Yaphank School House, c. 1910. (Image from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)
This image of school children enjoying recess time outside their octagonal-shaped school house in Yaphank is from the turn of the century. However, the building was likely built in the mid- to late 1800s, when eight-sided buildings were all the rage. Some still survive on Long Island, in Huntington, Brentwood, and elsewhere. Octagonal-shaped buildings were thought to be good for the health. That notion appears to have come from a nineteenth-century book titled Octagon House: A Home for All, in which author Orson Fowler claimed the increased light and ventilation of the building's shape contributed to a healthier indoor environment.