Mansion Floor Plans Sims . Even after 150 years, the octagon house floor plan remains a curiosity of architectural design. The original architect, John Richards, first designed the octagon house just before the Civil War. Whether he was in competition with his fellow land owners and town leaders or was merely trying to impress Eliza Forbes, his heiress wife. The impressive structure he left behind still draws fascinated visitors to the elegant eight sided mansion in Watertown, Wisconsin every day.
The original octagon house floor plan, built in 1854, is a fantastic 5 story brick building with 57 rooms. It also contains forerunners of modern conveniences such as running water, central heating and ventilation systems. A 40-foot-high cantilevered staircase also graces the interior. The story behind the octagon house was that Mr. Richards made a promise to his wife, Eliza, to build her the finest home in the Midwest.
John Richards was most likely influenced by fellow designer, Orson Fowler, who was a leading spokesperson for the construction of eight sided houses. At that time, the octagon house was touted as being an efficient, economic and beautifully esthetic housing design that dated back to the ancient Roman architects.
There were at least 36 homes constructed from the octagon house floor plan between 1844 and 1905. All of these homes were located in Wisconsin. Octagonal houses continued to be built through the Civil War. After that time period, most octagonal houses were either torn down or remodeled until they lost their original shape.
John Richards’s octagonal house was given to the Watertown historical society in 1938. The house was in nearly mint condition and maintained with no electricity, no modern plumbing and not telephone – just as it had been when Mr. Richards and his wife lived there in the 1850s.
Tours of the Octagon house can be made daily May through October and directional signs are posted throughout Watertown. Summer hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. after Labor Day. Admission is $7 for adults; $6 for AAA members; $6 for children ages 6 through 12 and children under 6 are free.
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