Photo finish: Revisiting the historic Octagon house, formerly of Pasadena

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The Times’ Sam Watters, in his Lost L.A. column, digs into the “multidimensional” history of the famed Octagon house:

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“Along the Arroyo Seco Parkway from downtown Los Angeles to Pasadena is
a collection of 19th century buildings saved from L.A.’s busy wrecking
ball. At Heritage Square, which isn’t a square, you’ll find a house
that isn’t a rectangle. It’s an octagon, built for a family in Pasadena.”

It was built in 1893 by Gilbert Longfellow (and, actually, was not his first construction of an eight-sided home) who ran a family farm that was later taken up and expanded by his son.

After falling into disrepair, the building was moved from Pasadena in 1986 to Heritage Square. In the photo above, the Octagon house is transported down Colorado Boulevard, crossing over Fair Oaks, on Aug. 11, 1986.

It was the second move for the historic structure, which had been relocated the first time in 1917 “to a city lot about a mile north of the farm on Allen Avenue,” according to the Heritage Square Museum Web site.

Writes Watters:

“At the time of the final move, Pasadena Heritage argued that the
Longfellow house should remain in the city of its origin. But the horse
was already out of the octagon; Longfellow’s house should never have
been moved in the first place from the original location on San Pasqual.”

In the color photos above, a renovations specialist puts some finishing touches on the house, 10 years after it was moved to Heritage Square.

You can visit the Octagon house, and many other historic structures, at Heritage Square, 3800 Homer Street, Los Angeles, along the Pasadena Freeway, just north of Dodger Stadium and downtown.

Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and most holiday Mondays from 12-5 p.m. From Nov. to March, hours are 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Guided tours of most of the structures depart hourly, from 12-3 p.m., from the Palms Depot. No admittance after the final tour has departed.

Adults, $10; Seniors, $8; Children, 6 to 12, $5. (323) 225-2700

(File photos)