This is Michigans most pristine remaining Italianate example of whats known as the “octagon” house form. This northern antebellum home was built in 1860, just before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The original owner, Loren Andrus, was an engineer working on the (failed) construction of the Clinton -Kalamazoo canal system that was to connect the Great Lakes of the Michigan region across the lower peninsula.
David Stewart designed the house for Andrus, who built it as part of a contest to create the most unusual home. Andrus won, but was almost bankrupt when the house was finished.
In the 1950’s the land was purchased by Wayne State University, and students came to work on the farm. The farm boasted 90 Holstein cows and 1,200. Eggs were sold bearing the WSU colors, gold and green.
“Educated Eggs from the Wayne State University Farm” was printed on the packaging.
The house and farm fell in to disuse, and by the 1980’s it was all but lost – having been condemned and slated for demolition in 1974.
In 1986, the non-profit group Friends of the Octagon House organized to protect this unique structure.
“How much wood could a woodchuck chuck” ?
Enough to destroy the foundation of your structure ! For those of you not from this region, a woodchuck, or what is more often called the “ground hog” is a large, cute, but destructive tunneling rodent. When I had farm land there was one that had dug up the whole foundation of the barn. He won: I left and he stayed.