One of Hamilton’s most unusual houses is also one of its most historic. The Lane-Hooven House was built in 1863 for Clark Lane, a Hamilton industrialist, with a unique design element—it’s octagonal.
Octagon houses were briefly popular in the 1850s, but the Lane-Hooven House is the only octagonal residence in Hamilton, though the Lane Public Library across the street, built in 1866, also has eight sides. However, according to Deborah Mast, administrative program director for the Hamilton Community Foundation, the house’s unique architecture is not the only reason to visit.
“For me, it’s just the craftsmanship. It’s just beautiful. You just don’t see woodworking and the quality in today’s homes,” she says. “It’s amazing when you sit here and look at 18-foot ceilings. The doors are that tall and they’re all handcrafted and just to know that they built everything pre-assembly line, I think that’s the thing that makes it so special to me.”
Though the house went through several owners before becoming the home of the foundation, it still contains many of the house’s original features as well as other period-appropriate pieces. Notable items and features include the carved front doors and stained glass panels, stenciled designs on the walls, original paintings from the 1800s, period furniture built in Cincinnati and an antique chandelier.
One of Mast’s favorite features is the spiral staircase in the entryway. “It’s amazing that it was all built by hand and it goes up three stories,” she says. Mast also says visitors should make sure to view the large double doors in the north parlor and a small surprise closet in the president’s office. 
“I just find that fascinating because as tall as it is there are just lots of little drawers. It’s like, how did they even access that?” she says. “Just the built-in storage that they had at that time are all really neat features.”
The house is open to the public 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays (excluding holidays). If you’d like to tour Mast asks that you call ahead to reserve, particularly if your group has more than three people. “We usually ask that they call ahead in advance so that we don’t have multiple large groups coming at the same time,” she says.
The Hamilton Community Foundation at the Lane-Hooven House, 319 N. Third St., Hamilton. 513-863-1717, 

To receive more articles from Cincy Magazine sign-up for a complimentary subscription here: