Save This House! Jacob Baker Octagon House, c. 1850, Dudley, MA, is endangered.
The local historical commission has issued a one-year stay of demolition. It is listed for sale at $185,000 and has historic commission approval for demolition of the rear wing, a late 19th-century addition. The original cupola and porch were removed in 1961.
Listing photos show the wing to be in seriously compromised condition, while the main (octagon) portion appears relatively solid. It sits on just over an acre of land in a neighborhood that appears desirable on Google street view. Listing URL: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/69-Ramshorn-Rd-Dudley-MA-01571/57580494_zpid/
Octagons were America’s first house fad, inspired by “Squire” Orson S. Fowler’s 1848 book, “The Octagon Mode,” which promoted the building of octagonal houses. Fowler believed them to be “optimal for modern family living”. Like most fads, it was short-lived. Most were built (with detailing in a variety of popular styles of the period) within a decade of the book’s publication.
Rare house types and styles have added significance, and their preservation should always be a priority.
“Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners” was written to help people understand what is significant about their house and how to preserve the character-defining features while making it livable in the 21st century.
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
© Scott T. Hanson 2023
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