Category Archives: Octagon

Watson-Steiger-Loomis House (1858)

At 28 King Street in Westfield is an octagon house, built between 1858, when Joseph H. Watson purchased the land, and 1864, when he sold the property, which by then included the house. Octagon houses were popularized by Orson Squire Fowler in his book, The Octagon House, A Home for All. A two-story rear extension was added to the house in the early 1870s. The front porch was added around 1900. Albert Steiger, founder of Steiger’s Department Stores, owned the house in the 1880s. After 1908, it was owned by the Loomis family. I’ve featured many other octagon houses on my Connecticut website.

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Octagon at Amherst College (1847)

A distinctive building on the campus of Amherst College is the Octagon. Built in 1847-1848 and designed by Henry A Sykes, its wood exterior walls were covered in stucco, originally scored and painted to resemble large blocks. College president Edward Hitchcock requested that the building have an octagon shape, a decision that was initially controversial. The Octagon originally housed the Woods Cabinet, the College’s scientific collection, and the Lawrence Observatory. The attached octagonal tower contained the observatory telescope. An 1855 addition housed a geology lecture room and a galley for the College’s Assyrian reliefs. After a new observatory was built in 1905, the Octagon housed other departments. In 1934-1935, the second floor of the Woods Cabinet was remodeled by architect James Kellum Smith as a meeting room, known as the Babbott Room.

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