Gregg-Crites Octagon House
Ohio| Posted: 12/21/2005
The Roundtown Conservancy of Circleville, Ohio contacted the National Trust Loan Funds in need of emergency financing secure the future of a beloved local landmark, the Octagon House. Known as the Gregg-Crites home (1855), the building was threatened with demolition to allow construction of a big-box retail store. The house had already been moved from its original location and was sitting atop girders awaiting the final step. The National Preservation Loan Fund provided a $65,000 loan to help to defray the relocation and foundation construction costs and to finance the placement of the house on its new foundation.
The Gregg-Crites home was built by George Gregg between1855 and 1856. Though octagon houses were once quite common in Ohio and the Midwest, now only 34 are left standing in the state (about a dozen are barns) and the architectural style is considered quite rare nationwide. The Gregg-Crites example is particularly significant because of its connection to Circleville’s history. It is believed that it was built to mimic the octagonal courthouse that stood at the center of the town’s original, circular pattern. That structure was destroyed in the 1840s when the city blocks were reconfigured into squares. The Gregg-Crites house is also unique for its symmetrical purity. Its brick and frame construction features a free-standing spiral staircase and a cupola. The interior first-floor ceilings are 14-feet in height and all rooms have a fireplace in the inner wall with a doorway opposite leading to the outer veranda. Given its historical and architectural significance as well as the impending demolition threat, in 2004 the Ohio Preservation Alliance named it one of the state’s Most Endangered Properties.
In an effort to save the Gregg-Crites House from demolition, the Roundtown Conservancy entered into discussions with the developer, the Don M. Casto Organization. As a result, the developer donated the house, two acres of land on which to move the house (part of the original parcel on which the house stood) and $5,000 to help cover the estimated $200,000 in moving costs. Requests to the retailer for financial support were unsuccessful. The Conservancy was able to raise more than $40,000 and obtain a $150,000 bank loan. Its closing is conditioned upon placing the house on its new foundation, however, which NTLF support makes possible. Now that the Conservancy has secured the house, next steps include identifying a new use for the property and the surrounding land. Possibilities being considered are a museum, welcome center, art gallery, or some combination of those uses.
For more information contact:
National Trust Loan Funds