File #6968: "0ctoPres2.pdf"

0ctoPres2.pdf

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D ue f or d istinction
T he " Octagon H ouse," l ocated a t 21 S pring St., D anbury,
o pposite St. G eorge's C hurch on E lm S treet, is in the
process of being n ominated to t he N ational R egister o f
H istorical P laces. Once t he p rocess i s c ompleted t he
u nique b uilding w ill be p rotected f rom u rban r enewal.
T he v iew i s f rom t he S pring S treet e ntrance to the hou~e.

C ity· t o s pare
8 -sided .hoine 7-

By Craig Howe
News-Times staff

DANBURY - The "Octagon House"
will be saved from the menacing jaws
of urban renewal.
The Comiecticut Historical Commission is starting procedures to have the
unique house located at 21 Spring St.,
Danbury nominated to the National
Register of Historical Places.
The house, which was built by Daniel
S tarr, in 1852, is one of three octagonal
houses left in the country. The Connec·ticut Historical Society feels that the
eight-sided house in Danbury is unique
enough to preserve.
The commission began the nomination process in 1969 by sending a
distinguished review board made lip of
two historians, two architects and an
archeologist to survey and grade the
property for possible nomination to the
National Register of Historical Places.
Their report to the commission was
that the house " was unusual and an
outstanding example of octagonal
architecture." The review board gave
the Spring Street property a grade of Bplus, which qualified the house for the
nomination.
At that point, the nomination process
got bogged down in bureaucratic red
tape. Susan Bixby, an administrative
assistant to the Connecticut Historical
Commission, said she did not know
what had held the application up for the
last three years.
"We certainly did not realize that the
house was located in the middle of an
urban renewal tract. Now that we know
this we can speed up the application.
The National Register is very receptive
\ to the need."
Once the house is accepted to the
'National Register of Historic Places, i t

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will be protected under the Historical
Preservation Act of 1966. The a ct says
that any construction project which is
federally funded cannot take properties
which have been listed In the Register
without f irst consulting the owner.
Under the a ct , the owner is placed
under no restrictions. He is responsible
for maintaining the house and can sell it
w ithout c onsulting w ith a nyone .
Nomination to the Register simply
protects him from eminent domain, the
process by which developers take large
tracts of land for public works.
Even though the octagonal house will
only be protected from developers who
will use federal funds by the 1966 Act,
Susan Bixby s ays that being listed In the
ational Register of Historical Places
u sually c arries enough weight to
protect it from local developers who do
not , want to fall into disrepute' for
destroying a national monument.
The "octagon bouse," as i t is known
in the area, is built so sturdily tbatlan
unscrupulous developer might have a
difficult time leveling it. The white
walls of the house are solid concret,
about 12 inches thick.
The bouse contains three floors , each
of which contains an a partment. Each
of the two upper floors is surrounded by
a porch. A street level entrance leads tO
the basement apartment. The main
apartment, which is occupied by the
own er , Mrs. Nedema Attick, is located
on the second floor and i s reaced by
stairs leading to tb e porch or by a
ground level entrance a t the r ear of the
house.
A stairway to the third floor is a t the
side of the house. All three apartments
a re acc~sible f rom a n e nclosed
stairway which spirils· upward to an
octagonaly shaped room on the nearly
flat roof.