Historic Octagon House open to the public Dec. 9

Published 7:10 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2018

ENGELHARD — Visitors to Hyde County can enjoy a special opportunity in the coming weeks, as the historic Octagon House opens its doors for the site’s annual Christmas Open House.

“This has been done for years and we are just following tradition,” Octagon House volunteer Clare Baum said. “The house is decorated, trying to keep in mind that it is a historic house, and there will be some Christmas carols being played. You’ll see the sites, hear the sounds and there will be the smells of Christmas as well.”

Originally constructed in 1857 by Dr. William Sparrow, the home is a unique historical landmark in Hyde County. It stands as only one of two octagonal houses in North Carolina from the Antebellum period and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In recent years, the Octagon House has undergone a number of much-needed repairs in an effort to maintain its original character. In 2017, the building was fitted with a new roof made of hand-split cedar shingles. This year, the house was elevated off the ground by a few feet to help mitigate moisture issues inside.

“The house had so many repairs that just needed to be done,” Baum said. “We prioritized with the help of the preservation people and the second phase was to raise the house. Now we are into the third phase.”

Among the items to still be addressed are the house’s exterior structures and damaged fireplaces on the interior.

The North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office in Greenville has directed all of the efforts, offering guidance on how to go about the repairs. Moving forward, Baum says that further repairs all depend on fundraising. By hosting the annual open house, Baum and others hope to generate public interest in the home’s preservation.

“It generates a lot of interest,” Baum said.

The Christmas will last from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 9. The event is free and everyone is welcome. The Octagon House is located at 30868 U.S. Hwy 264 near Engelhard.