The Octagon Building in Cadillac has been around since the early 1900s, serving as a community space during the county fairs.
“Originally in about 1906 the building was built as part of the fairgrounds,” said Save the Octagon Building Volunteer Barbara Wolfe VanLaeken. “At that time it was called the Floral Hall, and at some point, because of the shape of it it started being called the Octagon Building. During fair week that’s when you’d have a lot of your exhibits in there, so the flowers, or the pie making, All the 4H kind of things.”
But now, a hundred years later, it’s getting a new life, thanks to Cadillac Veterans Serving Veterans, Inc.
“It was within 2 weeks of being demolished,” said Roger Bandeen of Cadillac Veterans Serving Veterans, Inc. “We put forth the idea that the Veterans Serving Veterans, Inc. organization would purchase the building for $1 and move it to the Veterans Serving Veterans park.”
The plan is for the Octagon Building to become a year-round event center.
Construction could take about 3 to 5 years to complete.
“We’re going to take as much as we can to the park, all the inside signs and cornices,” said Bandeen. “We’ll store those under tarps until they’re ready to be used.”
Volunteers are taking the building apart piece by piece.
“We are on the inside taking down the advertising signs from old businesses and taking down some of the cornice work,” said VanLaeken. “We took the cupola off a few weeks ago.”
Veterans Serving Veterans have plans to restore some parts of the building and modernize others.
“The signs are in pretty rough shape, we want to save the signs because we want to duplicate the exact font and artwork that’s on those signs, and put all those signs back up just like they were originally,” Bandeen said. “We’ll use the same dimension boards and the fishtail boards, the clap boards, but we’ll do that in cement boards instead of the cedar board so it will last forever.”
For the Save the Octagon Building group, the Octagon’s new home is exactly what they were looking for to bring the building back to life.
“Over the years it’s deteriorated and it couldn’t really stay here anymore,” said VanLaeken. “It’s so great that Roger came in with the vets group to basically to save us.”
The vets are looking forward to having a space for the community that’s so special to the area.
“A lot of community members have family members that worked on this building,” said Bandeen. “It’ll be there hopefully for at least another 100 years.”
To follow their progress on the Octagon Building project, you can follow the Save the Octagon Building and Cadillac Vets Serving Vets .
To donate, you can go online to the website and specify that you want your donation to go toward the Octagon Building.
You can also send a check to Veterans Serving Veterans, Inc. to the following address:
P.O. Box 634
Cadillac, MI 49601
Memo: Octagon Building