Round House (Somerville, Massachusetts)
"The Round House" is a cylindrical wood-frame residential structure at 36 Atherton Street in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Somerville,
Massachusetts, USA. It was built in 1856by hardware manufacturer Enoch Robinson, and is considered an offshoot of the Octagon Housestyle popularized by phrenologist Orson Fowler.
The exterior of the Round House features two flush stories, with a third stepped back behind a series of
battlementsand embrasures. Inside, the three-story structure contains a central rotunda topped with a glass skylight, with interconnected rooms branching off on each level. There are 4 rooms on the first floor, 6 rooms on the 2nd floor and another 4 rooms on the third floor.
Presently the privately-owned house is unoccupied, its windows have been removed,(to the interior of the house), and the openings are covered with plywood. Its ornamentation is largely removed, and all of the ceilings are severely damaged from water. In a 1986 restoration program, students from
Boston's North Bennet Street Schooldid small amount of work rehabilitating the building's exterior, but the project fell apart and the house remains in a state of decay.
Historic Massachusetts (now Preservation MASS) placed the building on its list of Endangered Historic Resources for
By April, 2007, the Round House had been purchased by a local man who is also president of a general contracting firm. Signs placed on the property in early January advertised nearby
Diamond Edge Construction, and the thick brush filling the yard was largely removed. According [http://community.livejournal.com/davis_square/736223.html?thread=5901535#t5901535 to a letter from Brandon Wilson] , executive director of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, the building and property would be completely restored and would function as a single family residence when complete. However by February 2008 the exterior condition of the Round House had not substantially changed.
By April of 2008, it appears that restoration efforts have resumed, with noticeable changes to the finish on the exterior of the home, and replacement of the windows.
* Letter from Brandon Wilson, Director of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission: http://community.livejournal.com/davis_square/736223.html?thread=5901535#t5901535
* Zellie, Carol (1982, rev. 1990). "Beyond the Neck: The Architecture and Development of Somerville, MA". St. Paul, Minnesota: Landscape Research for City of Somerville.
* Fishman, Sarah. "Plea is issued for Round House." "Boston Globe," October 12, 1997. City Edition, City Weekly section, Somerville Notes, p. 4.
* Inventory of octagon houses: http://www.octagon.bobanna.com
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