The Octagon House

It was my pleasure to attend The Octogon, one of the nation’s symbols of power. Created by the first Capitol architect,William Thornton, it was completed in 1801. It belonged to Virginia’s most prominent family, John Tayloe III, his wife Ann Ogle Tayloe, and their 15 children. When the White House was burned by the British in 1814, President Madison and his family lived in the house for 6 months during reparations. In this house President Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812. The house director told us that the Tayloes helped preserve the home, simply by inviting a French individual who placed a flag outside. When the British attacked DC they avoided this house due to the turbulent history they had with France. 

Main Staircase
Workers/Servants Staircase

The Octogon House underwent many programming changes after Ann Taylor’s death in 1855. It was used as a Catholic girl’s school, government offices, in the 1980’s it was a tenement for poor families, and it was the headquarters for The American Institute of Architects from 1898-1970. In 1970 it became a museum and now it is operated by the Architects Foundation open to the public to learn and explore the history of the home.

Drawing Room
Dining Room Original Furniture
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