Photo of The Octagon's brick facade AAJN PHOTOGRAPHY

All About The Octagon

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 7:00pm
Led by 
Amanda Ferrario

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Yes, there actually is a place in Washington, D.C. called the Octagon.

It has served as a family home, a Catholic girls’ school, federal government offices, tenement housing, and the headquarters of the American Institute of Architects.  Since 1801, the Octagon has stood on the corner of New York Avenue and 18th Street, NW, essentially unaltered in appearance despite the various uses to which the building has been put to use.

Who built the Octagon?

Built by enslaved workers for the Tayloe’s, Virginia’s wealthiest plantation family, the Octagon was designed by the first architect of the United States Capitol, and served for six months as the White House after the 1814 Burning of Washington.

A New Identity

More recently, the historic house has unveiled its new identity as a site for programs and exhibitions to inspire the next generation of designers as well as an initiative to reveal the role enslaved craftspeople played in the life of the United States.  Hear the history of and what the future holds for this Washington, D.C. architectural landmark.

Presented by Amanda Ferrario, Manager, The Octagon. 

Over the past 11 years, Amanda Ferrario has worked in various museums where she has cultivated lasting partnerships and developed various inclusive programs and events. She has a BA in History from Coastal Carolina University, an MA in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and currently serves on the Board of the Prince George’s County Historical Society.  


Hosted by Carolyn Crouch, founder of Washington Walks.


Can’t make the live event? Recordings of Washington Walks Virtual Experiences are available exclusively to Washington Walks Members. Get on-demand access to the Virtual Experiences Library - 50 titles and growing- by becoming a member today. Click here to learn more or visit


Be sure to also join us for the companion in-person walking tour, The Octagon and its Foggy Bottom Neighbors, on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.