The Petty-Roberts House, commonly known as The Octagon House, is one of two octagon houses built in Alabama. It is the only one that still stands. The home was built between 1859 and 1861 using a method called “gravel walls,” a mixture of sand, gravel, and water. The seventeen-inch thick walls helped keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It is a three-story home with a cupola. A basement serves as a living space, too. At the time of the 1860 Slave Census, Petty enslaved two men in their thirties. I could not find any information as to where they stayed on the property.
During the Civil War, it was occupied by Union Brevet Maj. Gen. Benjamin H. Grierson. Benjamin Franklin Perry, the first owner of the home, offered it to the Union troops in hopes it wouldn’t be destroyed while the town of Clayton was occupied.
A fuller history of the house can be read on the Encyclopedia of Alabama’s website.