The Currier Octagon House
Built in 1854, the Currier Octagon House has been the home of Four County Community Foundation since 2000. The house is a Michigan Historic Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A plan for preserving this important historic building is in the works.
The story begins with Frederick Plumer Currier. Born in Vermont in 1812, he left the family farm at the age of nineteen. In 1837 he married Mary Carter and they had four children. In 1846, Frederick came to Michigan to stay, settling in Almont. His wife and children joined him the next year. Frederick’s first venture was to build a starch factory to utilize the potatoes grown in the area. Later, he was part of a foundry and machining business that manufactured farm implements. He also was involved in banking, and had many real estate holdings.
In 1854, Currier built the Octagon House, using the architecture popularized by Orson Fowler in the mid-19th century. The house has eight consecutively-angled exterior walls and five interior octagonal rooms. This interior design, with ample windows was theorized to offer health advantages from strong lighting and ventilation as well as energy efficiencies.
Significant exterior and interior design features remain intact today. They typify the sturdiness and design of the home. Fieldstone walls in the basement are one and a half feet thick, and hand-hewn beams support the upper structure. Windows on the first floor are nine feet tall and create a light and airy feeling. The five interior eight-sided rooms create a number of closets and doorways.
The house includes striking ceiling and wainscoting treatment on the first floor, and intricate detail in the moldings on the second floor. At the very top, there is a large eight-sided cupola room, with windows all around. At the north end of the carriage shed (garage) is a small workshop. The workshop walls have boards that are more than eighteen inches wide! There is a three-hole privy at the rear of the carriage house which can be reached from the inside by a first-floor hallway and from the second floor by crossing above the carriage house and descending the back stairs. It is an early example of an “indoor privy.”
Four County Community Foundation acquired the Octagon House in 2000. Locating their offices in the historic structure is an example of the Foundation’s commitment to preserving our past and looking forward to continued improvement in the communities we serve. It is symbolic that the solid foundation of the house lasting over 165 years is representative of Four County Community Foundation.
The Currier Octagon House is a community treasure. But it needs repairs, especially the cupola and the porch. Donations for restoration are always welcome. You may donate online (Four County Community Foundation Home) or by mail.