Feusier Octagon House
The Feusier Octagon House is one of San Francisco's few iconic octagonal houses located at 1067 Green Street, in the Russian Hill neighbourhood. It was built between 1857 and 1858 by George Kenny, who sold it to Louis Feusier in 1870. Although the exact year of construction is uncertain, the Feusier Octagon House is undoubtedly one of the oldest houses on Russian Hill. One source even alleges construction beginning as early as 1852, however the hard photographic evidence only suggests that the latest year of construction was 1858 as at the time the building stood out in the landscape. On March 24, 1974, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
Towards the turn of the 20th century, the house was modified and the third story with Mansard roof was added by Louis Feusier. Like other buildings in the surrounding areas, the house was able to avoid the devastation of the 1906 Earthquake, but the ensuing fires did reach the area and the outbuildings were destroyed. Fortunately, the house itself was saved.
Though a rare and unique sight today, octagon houses were quite the fad in the mid 19th century. This was down to a New York phrenologist named Orson Squire Fowler who wrote a book entitled, "A Home for All; or, Gravel Hall and the Octagon Mode of Building". Fowler believed that the shape of one's house was directly related to one's well-being, with the octagon being the best shape to achieve this goal as it allows every room in the house to receive sunlight during at least one part of the day.
Today there are over a hundred surviving octagon houses across the US. San Francisco was once home to at least five documented octagon houses although only two remain to this day. Four of the five octagon houses were in the Russian Hill area with the exception being Cyrus Palmer's home on Rincon Hill. It is thought that all of the buildings were constructed by the same person.
Louis Feusier bought the house in 1875 and his family lived in it for the next eighty years. Feusier arrived in California in 1852, and, after a ten-year stint in Nevada, returned to San Francisco and married Louise Guerne, daughter of businessman George Guerne.
San Francisco Landmark #36 Feusier Octagon House. Noe Hill. Accessed May 07, 2017. http://noehill.com/sf/landmarks/sf036.asp.
Bragman, Bob. San Francisco Octagon houses - home to 3 spinsters and a ghostly past. SF Gate. Accessed May 07, 2017. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-Octagon-houses-3-spinsters-and-a-10866476.php.