Feusier Octagon House
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.