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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: octagon (architecture)


a style popular ca. 1845-1860, characterized by eight sides and, often, a cupola on the roof. Examples include the hexagonal Milton House (NRHP 1972) built in Janesville in 1844. Several Wisconsin residences are considered among the best surviving examples of the style, such as the John Richard House, built in 1854 in Watertown (NRHP 1971), and the Edward Elderkin House, built in 1856 in Elkhorn (NRHP 1974). In Wisconsin, the Octagonal mode was primarily applied to residences, although there is a surviving example of a schoolhouse near Cedarburg and an octagon library is located in the Town of Empire, Fond du Lac County. Many of Wisconsin's octagons reveal a distinct Italianate orientation. View more information elsewhere at  

View pictures relating to architecture at Wisconsin Historical Images.

[Source: Cultural Resource Management in Wisconsin (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986). ]
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