Octagon Mode

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The octagon home was the brainchild of Orson Squire Fowler, who along with his brother, was better known as a phrenologist.

The amateur architect published a book, The Octagon House: A Home for All in 1848 that was quite popular in the mid 19th century. In it, he points out that octagons provide more interior space while using less land than rectangular designs. He also claimed that because octagons provide more square footage with less surface area, they were cheaper to heat and cool.

He promoted the use of central heating with a heat source in the basement, with ductwork concealed in thick walls. He proposed central cooling using ventilation through a cupola. He advocated a flat roof to facilitate collection of rainwater with collection cisterns for water, along with a network of speaking tubes and pipes in the walls.

Fowler's own ocatgon mansion was begun in 1848, in Fishkill, New York, It was locally derided and became known as "Fowler's Folly." He was forced to rent the home out during a financial crisis, and the home went through a series of owners. It fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1897.

It is estimated that well over 2,000 octagon homes remain in the United States, including small and simple structures to large and ornate mansions.


Abijah Thomas House (Smyth County, Virginia)
Albert S. Potter House (Washington County, Rhode Island)
Octagon house built by watchmaker Albert S. Potter in 1857.
Andover Public Library (Oxford County, Maine)
Armour-Stiner House (Westchester County, New York)
Baker Octagon Barn (Otsego County, New York)
Boyden Park Octagon House (Providence County, Rhode Island)
Built as a bandstand; converted to a house about 1916.
Brackett, Edward A., House (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Bradley-Wheeler House (Fairfield County, Connecticut)
Bryant, William, Octagon House (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Cedar Springs Historic District (Abbeville County, South Carolina)
Historic community/district in Abbeville & Greenwood Counties, SC
Charles Butler House (Warren County, Ohio)
Charter Oak Schoolhouse (Randolph County, Illinois)
City Market (Petersburg, Virginia)
City Square Park Bandstand (Allen County, Kansas)
Clarence Darrow Octagon House (Trumbull County, Ohio)
Crawford, Elias, House (Worcester County, Massachusetts)
David Van Gelder Octagon House (Greene County, New York)
Deacon West Octagon House (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Dr. Buck-Stevens House (St. Lawrence County, New York)
Dr. Nathan and Lula Cass House (Milam County, Texas)
Dubois--Sarles Octagon (Ulster County, New York)
Edward Elderkin House (Walworth County, Wisconsin)
Eldred Rock Lighthouse (Haines Borough, Alaska)
Estabrook Octagon House (Rensselaer County, New York)
Falcon Tabernacle (Cumberland County, North Carolina)
Feusier Octagon House (San Francisco County, California)
First Congregational Church, U.C.C. (Franklin County, Nebraska)
Florence Corners School (Erie County, Ohio)
Fort Edgecomb (Lincoln County, Maine)
Fuller, Enoch, House (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Gallaher House (Douglas County, Washington)
Gen. Francis H. West House (Green County, Wisconsin)
George Apfel Round Barn (Vernon County, Wisconsin)
Goodnow Library (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Goshen Police Booth (Elkhart County, Indiana)
Police booth for catching bank robbers on the Lincoln Highway
Hall-Crull Octagonal House (Rush County, Indiana)
Harlie Whitcomb Farm (Orange County, Vermont)
Hiram Smith House (Winnebago County, Wisconsin)
Brick Octagon House Now Owned by Neenah Historical Society
Hood Octagonal School (Delaware County, Pennsylvania)
Inkwell (Hyde County, North Carolina)
Jacob Woodruff House (Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin)
James L. Lawther House (Goodhue County, Minnesota)
Jane Ross Reeves Octagon House (Hancock County, Indiana)
Jenkins Octagon House (Schenectady County, New York)
John Hosford House (Huron County, Ohio)
John S. Moffat House (St. Croix County, Wisconsin)
Gorgeous Victorian home built in the octagon mode, open to the public as a museum.
Johnsonburg Historic District (Warren County, New Jersey)
Judge Henry L. Benson House (Klamath County, Oregon)
Langworthy Historic District (Dubuque County, Iowa)
Langworthy House (Dubuque County, Iowa)
Brick home built in Orson Fowler's octagon style
Lattin-Crandall Octagon Barn (Schuyler County, New York)
Linden Street Historic District (Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin)
Longfellow-Hastings House (Los Angeles County, California)
Longwood (Adams County, Mississippi)
Lucy Cobb Institute Campus (Clarke County, Georgia)
Historic girls school in Athens, GA
Lukens Pierce House (Chester County, Pennsylvania)
Lunn-Musser Octagon Barn (Otsego County, New York)
McBee Methodist Church (Greenville County, South Carolina)
Historic church in Greenville, SC
McElroy Octagon House (San Francisco County, California)
Mercy Chapel at Mill Run (Garrett County, Maryland)
Miles B. Lawton House (Providence County, Rhode Island)
Modern Times School (Suffolk County, New York)
Nathan B. Devereaux Octagon House (Washtenaw County, Michigan)
New Market Historic District (Frederick County, Maryland)
Newton Homestead (Chenango County, New York)
Octagon Cottage (Barren County, Kentucky)
Octagon House (Muscogee County, Georgia)
Octagon House (Jefferson County, Wisconsin)
Octagon House (Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin)
Octagon House that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Octagon House (Laurens County, South Carolina)
Octagon House (Cook County, Illinois)
Octagon House (Hampden County, Massachusetts)
Octagon House (Middlesex County, Massachusetts)
Octagon House (Fairfield County, Connecticut)
Octagon Schoolhouse (Windsor County, Vermont)
Octagon, The (New York County, New York)
Octagon, The (Washington, District of Columbia)
Octagon, The (Seneca County, Ohio)
Octagonal Schoolhouse (Essex County, New York)
Old Homer Village Historic District (Cortland County, New York)
Old Post Office (Waldo County, Maine)
Other C. Wamsley House (Ravalli County, Montana)
Palmer Brother's Octagons (La Crosse County, Wisconsin)
Two octagon houses located in West Salem, one serving as the visitor center.
Pereira Octagon Barn (San Luis Obispo County, California)
Petty-Roberts-Beatty House (Barbour County, Alabama)
An historic octagonal house in Clayton, Alabama.
Phelps, Rev. Benjamin C., House (Hartford County, Connecticut)
Pressey House (Kennebec County, Maine)
Ramsdell, Hiram, House (Franklin County, Maine)
Randall House (Tuscola County, Michigan)
Richard Barker Octagon House (Worcester County, Massachusetts)
Richmond Temperance and Literary Society Hall (Scotland County, North Carolina)
Rotunda, The (Gasconade County, Missouri)
San Jose Downtown Historic District (Santa Clara County, California)
Schwartz Ballroom (Washington County, Wisconsin)
Octogonal ballroom from the big band era, built out in the country but surrounded by Hartford over the decades
Scott, Capt. George, House (Lincoln County, Maine)
Sheldon Jackson School (Sitka Borough, Alaska)
Shute Octagon House (Schenectady County, New York)
Sinnett Octagon House (Muscatine County, Iowa)
Smith, Henry S., Octagon House (Middlesex County, Connecticut)
Sodom Schoolhouse (Northumberland County, Pennsylvania)
St. Casimir Parish Historic District (St. Joseph County, Indiana)
Stephen Harnsberger House (Rockingham County, Virginia)
T. R. R. Cobb House (Clarke County, Georgia)
Temple, The (York County, Maine)
The Glebe (Arlington County, Virginia)
Thomas Barnes House (Allamakee County, Iowa)
Stone octagon home built by Dr. Thomas Henry Barnes after returning from the Civil War
Tibbals, William T., Octagon House (Middlesex County, Connecticut)
Timothy M. Younglove Octagon House (Steuben County, New York)
Transfer House (Macon County, Illinois)
Union Chapel (Dukes County, Massachusetts)
Wallace--Jagdfeld Octagon House (Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin)
Washington Octagon House (Macomb County, Michigan)
Waverley (Clay County, Mississippi)
Wilcox Octagon House (Onondaga County, New York)
William H. McCreery House (Larimer County, Colorado)
William Waterfield House (Black Hawk County, Iowa)
Williams and Stancliff Octagon Houses (Middlesex County, Connecticut)
Wooliston-Wall House (Berkshire County, Massachusetts)