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The Octagon House: A Victorian Summer Home

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General Admission Ages 12+

A Trip to The Octagon House during The Summer Months

This one-hour guided tour will include a brief history of specimen plants original to the property, the carefully restored Lord and Burnham greenhouse, the wonderfully romantic foxglove garden, (shaped in the exact size and footprint of the house itself!), and the charming Octagonal birdhouse, (a scaled-down replica of the house). Visitors will also experience the house’s wrap-around veranda that offers 360-degree views of the lush landscape, as well as particular architectural details which relate specifically to native plants and foliage of the grounds. Finally, the tour will continue inside the house with an interior tour of the first, second and third floors, which retain their magnificent ornamentation and furnishings.


Created as a whimsical summer retreat in 1872 by tea-importer Joseph Stiner, this National Historic Landmark’s shape was based on the theories of Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, who believed octagonal houses enclosed more space, allowed the sun in at all times, and permitted more views into the landscape.

The Armour-Stiner Octagon House and its grounds epitomize 19th-century Romanticism and its fascination with nature that permeated American lives and homes. This fascination was encouraged by the writings of AJ Downing, a young and brilliant horticulturist and amateur architect who revolutionized America’s gardens and homes in the 19th century. The Octagon House, gardens and architecture took Downing’s philosophy and maximized it to create a one-of-a-kind exemplar of romanticism and the picturesque that so imbued this era.