Saturday, October 14, 2017

Society Saturday - Washington in 1812

Following the Fall board meeting of the U.S. Daughters of 1812, we toured some 1812 sites in Washington, D.C.

Our group made 3 stops to Federal period homes in the district.  We learned a lot about that style of architecture and furnishings - symmetry, columns, textile designs, etc.

All 3 homes had ties to important people of the era.

The Octagon House was designed by William Thornton, the first architect of the U.S. Capitol for the Tayloe family.  They used it as a winter home and would rent it out to government officials in the summer.  During the summer of 1814, it was rented out to the French minister.  When the British started burning the city, they could not touch the home because it would be viewed as an act of war against France, with whom they recently had reached a peace accord.  When President and Mrs. Madison returned to the city after the battle, they stayed at the home.  Dolley would entertain in the fashionable parlor and dining room.  President James Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent in the upstairs office of this building, officially ending the War of 1812.

Plaque placed by U.S.D.1812

Replica of the Drum desk used to sign the Treaty

Tudor Place was built for Martha Custis Peter, granddaughter of Martha Washington.  The home was kept in the family for 178 years.  We enjoyed walking around the period-style gardens and partook of high tea while we were there.

This is a view of the Dell in the gardens.  

The Dumbarton house is currently owned by the National Society Colonial Dames of America.  The home was owned by Joseph Nourse, first Register of the U.S. Treasury.  It is said that Dolley Madison was a frequent visitor.

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