Preserving the Past for Our Future
The 1840s Round House at 36 Atherton changed hands in 2007. The new owner is a contractor of Greek descent, who won a director's award and a preservation award several years ago from the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission. We wish him the best of luck in renovating this important Somerville structure!
Who was Enoch Robinson and Why did he build the Round House?
Unknown date - The Round House
Enoch Robinson moved to Somerville in 1847. A successful lock smith and designer with an interest in developing perpetual motion machines, he appears to have been influenced in the design of his home by the phrenologist and author, Orson Squire Fowler. Fowler wrote many books on a variety of subjects, but his last, published in 1848 was entitled: A Home for All, or A New, Cheap, Convenient, and Superior Mode of Building. In this, he extolled the virtues of octagonal houses, such as less wasted space, more light, and improved heating circulation. Enoch Robinson constructed the round house in 1856. It stands to this day at 36 Atherton Street.
Mr. Robinson is listed in the 1870 census as a 69 year old locksmith. Living with him at the time were 6 other individuals: his wife, Ellenor (sp?) (62 yrs.), a daughter, Ann (40 yrs.), two other daughters (name and ages difficult to read), a son named Shepard listed "at school", and a female domestic servant. Mr. Robinson is rightly famous as the builder of the Round House, but he is also remembered for having donated his cemetery plot at the Milk Row Cemetery for the placement of the Civil War Monument in 1863. For more information about Enoch Robinson and his inventions, see: