Octagon, 1850—1870

114 N. River

This rare, eight—sided form, uniquely American, owed its existence to one man, eccentric phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler, who promoted its virtues almost evangelistically. Fowler’s book, “The Octagon House, A Home for All”, argued that the octagon provided more space, more light and air, was easier to heat and cool, saved steps, and eliminated useless corners. His own octagon boasted hot and cold running water, gas lights, and flush toilets. The octagon was a shape only, and had no characteristic features of its own. Frequently, it took on architectural and decorative features of various other styles. Two octagons were built in Ypsilanti, just one remains today at 114 N. River St.

octagonal, 2 to 3 stories, set upon a raised foundation, encircled by porches, often crowned by an octagonal cupola.

hipped, low pitched; wide eaves, often with brackets.

typical of adopted style.