Zimmerman II, of Swiss ancestry, moved with his family from Pennsylvania
at the age of four, to live in the wilderness of Chippewa Township in 1812. When he became of age he married Rachel Ann McClellan, and in 1848 their
eldest son Ezekiel was born in a small
stone house which stood nearby on Pleasant Home Rd. in Marshallville, OH. That house is said
to have been part of the Underground Railroad used before the Civil War.
Being among the first settlers in the area, one of Ezekielís uncles was
an Indian fighter, noted for his running speed until he was outrun and
ultimately burned at the stake.
Zimmermanís had a lumber business in which they would buy land, cut and sell
the timber, and resell the land for farming. Young Ezekiel was unusually well educated, having graduated form high
school, and attended the Smithville Academy for a time.
He lived in a log house on what is now State Route 585 for four or five
years before marrying Frances B. Hess, and in 1875 Frances and EzekielZimmerman
III bought approximately 100 acres of land on which to build their house. Being
a most avid reader of all sorts of books, Ezekiel read of an eight cornered
house which intrigued him. The book which inspired him was most probably Orson
B. Fowlerís A Home for All, or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building,
since the floor plan of the Zimmerman house is basically the same as one described in Section V of Fowlerís book. Mr. Zimmerman and a carpenter drew up some plans and, within a week, built a cabin in which to live while building his unique eight sided home. All the bricks were made on the property, and most of the wood and other materials were available from the land. Ezekiel did much of his own work and the cash outlay for his house was about $3,000. Within a year the octagon house had been constructed and one room was finished.
after completion of the octagon houseís interior, the barn was built along
with a straw shed, brick smoke house, blacksmith shop, chicken coops, corn
cribs, and various other outbuildings. A
ten acre orchard was planted north and east of the house and acres of asparagus,
rhubarb, and grapes were grown. The
Zimmermanís raised calves, chickens, 100 head of sheep, 99 hogs, and used a
team of six Morgan horses for plowing. Due
to his avid and endless reading, Mr. Zimmerman was a lover of nature and most
progressive farmer, and built a greenhouse to grow tomatoes and exotic flowers. He owned the first reaper in the area and planted such rare things as
walnut trees and an imported Japanese Chestnut tree some of which still remain
on the property. He was a lover of
birds, and once spent the unheard of sum of $40.00 for a book about them. Rather than ride his prized Morgans after a day of plowing, he would
prefer to walk to town and let his animals rest. Ezekiel was one of the first in the area to have central heating in his
octagon house (1896) and electricity via a Delco Electric Plant. The Zimmermanís second son, Ernest, was born in 1888, and upon the
death of his father in 1935 the estate was divided among the five children. Ernest married Alta Redinger and they inherited the unusual octagonal
home which had become a local curiosity in 1937. The octagonal home remained in this family until, after the death of Mrs.
Zimmerman in 1972, it was sold to the Buryís in March of 1973, and they have
been continuously working to restore it to its former beauty. The Zimmerman Bury Octagon House Association helps to achieve these restoration goals by offering several educational programs and fundraising events throughout the year.