1852 Octagon in Barneveld, NY – $289,500

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Added to OHD on 9/26/20   -   Last OHD Update: 9/26/20   -   11 Comments
For Sale

107 Vanderkemp Ave, Barneveld, NY 13304

Maps: Street | Aerial

  • $289,500
  • 4 Bed
  • 1.5 Bath
  • 2802 Sq Ft
  • 1.03 Ac.
Magnificent Historic Landmark Octagon House! Located on an acre of land with mature trees and perennial gardens in historic village-like setting in Barneveld, this truly unique meticulous home boasts 2800 sqft of charm and warmth with exquisite decor and many updates. Fully restored from 2009 to 2013, it blends the best of craftsmanship and classic features with new conveniences and color details. Beautiful large 2 room kitchen, formal dining room, spacious open living room, family room, den/office/laundry and half bath on main floor. Beautiful wood floors. Four nice bedrooms & bath up. Front and rear stairways. Flexible room use. Stairs to attic and cupola. Relax and enjoy the covered wide sweeping porches and the private rear view of expansive lawn and border of trees. Many shops and services nearby in Barneveld and Mapledale. Holland Patent Schools. This is your opportunity to be a proud homeowner of this spectacular historic and unique, lovingly restored home.
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11 Comments on 1852 Octagon in Barneveld, NY – $289,500

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  1. Lancaster JohnLancaster John says: 895 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Victorian Farmhouse
    Lancaster, PA, PA

    Maybe it’s the photography, but why do many of the rooms appear to be rectangular?

    • AbramsBridgeAbramsBridge says: 151 comments
      OHD Supporter

      I think the rectangular rooms are from the addition. The second-floor bedrooms all have that disconcerting, charming octagonal feel.

      And a cupola!

      • KEYLIMEKEYLIME says: 605 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Based upon what I read, as linked in my comments below, all octagon houses have this distinctive, also octagon, cupola. What fun for a child…actual or at heart.

    • Haha I was thinking the same thing

    • Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 1042 comments
      OHD Supporter

      The rooms don’t just appear that way, they are rectangular! Only the second story has the octagon form. If you look closely at the second exterior photo you can see that the ground floor plan is very rectilinear… no angles! It’s deceptive, but very effective. This is one of the better-looking octagons I’ve ever seen, and more about style and being fashionable than a true devotion to the merits touted by Orson Squire Fowler, the main proponent of the octagon form for houses.

  2. LadyTexasLadyTexas says: 196 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1979 Traditional
    Plano, TX

    Wow, these don’t up often. I suppose there aren’t many left. Absolutely beautiful restoration and sensitive expansion for modern needs. That’s a find! Thanks, Kelly 🙂

  3. JimHJimH says: 5377 comments
    OHD Supporter

    This octagon was built by Jacob Wicks (1822-1884), a carpenter and contractor who served as an officer in the Civil War. It’s one of the few octagon houses to have an inset entry.
    Wicks and his wife Mary Frances Morse had 3 children. Their son William S. Wicks grew up in the home and became a leading upstate architect with a large practice based in Buffalo.

  4. Um, I need to see a floor plan of the octagon part of the house. They lost me.

  5. KEYLIMEKEYLIME says: 605 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Looking at this house, I became curious as to the benefits, supposed or actual, of an octagon house and found this:

    These benefits all derive from the geometry of an octagon: the shape encloses space efficiently, minimizing external surface area and consequently heat loss and gain, building costs etc. A circle is the most efficient shape, but difficult to build and awkward to furnish, so an octagon is a sensible approximation.


    Also of interest and reads in part:

    Could a house without right angles offer a better quality of life? In the 1850s, leading phrenologist Orson S. Fowler turned the same attention he’d given to analyzing the measurements of the human skull to analyzing the shape of the American house. He imagined a more fluid form would be more efficient. And since a circle was difficult to build with lumber, he settled for an octagon.

    Fowler was a New Yorker, born in 1809 in Steuben County, and many of the homes based on his designs are in the Northeast. It was also in New York that he established the Fowler Phrenological Institute, where he conducted cranial examinations and curated a museum packed with skulls. He amassed a large, receptive audience through his phrenological publications, which often focused on self-improvement and reform. It was from that perspective that he envisioned the octagon house. In 1848 he published Home for All: or, A New, Cheap, Convenient, and Superior Mode of Building. He soon put these concepts into practice on his own eight-sided home in Fishkill.

    “For many reasons, Fowler considered the circle as found in nature to be the ideal form, far superior to the constraints found in the square or rectangle,” explains historian James Hughes in New York History. Fowler wrote that the “spherical is more beautiful than the angular, and the smooth and undulating more beautiful than the rough and projecting.” According to Fowler, an octagon’s advantages included increased floor space and a larger wall area for windows. He argued that fewer corners would save time in carrying out daily chores and tasks. Other advantages were less tangible, such as an improved “interchange of friendly and benevolent feeling,” particularly when applied to schools and churches.


    There is a pic of a particularly grand octagon house. Fowler’s own. perhaps?

  6. JosephJoseph says: 434 comments
    1790 Northborough, MA

    If you get out to NYS, you can see how an octagonal house looked and was furnished in its time: https://www.gcv.org/explore/historic-village/gas-light-district/


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