Octagon House 1890

Number 12 Library Street was leased by Mrs. Hanna Stearns-1890. Hanna and her husband Mr. J. Stearns were currently leasing and residing at number 12 North Street. Many questions concern the only Octagon Building in Lily Dale and one of the few in the entire Western New York area. My assumption is: Dr. Erastus Hyde and his wife Julia before residing in Lily Dale had an Octagon style house [1871] built in the area of Friendship, N.Y. The Hydes moved to Lily Dale in the early 1880’s and soon after became permanent residents. The Hydes did not sell their Octagon House in Friendship, N.Y. The Hydes and Stearns most likely became friends-during one of many conversations the idea of the Octagon style building surfaced.The Octagon House 12 Library Street was never used as a residence. Its purpose was defined as: for private meetings and lectures and also a permanent place for the children’s Lyceum [the latter stated purpose never materialized]. Music and dance instruction was conducted by Mrs. Julia Hyde. Mrs. Hyde previously taught music at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music while Mr. Hyde was completing his medical degree [Homeopathy] at Hahnemann Hospital.

The Political Equality club along with the Summer School of Psychic Science each called the Octagon Building home. The School of Psychic Science was an all around series of class preparation for the Religion of Spiritualism. This school 1893-1902 was the forerunner to the Morris Pratt Institute, Whitewater, Wisconsin.

Mrs. Stearns either sold or gifted the Octagon House to Lily Dale in 1898. The Junior League-a [precursor to the Mediums League] and the Mediums League have used the Octagon Building for as long as anyone can remember.

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