The Octagon House is OPEN for tours. Regular hours for
self-guided tours are from 1pm to 3pm the first and third
Sundays of each month March through October. The admission for self-guided tours are $3.00 for adults and children 11 or over, $2.00 for children 6-10 and free for kids under 6. A guided, private group tour is $4.00 per person. Kids under 6 are free.
The House will be open for Christmas tours Sunday, November 30, December 7, 14, 21, 2014 from 1-3 pm. Candlelight Tour December 7, 2014 from 6-8 p.m. will be $5.00 for adults and children over 11, $2.00 for children 6-10 and free for kids under 6.
For guided tours please call the Newstead Historical Society
Office at 542-7022.
The Rich-Twinn Octagon House is a late Greek Revival style
dwelling designed in the Octagon mode. It is located at
145 Main Street in the quaint village of Akron, N.Y.
Click here for a map.
It is a rare and extremely early surviving example of the
Octagon mode in Western N.Y. It is the only original example of
its type in Erie County. The Octagon was popularized by Orson
Squire Fowler, a phrenologist, during the mid nineteenth
century. He advocated that if one lived in an Octagon House, he
would be a healthier person. Octagon Houses were more commonly
found in the Hudson Valley, Mohawk Valley and central regions of
the state. This dwelling is one of the most distinguished
examples of nineteenth century architecture in Akron. It was
built by Charles B. Rich, one of Akron's foremost nineteenth
Rich was a New York State Indian Agent and a grain merchant. He
also owned an Ashery Mill. Late in the 1840's he married for the
fourth time and took his bride on a packet boat trip on the Erie
Canal to New York City. The Rich's were said to have admired an
Octagon House (presumably Fowler's) in the Hudson Valley and
upon return to Akron, proceeded to erect a similar type of
residence. The Rich's Octagon is an early example of the trend
of Octagons. It is particularly noteworthy for its early
employment of the Italianate Style of architecture, which did
not become widespread in Western New York until the 1860's.
The Rich's occupied the house until his death in 1870 and was
then purchased and occupied by Charles A. Clark until 1882.
William Gillings and his wife purchased the house and occupied
it until 1938. At that time it was then purchased by Clark J.
Twinn, a relative of the second owner. Twinn's wife lived in the
house until 1981 when the Newstead Historical Society acquired
The Newstead Historical Society has meticulously restored the
Octagon House, according to the Secretary of the Interiors
Standard for Rehabilitation. The Society received the high and
prestigious honor of having The Rich-Twinn Octagon House listed
on the "National Register of Historic Places". The house serves
as a museum and is open to the public on a regular basis.
The residents of the Town of Newstead and Village of Akron are
proud of the Rich-Twinn Octagon House, which now has had
thousands of visitors interested in its unusual and unique
Marybeth Whiting, Curator
Click here for a sneak peak inside the