In the 1850s, octagons briefly became an architectural fad, and its chief champion, Orson Fowler (see WL16), urged followers to build them out of grout, an early form of concrete (see RO21). Pewaukee blacksmith Deacon West constructed the eighteen-inch-thick grout walls of his octagon house by tamping the lime mixture between wooden forms, letting it dry, then removing the forms and applying a coat of textured plaster. Located on the town’s only hill, overlooking Pewaukee Lake, the sloping site makes the house appear two stories high in front and three in back. Around 1873, fire gutted the house, leaving only the exterior walls intact. The new owner, Chicago real estate developer Colonel N. P. Inglehart, rebuilt the residence and added an Italianate porch, brackets, and window trim. Inglehart transformed the house into the Oakton Springs Hotel, improving the mineral springs on the property and initiating the springs resort era on Pewaukee Lake.
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Deacon West House
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