Octagon House celebrates 40 years of preservation

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

From Octagon House Restoration Inc.

Hyde County’s historic Octagon House hosted a reception Oct. 15 celebrating 40 years of preservation, and recognized the charter member of the Octagon House Restoration Inc.

OHRI was incorporated on Oct. 21, 1976 as a nonprofit, grassroots organization, following several meetings of local citizens who were concerned with preserving and protecting the eight-sided house that was built in the Lake Landing community around 1857.

Brief remarks at the reception by Walter Baum, current chairman, focused on the vision and hard work of these early community leaders in undertaking the purchase and restoration of the house, which had also been known as the Ink Well House. At that time, the house had not been lived in since the late 1950s and was quickly falling into a state of disrepair.

There were originally more than 250 charter members of the organization. Those present at the reception were R.S. Spencer Jr., Anna and Roy Clarke and Walter Baum, along with other guests.

Baum updated those in attendance with the current status of the Octagon House, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. “As is evident when you look at the house today, we need to continue the work of those visionaries and address some of the ongoing maintenance issues,” he said. “We have recently received a wonderful gift of funding to replace the aging wood-shingled roof, and that work is scheduled to happen soon. This is the first and immediate phase needed to alleviate other issues, which are also being considered by the current Board of Directors in consultation with the North Carolina State Preservation office.”

Guests enjoyed refreshments and lingered over a collection of photographs entitled “40 Views for the 40th..” The photos on display chronologically captured the condition of the Octagon House since the OHRI’s formation.

In keeping with the 40th anniversary theme, a fundraising campaign, “$40 for 40 Years,” was also announced as a way to help raise funds for current much-needed house maintenance and repairs.

Contributions of $40 or more are being sought. To donate, visit www.facebook.com/octagonhouse.nc, or contributions may also be mailed to: OHRI, P.O. Box 35, Engelhard, N.C. 27824. For more information, email octagonhouse.nc@gmail.com.