Octagon House - Washington Twp, MI
Posted by: Daffy74
N 42° 43.026 W 083° 02.122
17T E 333338 N 4731408
Quick Description: The Loren Andrus Octagon House
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 7/4/2006 10:31:33 PM
Waymark Code: WMGEE
The Loren Andrus Octagon House was built in 1860. Taking three year to complete and much more money than anticipated. The eight sided house with the beautiful spiral center staircase crowned by the cupola made the Octagon House the gem of the community. Inspired by Orson Squire Fowler's publication "Home for All", Loren Andrus commenced to built the octagon shape home using material from his 353 acre farm.
Built at the beginning of the Civil War the house is said to have been on the route of the Underground Railroad leading to Canada. With documented sites in the immediate area it is only logical that a house, a center for activity in the community, could easily harbor slaves without the knowledge of the rest of the community.
Loren Andrus lived in the house until 1894 when he moved to Detroit to live with one of his eight children. The house turned over many times, including a renovation in 1938 by Paul Weyer, who dreamed of turning the home into an inn. Mr. Weyer opened the Inn in 1939. Unfortunately he died soon after opening and the Octagon House was again sold. Again the house turned over several times and then in 1945 Wayne University (now Wayne State University), through a foundation donation was transformed into Albert H. Schmidt Foundation Farm. The farm closed in 1962.
The property was sold and in 1971 despite being abandoned and in disrepair the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1972 conditions not improved, the house was added to Michigan State List of Historic Places.
Over the next three decades the house was condemned, turned into a living museum, rescued from destruction and brought back to life by Save the Octagon House, Inc. later re-named Friends of the Octagon House, Inc (FOTOH) a non-profit museum.