DC -- Foggy Bottom -- Octagon House and American Institute of Architects Bldg:
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OCT_170920_01.JPG: The Octagon
Built between 1799 and 1802 by Colonel John Tayloe III (1771-1828) and his wife Ann Ogle Tayloe (1772-1855).
Dr. William Thornton (1759-1828) architect.
Occupied by President and Mrs. Madison from August 1814 through March 1815 after the burning of the White House by the British during the War of 1812.
The Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812 was ratified here by President Madison on February 17, 1815.
Headquarters of The American Institute of Architects from 1898-1949.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
[Covered over is this text:
Now owned by the American Architectural Foundation.]
OCT_171019_041.JPG: Last year, the Octagon Museum Drawing Room looked like this:
So what is going on now?
OCT_171019_196.JPG: This was Winney Jackson's bedroom
Winney Jackson was an enslaved woman who served as Ann Ogle Tayloe's ladies maid She was married to Harry Jackson, the Tayloes head coachman, and they had three children.
But this is where she spent most nights, because she was on-call 24 hours a day; if Ann wanted something at three in the morning, Winney had to be there to get it.
Unroll the mattress and try lying on it, and imagine what it would be like to sleep here each night.
OCT_171019_203.JPG: Emma Degan Tyng Upjohn
OCT_171019_206.JPG: Richard M. Upjohn
Richard M. Upjohn (1828-1903) was a prominent American architect and a co-founder of the American Institute of Architects in 1857.
Though most famous as an architect of churches (many of which survive today and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places), his designs also include the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford.
Richard M. Upjohn
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Richard Michell Upjohn, FAIA, (March 7, 1828 – March 3, 1903) was an American architect, co-founder and president of the American Institute of Architects.
Early life and career
Uphohn was born on March 7, 1828 in Shaftesbury, England and his family emigrated to the United States in 1829. He was the son of the famous architect Richard Upjohn (1802–1878) and joined his father's New York architectural firm in 1853. The earliest building that architectural scholars credit to him alone is Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City, built from 1853 to 1854. He became best known, much like his father, for his High Gothic Revival style of architecture. He, again like his father, was a founding member and president of the American Institute of Architects.
A number of noteworthy architects trained in his office, including Clarence Fagan True.
His son, Hobart Upjohn, practiced as a civil engineer and architect. Richard M. Upjohn died on March 3, 1903 in Brooklyn, New York. He was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, for which he and his father had done design work many years before.
A number of buildings that he designed are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Four are listed as National Historic Landmarks.
Works with Richard Upjohn
* St. John Chrysostom Church (1851) in Delafield, Wisconsin, on the NRHP
* St. Peter's Episcopal Church (1859) in Albany, New York, a National Historic Landmark
* Trinity-St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1862–63) in New Rochelle, New York, on the NRHP
* All Saint's Memorial Church (1864) in Navesink, New Jersey, a National Historic Landmark
* The third Saint Thomas Church (1865–70) in New York City, destroyed by fire in 1905
* Green-Wood Cemetery (1860s) in Brooklyn, New York, a National Historic Landmark
* Edwin A. Stevens Hall (1871) in Hoboken, New Jersey, on the NRHP
* St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1871–75) in Selma, Alabama, on the NRHP
Works as Richard M. Upjohn
Individual projects include:
* Madison Square Presbyterian Church (1853–54), at Madison Avenue and 24th Street, New York City, demolished for Stanford White's Madison Square Presbyterian Church (1906)
* St. James Episcopal Church (1855) in La Grange, Texas, on the NRHP
* St. Luke's Church (1857) in Clermont, New York, on the NRHP
* Christ Church Episcopal (1866) in Riverdale, New York, on the NRHP
* St. Alban's Episcopal Church (1865) in Staten Island, New York, on the NRHP
* Church of the Covenant (1865–67) in Boston, Massachusetts
* St. Paul's Church (1866) in Brooklyn, New York, on the NRHP
* St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church (1869) in Stamford, Connecticut, on the NRHP
* Trinity Church (1871) in Thomaston, Connecticut, on the NRHP
* First National Bank (1871) in Salt Lake City, Utah, on the NRHP
* Connecticut State Capitol (1871-1878) in Hartford, Connecticut, a National Historic Landmark
* Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church (1873) in Rochester, New York, on the NRHP
* Fay Club (1883) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on the NRHP
* Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea (1883) in Greenburgh, New York, on the NRHP
* St. Mark's Episcopal Church (1886) in Augusta, Maine, on the NRHP
* St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church (1887) in Brooklyn, New York, on the NRHP
* St. Peter's Episcopal Church (1891) in Peekskill, New York, on the NRHP
* Church of St. John in the Wilderness (1852) in Copake Falls, New York, on the NRHP
OCT_171019_225.JPG: This box was used by Henry Carroll, secretary to Henry Clay, to transport the official Treaty of Ghent to the United States.
American and British negotiators in Ghent, Belgium, agreed to the terms of the treaty December 24, 1814, but it would take over a month for the treaty to reach the United States, in this box.
The treaty was unanimously ratified by the Senate on February 16, 1815, and was then brought to this room for President Madison's signature.
OCT_171019_228.JPG: Until last summer, this is what the Treaty Room looked like:
Why are the wall colors different now?
OCT_171019_234.JPG: John Tayloe IV, c 1815
The Tayloes' eldest son was appointed a midshipman in the US Navy in 1809. During the War of 1812, John served on the battleship Constitution, where he was involved in several important sea battles. The Constitution's most famous battle resulted in the capture of the British frigate Guerriere in August of 1812. For his "intrepidity and valor" during the battle, John was awarded a sword by the State of Virginia. The sword's hilt is visible in this painting. John's death at the age of 31 may have been the result of injuries suffered during the war.
OCT_171019_242.JPG: Naval Service Medal
American, ca 1815
OCT_171019_245.JPG: The Tayloes' oldest son, John Tayloe IV, served aboard the USS Constitution during the War of 1812.
He probably used this spyglass during that service, and the piece bears the Tayloe crest as well as "John Tayloe, Virginia" inscribed on the side.
He received this medal for his service in the battle with the HMS Levant and HMS Cyane on February 20, 1815, in which the Constitution captured both British ships. Though the Treaty of Ghent had already formally ended the war, the crew of the Constitution had not yet received word of the treaty. The front of the medal bears a portrait of Captain Charles Stewart, who commanded the Constitution in that engagement, and the back shows a depiction of the sea battle.
European, ca 1800-1815
OCT_171019_253.JPG: The treaty of peace terminating the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain was signed in this room February 17, 1815
OCT_171019_274.JPG: This original wooden joist was saved when it was removed in 1968 and replaced with a metal beam. It formed part of the heavy framing of the Octagon's floors. This Southern yellow pine beam from North Carolina was bedded directly into the masonry wall, so the carpenters had to work in concert with the brick masons. According to surviving account books, the work was completed by Andrew McDonald and his crew, who was later terminated by Tayloe's supervising architect, William Lovering:
If McDaniel [McDonald] does not conduct himself properly I wish you wd consult Mr. Dorsey -- for in this case t'would would [sic] be well to discharge him from all future interference with the House & to measure up his work -- & to be done with him.
OCT_171019_280.JPG: Why Does the Octagon Have Two Staircases?
The service stair was used to carry food and dishes back and forth between the kitchen and dining room, and it allowed dirty laundry and chamber pots to be discreetly removed from the bed chambers without having to go through the public areas of the house. Young children in the Tayloe family also used the backstairs when their parents entertained in the public areas on the first and second floors. The contrast between the flowing curve of the main staircase and the right, cramped confines of the service stair are an architectural expression of the differences in the lives of those who used them.
OCT_171019_318.JPG: Obscured Details Uncovered
OCT_171019_326.JPG: Whose Room Was This?
OCT_171019_332.JPG: The Tayloes' housekeeper was a paid servant, not an enslaved woman. She had her own bedroom, and her straw mattress was elevated up off the ground on a roped bedframe.
Come sit or lay on the housekeeper's bed! How does it feel compared to Billy's bed in the kitchen, or your own bed at home?
OCT_171019_343.JPG: The Treaty Desk
Description of Subject Matter: The Octagon House, built between 1798 and 1800, was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol, and completed by 1800. Colonel John Tayloe, for whom the house was built, owned Mt. Airy plantation, located approximately 100 miles south of Washington in Richmond County, Virginia. Tayloe was reputed to be the richest Virginian plantation owner of his time, and built the house in Washington at the suggestion of George Washington. In 1814, Colonel Tayloe offered the use of his home to President and Mrs. Madison for a temporary "Executive Mansion" after the burning of the White House by the British. Madison, who used the circular room above the entrance as a study, signed the Treaty of Ghent there, which ended the War of 1812.
This three-story brick house, adapted to an irregular-shaped lot, displays a dramatic break with the traditional, late Georgian and early Federal house planning that preceded it. The Octagon achieves a zenith in Federal architecture in the United States, through its brilliant plan which combines a circle, two rectangles, and a triangle, and through the elegance and restraint of the interior and exterior decoration. The Coade stone, stoves, other decorative elements, and furniture were imported from England. The construction materials, such as bricks, timber, iron, and Acquia creek sandstone were all manufactured locally.
The Octagon House became the home of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on January 1, 1899, and complete ownership of the property was acquired in the year 1902. Today, the American Architectural Foundation owns the Octagon House, and the AIA has moved its headquarters to a larger building located directly behind it. The house has undergone extensive renovation since 1996, culminating in efforts to restore it to its original period appearance.
The Octagon House is located at 18th St. and New York Ave. NW. Prearranged group tours are available by appointment. To arrange, phone 202/638-3221. Visit the American Architectural Foundation website for further information. Metro stop: Farragut West
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