Nonprofit seeks items to help tell the story of the Octagon House

Published 11:58 am Thursday, February 8, 2018

HYDE COUNTY – A campaign to find old photographs and other memorabilia associated with the Octagon House in Hyde County is underway.

The Octagon House Restoration Inc. is seeking the photographs, newspaper clippings, documents and stories about the historic house.

“What we are trying to do, obviously, are have things that are of interest that we can being to post on the Octagon House Facebook page from time to time, just to keep interest in the Octagon House and sort of tell the story of this 1857 house. A story of the past that we are trying to preserve for the future, that’s what we have on our stationery,” said Clare Baum, who serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors.

“If we do get something interesting things, we certainly would put it out there for people to see. If people just want to share memories or things like that, that again helps tell the story. It’s just a plea to make it interesting since it is quite something to have this structure in Hyde County,” Baum said. “You know, it’s in the National Register of Historic Houses.

Recently, the Octagon House’s roof was replaced as part of a multi-phase project to upgrade the structure.

Dr. William T. Sparrow built the house around 1857, and while the exact reason it’s an eight-sided structure unknown, many think Sparrow wanted the structure to stand up in hurricane winds. Octagon House also features an eight-sided chimney in the center, with four fireplaces.

“This house is one of 10 historic sites on the Hyde County Talking Houses and Historic Places driving tour. These sites are equipped with am radio transmitters which you can tune to from the convenience of your car to learn the history of the area. The Octagon House is also on the Historic Lake Landing Landmarks riding tour,” reads the Visit NC website —

“This unique building is one of only two of its kind in North Carolina that were built in the 19th century,” the website notes.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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