A Field Guide to the Architecture of the Home
by Gerald L. Foster
Photographs and drawings of exteriors
Easily identified by its shape, the Octagon was not a style but a floor plan. It appeared in the 1850s at the high point of the Italian style's popularity and most of the survivors are Italianate in character. Although often considered a reaction to professionally designed and overdecorated Victorian houses, the Octagon accommodated the various decorative styles of the time. A spectacular surviving example, Longwood, in Natchez, Mississippi, is essentially Italianate but has Moorish trip topped by an onion dome.