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Octagon House program to be presented

Since 1973 its renovation has been the life’s work of Lynne and Gordon Bury, who bought the home from the original builder’s second eldest son, Ernest Zimmerman.

Submitted

In Chippewa Township stands a unique house that bodes to a time gone by. The house is an octagon, in that it's designed with eight sides. It is a Queen Anne-style Victorian home built in the mid-19th century.
 
The home's owners, Lynne and Gordon Bury, will present a free program about their unique house, hosted by the County Line Historical Society of Wayne/Holmes on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Ken Miller Museum, 7920 Shreve Road, Shreve.
 
Since 1973 its renovation has been the life’s work of Lynne and Gordon Bury, who bought the home from the original builder’s second eldest son, Ernest Zimmerman.
 
The original builder, Ezekiel Zimmerman, had been born in a small stone house on Pleasant Home Road in Marshallville. He was well educated for the time, having finished high school and attended Smithville Academy.
 
Ezekiel Zimmerman was a voracious reader, and it was through a book of the era that he became enthralled with the octagon design.
 
He purchased 100 acres for the construction of the house. All the bricks were made on the property, and most of the other materials were available on the land.
 
“The National Registry [of Historical Landmarks] came to us. That’s how unique it is,” Lynne Bury said.
 
The couple are historians, having met while students at Otterbein College. At the time they bought the Octagon House, Gordon Buryalready had worked on restoring another house, one of the oldest in Ohio.
 
“It certainly was quite an undertaking for a starter home,” Lynne Bury said.
 
By the time the Burys bought the Octagon House, it had fallen into serious disrepair. Weeds and overgrowth had nearly hidden the home from the rode. Huge wisteria vines had obscured the large wrap-around porch.
 
“Right off the bat we had to start with the very basics, like plumbing, heating and wiring,” Lynne Bury said. “It had the old knob-and-tube wiring, everything you’d expect.”
 
Lynne Bury said the octagon shape posed some challenges for interior decorating. “There are so many doors and windows and radiators in corners. It somewhat limits what kind of function you can employ,” she said.
 
The dining room is Lynne Bury's favorite. “The room is furnished with mostly family heirlooms, all my great grandparents’ china,” she said. “I can see most of my past there.”
 
The home was open for casual public tours, but that became burdensome, according to Lynne Bury. “We knew we were in trouble the year someone just dropped in on Thanksgiving evening,” she said.
 
The Burys have established a 501(c)(3) association to achieve restoration goals as well as several educational programs and fundraising throughout the year.
 
“We’re always looking for something interesting, and I’m sure there is a lot here that people will appreciate and enjoy,” said Jane Neal, program chair for the Ken Miller Museum.
 
Lynne Bury said she relishes such opportunities to share their passion with others who are interested. “This gives us an opportunity to live in the past,” she said.
 

Published: January 10, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180109981