Octagon house ruins found in Lowcountry

Archeologists believe they may have discovered the nation’s first octagonal home, along the May River in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

William McKimmy owned an 18th-century, 900-acre plantation where the foundations of an octagonal building were recently discovered. The 900-square-foot structure is believed to have been built around 1790, archaeologist Heather Cline told the Hilton Head Island Packet.

That would predate other octagonal buildings such as the Octagon House of Portsmouth, N.H., built in 1813, and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, built in the 1820s near Lynchburg, Va.

McKimmy emigrated from Scotland to Charleston around 1768 and worked as a barrel maker. He later bought Beef Island – known today as Myrtle Island – and the 900-acre tract in present-day Palmetto Bluff, according to the Island Packet.

McKimmy never married, and he owned about 75 slaves when he died of palsy in 1799. The slaves are thought to have built the octagonal structure, Cline told the paper.

The house was never lived in again after McKimmy died. In his will, he left the plantation to a nephew, but the heir never settled there and the property was sold at auction. The house is believed to have been destroyed by a hurricane in 1804.

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