The Octagon House, five floors of solid brick construction completed in 1854, was designed and built by John Richards, a pioneer Watertown settler. The House is one of the largest single family residences of the pre-Civil War period in Wisconsin. Richards arrived in Watertown, on foot, in the spring of 1837. Once here he became the first lawyer in Jefferson County, as well as the owner of several mills. In 1849 he married his sweetheart, the former Eliza Forbes. He promised to build her the finest home in the Wisconsin Territory if she would marry him. Its construction includes central heating, running water and ventilating systems. In addition to those "modern conveniences," the house features a central spiral staircase which rises from the first floor to the tower room. The Richards family and their descendants resided in the home until 1937. The Richards family and their descendants resided in the home until 1937. Since 1938 the Octagon House has been open to the public.