Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Octagon House

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Institution Name: Illinois College
Original/Historic Place Name: Octagon House
Location on Campus: 222 Park St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1856original construction Crampton, Rufus C.
Designer: Rufus C. Crampton
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Greek revival, Regionalist/Vernacular, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: brick
Walls: wood with wood siding
Roof: asphalt shingles and rubber
1856-1999private residence
1999-present (2006)alumni center (plans are currently in the works)

The Octagon House was built in 1856 and is a splendid example of a 19th century architectural style unique to the United States. During the middle of the nineteenth century, as many as 100 of these eight-sided homes dotted the Illinois landscape. Today, their numbers have dwindled to less than ten. Illinois college professor Rufus C. Crampton was the original owner of the structure and designed it after an Orson Squire Fowler design. It remained privately owned until it was acquired by Illinois College in 1999. Trustees designated it as the Alumni House, and plans call for its restoration and eventual use as a meeting place for students, alumni, and faculty. It may also serve as a site for scholarly research and the presentation of historic papers.


Caine, L. Vernon. To Heights Beyond. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986.

Frank, Charles E. Pioneer's Progress: Illinois College, 1829-1979. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979.

Hopper, Doris Broehl. David A. Smith: Abolitionist, Patron of Learning, Prairie Lawyer. Jacksonville, IL: Branstiter Printing Company, 2003

Rammelkamp, Charles H. Illinois College, a Centennial History: 1829-1929. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1928.

Yeager, Iver F. Julian M. Sturtevant--1805-1886: President of Illinois College, Ardent Churchman, Reflective Author. Jacksonville, IL: Trustees of Illinois College, 1999.

Yeager, Iver F., ed. Sesquicentennial Papers--Illinois College. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.


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