Octagon House (Watertown, Wisconsin)

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Octagon House
Octagon House.JPG
Octagon House (Watertown, Wisconsin) is located in Wisconsin
Octagon House (Watertown, Wisconsin)
Location 919 Charles St., Watertown, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°11′5.03″N 88°42′27.31″W / 43.1847306°N 88.7075861°W / 43.1847306; -88.7075861Coordinates: 43°11′5.03″N 88°42′27.31″W / 43.1847306°N 88.7075861°W / 43.1847306; -88.7075861
Built 1853
Architect Richards,John
Architectural style Octagon Mode
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 71000039[1]
Added to NRHP November 23, 1971

The Octagon House in Watertown, Wisconsin, also known as the Octagon House Museum or the John Richards Octagon House, was built in 1854 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.[1] It is one of many octagon houses built in the United States in the mid-19th century.


The house was designed and built by John Richards, a lawyer and mill owner, with construction completed in 1854. It was still in the Richards family until the death of his grandson, William Thomas, in 1935. The family offered to sell the house to the city (reputedly for $1) but it was sold to the Watertown Historical Society (founded 1933), and opened to the public in 1938.[2][3] The house is still a museum open to the public.

The house is built of brick, and is 50 feet (15 m) across excluding the balconies. It has eight square rooms on each floor and triangular rooms in the corners, a total of 32 rooms including the cupola.[4] The porches or verandas running all round the house are constructed in timber. They are part of the original design, but by 1924 they were so rotten as to be dangerous, and Richards' daughter had them taken down. For many years visitors could only imagine the house with its porches by referring to a scale model of the house, which sits in the grass next to the house. The porches were reconstructed in 1978 at a cost of $50,000. By 2006 they were again in a dangerous condition and an anonymous donation enabled them to be restored once more.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ Page at Watertown Historical Society
  3. ^ Main page at Watertown Historical Society
  4. ^ Guth, Alexander C. (1936). "Octagon House" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 2. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Watertown Daily Times article about the recent restoration

External links[edit]