Tim Lamorte

Inside the Octagon

Tim Lamorte
Inside the Octagon

IRVINGTON, NY — From farmhouses to mansions, historic homes are among the most important landmarks in the Hudson Valley.

In Westchester County, the homes open to the public range from Philipse Manor Hall and Glenview in Yonkers, to the Old Croton Aqueduct Keeper’s House in Dobbs Ferry, Sunnyside and Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, Kykuit in Pocantico Hills, and Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson.

There are also reminders of homes razed long ago. In Yonkers, Samuel Untermyer’s mansion, Greystone, is a memory, but part of his gardens remain. In Sleepy Hollow, the only remnant of Rockwood Hall is its stone foundation.

Earlier this year, the most unique historic home in the Hudson Valley, the Armour-Stiner Octagon House in Irvington, joined the list of sites open for tours. 

The Octagon House is unique, in part, because of its shape. The first two floors were built by its first owner, Paul Armour, between 1859 and 1860. The second owner, Joseph Stiner, bought the building in 1872, then added the third and fourth floors, underneath the dome, as well as the porch that encircles the structure.

In addition to its architecture, the Octagon House is unique because of its ownership. Of the sites listed above, it is the only one owned by an individual rather than a nonprofit organization or New York State, which operates Philipse Manor Hall and the Keeper’s House.

For 43 years, architect Joseph Pell Lombardi has been restoring every detail inside and outside his eight walls. Earlier this year, the 79-year-old decided to share the results of that effort with the public. The Village of Irvington approved his request to offer tours.

Every paint color and piece of furniture contributes to the story of the Octagon House. So do the Lombardi family mementos and the numerous phrenology busts throughout the rooms. For more information, the five docents, led by Lynda Fassa and Sarah Alfonso, add context and history.

The Octagon House is open to the public from Fridays to Mondays. Thanks to Joe Lombardi, visiting his home is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Tim Lamorte is an award-winning journalist who has spent more than two decades documenting life along the Hudson River.