A Members-only Tour of The Octagon

posted Apr 13, 2014, 6:49 PM by Bill Marzella

Saturday, May 3rd at 10:15 AM.


Please join the Latrobe Chapter for a members-only a tour of the Octagon House (1799 New York Avenue NW). Katherine Somerville, Director of Programs at the Octagon, will be leading us on an hour-long tour.  
Ms. Somerville will present the history of change at the Octagon, one of America's finest early residences. 

In 1799, wealthy Virginian John Tayloe III, purchased an oddly-shaped lot at the intersection of 18th Street and New York Avenue, a few blocks north of the Potomac River, to build his family an urban home in the new capitol city. Rather than imposing a regular form upon the irregular site, architect Dr. William Thornton (first architect of the U.S. Capitol) designed a house composed of rectangular masses pivoting off a round entry pavilion, an innovative approach that fitted the functional and social needs of one of the wealthiest men in the new nation onto a difficult, if beautiful property. Taut massing and restrained but well-informed detailing mark the house as one of the finest in the Federal Style period. After it opened in 1801, President Madison occupied the Octagon after the White House burned in 1814, and he signed the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war of 1812, in the house. In the second half of the 19th century, the Octagon housed a hospital and an apartment building. In 1899, the Octagon became the headquarters for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 1973, the AIA relocated to a larger building just northeast, which was designed around the historic structure. Now operated as an historic site by the AIA, since 1990 the Octagon has undergone several restoration projects. 

Reservations are required.  Please see attached flyer for additional information.
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Bill Marzella,
Apr 13, 2014, 6:49 PM
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