Octagon City

Name:

Octagon City

County:

Allen

Zip Code:

 

Latitude / Longitude:

37° 45′ 38.88″ N, 95° 25′ 22.8″ W

Elevation:

 

Time Zone:

Central (CST) (UTC-6)

Comments:

Octagon City is a ghost town in Allen County, Kansas, United States. It was a failed intentional community that was founded in 1856 about six miles (10 km) south of Humboldt, Kansas near the Neosho River. It was created by the Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company, headed by prominent vegetarian Henry Clubb and entrepreneurs Charles DeWolfe and John McLaurin. The original intent was to build a vegetarian commune on the south side of the Neosho River for vegetarians only, but investor interest in a non-vegetarian moral community was much higher and so the decision was made to build Octagon City on the north side of the Neosho River to make the entire project sustainable. Members of Octagon City were under oath to educate their children and uphold a moral lifestyle.

Remains:

The city’s design was influenced by Orson Squire Fowler, a leading advocate of octagon house architecture. Octagon City would feature an octagonal town square from which would radiate eight roads. Between the roads, in a four-square-mile , sixty-four families would build octagonal farmhouses with octagonal barns.

Established:

 

Disestablished:

 

Current Status:

Very few of those remaining past summer had any intention of making permanent homes in Kansas. They waited only for opportunities to get away. By 1857 only four of the original residents were left, and the survivors reported more illness as the weather became warmer again.

Remarks:

The population remained remote until 1873 with the arrival of the railroad. The town of Chanute, Kansas sprung up four miles (6 km) south of the former commune. Nothing survives of the settlement except the tributary Vegetarian Creek. A marker was erected near the site in 1986, but due to repeated vandalism it was removed in 2001 and donated to the St. Paul/Neosho County Museum.