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Nineteenth century Shakers, a religious minority with colonies in New York and several New England states, were fond of round barns.

In his book An Age of Barns, landscape painter Eric Sloane explains that the Shakers regarded the circle as the perfect form. “Farmers made circular designs on their barns, and their wives sewed circular patterns on quilts. The Shakers used the circle in their ‘inspirational drawings’ … they took delight in round hats, rugs and boxes; and they made round drawer-pulls and hand-rests for their severely angled furniture. There is a saying that the round barn was intended ‘to keep the devil from hiding in corners.’


Inspired by a Scottish turret, this 1872 granite round house in Lowell, Massachusetts, has fifteen rooms that wind around a stunning circular staircase.

Known as the Bowers Round House after its original owner, Jonathan Bowers, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. According to the owner of the house, Bowers was “a local industrialist who owned a granite quarry, a carriage factory, and an amusement park.”

The interior is spectacular, featuring an oval living room and a round dining room. Other notable features are the house’s arched windows, pedimented dormers, round bays, and round granite chimneys.

1850s round house

August 19, 2010 — 2 Comments

A very old round house in Somerville, a Boston suburb:

According to Apartment Therapy, “The story is that the Round House was built in 1856 by inventor and manufacturer, Enoch Robinson. Robinson owned a Boston company that manufactured high-end decorative hardware — window fasteners, knobs, hand-made lock mechanisms, door handles, escutcheons– which you can still see in Boston’s State House and Old City Hall. He was also an inventor who designed and built perpetual motion machines in his spare time.”

“We’ve read that Robinson had been annoyed that a previous house which he had built was copied by local builders, so he brought in a specialized team from France to build a totally unique structure. When they were finished, he immediately sent them back home. The design of his round house was based on that of the Column House in the French “folly garden” of Desert de Retz in Chambourcy.”

The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As of 2007, it looked to be in very poor shape.