Side A: Zimmerman-Bury Octagon House. The Zimmerman-Bury Octagon House was built by Ezekiel B. Zimmerman (1843-1935) and Francis B. Hess Zimmerman (1848-1920) in 1883. Ezekiel graduated from Smithville Academy and was an avid reader. One of Ezekiel’s sons, Ernest Zimmerman (1888-1973), remembered that his father had encountered Orson Fowler’s manifesto A Home for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building (1853) and surmised that his father patterned the house after Section V of the book. The approximate 99,000 bricks comprising the house were made on the property, creating exterior walls and a center stairway which are three bricks or about 12 inches thick. Ernest noted the house’s “Russian Tin” roof, referring to its metal standing seam construction. The roof and architectural ornament make the house stand out compared to other octagon structures in Ohio. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued form other side) Ezekiel Zimmerman also installed conveniences that most took for granted by the mid-twentieth century. According to Ezekiel’s son Ernest, who inherited the home, it was among the first in the area to have electricity via a Delco generator in the basement, indoor plumbing using gravity flow water system, and central heating with radiators and a coal-wood fired furnace (c. 1896). The house has no fireplaces. The home remained in the Zimmerman family until 1973, when purchased and then restored by the Bury family. Public curiosity inspired the Burys to open the house for tours beginning in 1974. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The non-profit Zimmerman-Bury Octagon House Association was organized in 2016 to support the preservation of this unique structure.
Sponsors: William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Zimmerman Bury Octagon House Association, and The Ohio History Connection