Farmhouse, bungalow, Colonial- the variety of house designs in West Des Moines is impressive, but there’s a once-popular style you won’t see much today. It’s the Octagon House, and a prime example was the Clegg House, built approximately 1875 and destroyed around 1936.
Abram Clegg, his wife Anna, and four children, (Xerxes, Mollie, George, and Edward) came by covered wagon from New Hampshire in 1851. They homesteaded about 200 acres that extend from 56th St. in Des Moines to 8th St. in West Des Moines. In 1865 the family built this unique home near present-day 6th and Ashworth. The eight-sided home had a copper roof, walls that were one foot thick, and a basement ceiling that was 20-feet high.
Owners said octagon houses were cheaper to build, allowed for additional living space and were easier to heat and cool. Compared with a square, an octagon encloses approximately 20% additional space with the same outline, according to the man responsible for popularizing them, Orson Squire Fowler.