"Saving Our Future"


The Roundtown Conservancy is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Circleville area through the protection and enhancement of the physical environment.

P. O. Box 501
Circleville, Ohio 43113
 

Contact us at:
roundtownconservancy(at)yahoo.com

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Circleville's Octagonal Home

Ohio Preservation Alliance.. Reprinted from the Circleville Herald, May 18, 2004

Circleville's historic Octagon House has been named to a list of the state's most endangered historic sites.

Ohio Preservation Alliance Monday released the 2004 List of Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites and the Octagon House, known as the Gregg-Crites House.

Thomas Palmer, OPA executive director, said the Octagon House made it in its first try because of its historical significance.

The designation may not bring guaranteed state or private grants, he said, but it will give it an added boost when seeking funding.

He said the program is administered with the assistance of two other historically oriented groups, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the Heritage Ohio/Downtown Ohio, Inc.

"We're bumping it up a notch, with the OPA, the Heritage Ohio/Downtown Ohio and the historic preservation office, we'll be able to have them (Roundtown Conservancy, backers of the Octagon House) come in for a roundtable discussion and point them toward funding sources."

The style of home was all the rage between 1855 and 1860 in "antebellum" America - particularly in the Midwest.

Although Ohio had its share of octagon homes, few had the symmetrical purity of the Gregg-Crites home.

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.

According to the OPA, the most serious threat to the Gregg-Crites house was eliminated with the efforts of the Roundtown Conservancy.

"As part of the site for a new 'big box' superstore, its future was anything but certain, however, thanks to the efforts of the Roundtown Conservancy, the house was moved in to a safe location in February, 2004, all 480 tons of it," the OPA statement said.

"One of only 34 surviving in Ohio today, the Circleville example bears a special connection to the city as the original Pickaway County Courthouse was also octagonal in shape, and sat in the middle of the famous original, circular layout of the city," it said.

Josephine Hall, executive director of the Pickaway County Visitors Bureau and a conservancy member, said more and more visitors are seeking out historical reminders of yesteryear.

"From a visitors' standpoint there are more and more people who want to see history, see preservation," Hall said.

"Our goal is to restore it back to its original nature – I think it will draw people to Circleville," Hall said.

The conservancy successfully moved the house about a quarter-mile from its original site and expects that it to be lowered onto its permanent foundation in the near future. The group will be meeting in the coming days to discuss the use of the building, Hall said.

Palmer said a record number of nominations were received by OPA. In all 30 were considered and only 11 selected for the list.

Each site was assessed for its importance as a historical resource as well the level of threat it faced.

'While not exhaustive of the properties in Ohio that are threatened or deserving protection, the listed sites are a good cross-section representing a variety of challenges to preservation," he said.

Tom Cooper, treasurer for the Roundtown Conservancy, said the inclusion of the house on the "most threatened" list means the cause of preservation effort will gain a higher profile.

The conservancy has spent an estimated $100,000 to move the house and will need to raise about $200,000 to restore it to the condition where it can be opened to the public and generate revenues.

Cooper said the conservancy has been granted 501 (c) (3) non-profit status and can begin soliciting tax deducible donations to help restore the home.

"We're really looking for more contributors so we can keep the process moving forward," Cooper said.
 


September, 2004

         
Work is underway to shore up the foundation...


The Moving of the Octagonal House:

These 8 pictures summarize the move of the Octagon House up to its temporary resting place which is within 100 yards of its final resting place. The company that did the work is Dingey Movers, Inc, of Zanesville, OH. The work to prepare the house for the move started during the week of January 11, 2004, with grading to expose the entire foundation and preparing a path up to ground level in the direction of the move. It took a month to cut holes in the foundation to accommodate the placement of the three layers of huge I-beams, shift the weight of the house onto the steel structure supported by temporary wooden cribs, remove the foundation, and place the wheels. This process was completed on February 14th, and the 480 ton house started its move around noon. By 4 PM, it had completed the first 100 yards. The move resumed the next morning, and the house reached its temporary resting place by 3 PM, a distance of 4 to 5 tenths of a mile. All the experts involved believe that this was fastest move ever accomplished for such a large, heavy building. It was made possible using a new technology involving a hydraulically driven wheel system. The hydraulic system not only drove the wheels, but adjusted the support pressure to accommodate changes in the terrain. The house will remain in the temporary location for a couple of weeks while the final site is prepared. It will then wheel itself into its final location.

Tom Cooper

 

Clearing a Path

January 14, 2004

Setting the Steel

February 2, 2004

Installing the Wheels

February 14, 2004

Starting to Roll

February 14, 2004

End of Day

February 14, 2004

The Journey

February 15, 2004

Inching Along

February 15, 2004

Almost There

February 15, 2004

 

Residents, developer will preserve Circleville’s historic 8-sided house

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Melissa Kossler

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Circleville will retain a piece of Roundtown history.

Residents and community groups rallied to save a historic, eight-sided house from the wrecking ball to make way for a Wal-Mart Supercenter planned for the property along Rt. 23 just south of town. The Roundtown Conservancy announced yesterday that volunteers persuaded a Columbus developer to give the organization the nearly 150-year-old house. The group is raising money to relocate and refurbish the structure.

The Don M. Casto Co. also agreed to donate up to 2 acres behind the property for the building, said spokesman Charlie Fraas.

Bart Dingey of Dingey Movers in Zanesville said he expects to move the house by the end of February. The key to the success of the project is Dingey’s willingness to wait two months for payment, said Josephine Hall, executive director of the Pickaway County Visitors Bureau.

Supporters need $130,000 to move the house, said Franklin Conaway, a preservationist hired by the conservancy. The nonprofit group will borrow funds if necessary, Conaway added.

Hall would not say how much money has been collected so far, but acknowledged it is less than needed. "We have not nearly enough money to pay for the move," she said.

Renovating the building will cost another $400,000, Hall said. Volunteers have sold Tshirts, hosted a barbecue dinner and sought corporate donations to preserve the house, which features a free-standing spiral staircase.

Hall would like to use the building for a community center.

Local historian Wally Higgins said he thinks the original owner, George Gregg, built the house about 1855 to mimic the octagonal courthouse that once stood in the middle of town. The courthouse was demolished in the early 1840s when Circleville was reconfigured from a circle into square city blocks.

Only 34 octagonal buildings remain in the state, according to the Ohio Historical Society.

mkossler@dispatch.com 

 

ROUNDTOWN CONSERVANCY RECEIVES GO-AHEAD FOR OCTAGON HOUSE

Roundtown Conservancy is pleased to announce that we are now able to begin plans for cleaning, restoring and moving the octagon-shaped house which stands on the Crites farm -- considered by experts to be "a national treasure," architecturally and historically. One of the few remaining octagonal houses in Ohio, it is also one of the most unique and beautiful. It is our hope to restore it to its former splendor and see that it is preserved as a historic artifact. We are asking immediate support from everyone interested in this endeavor. Please print this PDF pledge form. You can get the PDF reader here.

Find out more:

http://www.forgottenoh.com/Crites/crites.html

http://www.octagon.bobanna.com/OH.html

The Circleville Herald ran an article about the Octagonal House, read it here.

The Columbus Dispatch featured the Octagonal House in its October 23, 2003 issue.

Sketches by Tom Cooper

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House - 1880 House - 1974 House & Environs -1880 Outside 2000 Stairwell 2000 Windows 2000

  Photograph from the Columbus Dispatch, October 23, 2003
Tom Cooper...

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  | Pickaway Historical Markers The Story of the Octagon  | "Zieger" is the name  | Calendar Pictures