: Carmer Octagon House45 W. Clinton Ave., Irvington, New York
+41.03087, -73.8704441°01'51" N, 73°52'14" W
In addition to eclectically incorporating Gothic, Stick-style, Second Empire and Eastlake detail, this house is one of two domed octagonal residences built in the United States. Its siting, design, and heating-plumbing systems reflect the contemporary mid-19th century architectural philosophies of Orson Squire Fowler, noted phrenologist, sexologist, amateur architect, and author of the popular Octagon House: a Home for All. Additionally, its situation near public transportation to New York City may well be related to George Woodward's ideas on suburban architecture.
-- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS NY-5620)
The house was built in 1859-1860 by financier Paul J. Armour based on the architectural ideas of Orson Squire Fowler, although the specific architect of the house is unknown. The dome was added and the house was enlarged during 1872-1876 by Joseph Stiner, who was a tea importer. The Armour-Stiner House is said to be one of the most lavish octagon houses built in the period, and is now one of only perhaps a hundred still extant.
The house was occupied from 1946 to 1976 by historian Carl Carmer, who maintained that the house was haunted. In 1976, the house was briefly owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to prevent it from being demolished. The Trust was unable to fund the amount of renovation the property required, and sold it to a preservationist architect, Joseph Pell Lombardi, who has conserved the house, interiors, grounds and outbuildings.
The house remains a private residence. It is located on the south side of West Clinton Avenue, on the crest of a hill overlooking the Hudson River, to the west. It is about 1650 feet from the river, and about 140 feet above it, consistent with Fowler's siting ideas. The Old Croton Aqueduct, another National Historic Landmark, abuts the property on the east.
National Register information
- Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 18, 1975
- 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 years
- 1860; 1872; 1873
- March 16, 2011: Essay added by John Reidy
- March 16, 2011: New photos from John Reidy