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. It is one of many octagon houses built in the United States in the mid-19th century.HistoryThe 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. The house is still a museum open to the public.The house is built of brick, and is 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. 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.Using our world travel planner, Watertown attractions like Octagon House can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
Create an itinerary including Octagon House
Unable to display map at this time. Please try again later.
Octagon House Reviews
A beautiful and historic home set in a quaint neighborhood. Being the first house built in Watertown, the construction was decades ahead of even houses built in the 50's -60's. It's a must see, adults... more »
Tour the unique home and relocate school house. There is a gift shop with information on the history of the house on the grounds. Parking is limited to the street. more »
The Octagon House along with the First Kindergarten are a fascinating attraction when visiting Watertown. This older home has plenty of history and charm! A must see when coming to Watertown. more »
Fascinating place.. A 'must see' in Watertown
Unique collection of local Watertown history, including America's first Kindergarten, the "plank road" tollway of the 1800's, and of course, the huge Octagon House and all its porches, doors and innovations (for the time).
Gorgeous historical monument.
Cool place to visit
History come alive!
Plan your trip to Watertown
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Side trips from Watertown
EAA Aviation Museum
Visit for: 4h
Devil's Lake State Park
Visit for: 3h
Visit for: 4h
Visit for: 2h 30min
Taliesin Preservation: Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center
Visit for: 1h 30min
New Glarus Brewing Company
Visit for: 2h
Where to stay in Watertown
Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
Plans in Watertown by other users
7 days in Texarkana, Saint Louis & Watertown BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: November, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Wisconsin BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Watertown BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in Colorado & Watertown BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 12 days in Watertown & Anaheim BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, beaches, museums, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, beaches, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy
Are you the owner of this business?Click here for promotion tips.