elegant landmark c.1848

 Pet Friendly Bed & Breakfast

The OCTAGON HOUSE was built in 1847-1848 by the housewright John Vinal for the master of the New Bedford whaler Mercury, Captain Fordyce Dennis Haskell and his wife Sylvia. Bays, other additions and architectural embellishments were added in the 1860s by whale oil merchant John Hastings.

Now considered a curiosity of American architectural history, the brief craze for the "Octagon Mode" was inspired by Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, publisher, pop-psychologist, and all-round Victorian eccentric. Fowler lectured widely on a variety of topics, vigorously promoting his book of octagon plans which went through nine editions between 1848 and 1860. Octagonal houses were touted as superior in economy of construction, efficiency of space use and ventilation, as well as supposedly enhancing health, happiness and sexual harmony.

A century later, the house had fallen into a sorry state of disrepair. The previous owner undertook extensive, painstaking restoration in the 1980s, which we are continuing. We invite you to enjoy with us the many original details of this unusual architectural treasure - the marble fireplaces, Staffordshire tile hearths, oak parquet floors, carved papyrus leaf door casings, spiral staircase, the marble-floored conservatory dating from the l860s renovation, and the recreated old-fashioned city garden.