The Loren Andrus Octagon House is a historical house built by Loren Andrus in 1860. It was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and as a State of Michigan Historic Site, around the same time in 1972. The Octagon House was originally built because of a contest between a few rival farm families in Washington Twp. The contest was to see who could build the most unusual house, and the house built by Loren Andrus and David Stewart was by far the most unique. Loren Andrus was almost bankrupt at the time the house was completed, but he didn’t mind, he had created an eight-sided masterpiece, and no one in the area had ever seen anything like it.
The Octagon House displayed craftsmanship never seen before. There was a porch that wrapped around six sides of the house, eight foot tall windows on the first floor to let in immense amounts of daylight, a 55 step spiral staircase that connected the first and third floor, and more. The Octagon House that Loren Andrus built also was used as a “Station” for the underground railroad. After touring the house multiple times, inside you find tiny crawl spaces, and secret doors that were used to hide runaway slaves. After the civil war the Octagon House became a focal point of the town. The townspeople, old and young, would gather for festivities such as dancing, games, singing, etc.
The Octagon House played a huge role in bringing the community together, and without it, Washington Twp. would be a different place. This house, ironically, is placed right at the front of my subdivision, The Washington Town Center, so every time I exit my sub I get to enjoy it’s beauty.