The Octagon House was built between 1798 and 1800 by the same architect who designed the U.S. Capitol. It was constructed for Colonel John Taylor, a wealthy plantation owner from Virginia. It was in this house that President Madison and his wife resided when the White House was burned by the British in 1814. It was also here that President Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent, which brought the War of 1812 to an end. The Octagon House’s architectural splendor is matched only by its historical significance to our country.
It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and opened to the public in 1970.
The Octagon House is visited by many thousands of people each year. Through tours, lectures, presentations, special programs and events, the museum informs people of all ages about the power of architecture and its influence on our lives.