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Logan Octagon House

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c. 1854–1855. 408 W. Broadway

This is one of the state's all too few remaining octagonal houses, a form popularized in 1848 and later by Orson Fowler in his book, A Home for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagonal Mode of Building. The builder of this house took to heart not only the ideal form of the octagon, but also Fowler's recommendation for “gravel wall” construction. Decorah's octagon has walls of “grout,” composed of a mixture of lime mortar, straw, and gravel that was poured and packed into wood forms. Though remodeled over the years, this octagon is still a textbook example of what Fowler was proselytizing: the use of an ideal form (the octagon) and a new material, the gravel wall, which was superior to wood in upkeep and longevity.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Logan Octagon House", [Decorah, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 378-379.

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