Rich-Twinn Octagon House

“The Octagon”, as builder and first owner Charles Rich called his unique home, was created in the Greek Revival architectural style, topped by a cupola with Italianate windows. Inside is a complete restoration to the original floor plan with numerous distinctive features – among them, in-wall speaking tubes on every floor, a dumbwaiter from the ground floor kitchen to the dining room above it, and a rectangular central chimney that twists as it reaches the cupola.

It is noted that the Rich-Twinn Octagon House is the only octagonal house built in Erie County during the nineteenth century, when the short-lived octagon house fad took place. Orson Fowler, a phrenologist and author, promoted the concept that living in a “round” house would realize greater health for its occupants.

The Octagon was designed and built somewhere between 1850 – 1855 and had four owners before the Newstead Historical Society purchased the building from the last owner in 1981. It has been meticulously restored and achieved the honor of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

A second partial restoration was required in 2020 – 2021 because of extensive water damage due to faulty equipment. We are now open for tours while continuing our updates to the structure with measures to ensure the artifacts of the collection contained within the building are properly maintained and preserved.  

Our “Highlights of The Octagon” (approximately 40-minute) tours are held the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month May through October, with special hours during December. No reservation needed. Please see our home page for more information.

Our guided, in-depth tours (90-minutes) for individuals and groups may be arranged by leaving a message at 716-542-7022 or contacting the Director of the RTOH at the email address below.

Kate Stapleton Parzych
Director, Rich-Twinn Octagon House

Take a tour of the Octagon House and see what it looked like before the recent restoration..

For questions regarding guidelines for artifact donations to the Newstead Historical Society, contact Jannette Potera, Collections Manager:
Collection Management Policy