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Octagon House, Watertown
(4.6/5 based on 45 reviews on the web)
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.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • 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. 
  • This was one of the most interesting places that we have toured. Often you only get to see the main floor. In this mansion, we saw all three floors, plus the cupola and the basement. Almost every room...  more »
  • Really a unique house and the guide will answer any questions you ask her, she is very knowledgeable. It is a real experience to learn the history of the owners and how they lived. The house itself is...  more »
Google
  • History come alive!
  • Nice place to visit
  • You arent allowed to sit on any of the chairs, and there are no chairs so yea. otherwise it was good.
  • I first visited the Octagon House when I was 12. My grandmother grew up in Watertown and it was a part of my family history. It truly was a modern marvel of it's time. It was designed to have the First ever form of central heating and air. It also had hidden passages and rooms for the maids and mine workers that would stay there. It truly is a remarkable building.