Friday, May 6, 2011

Octagon Museum Souvenirs

Those who attended the SBCS convention, the first time it was held in D.C, will remember the Octagon Museum. During that 1997 convention, we visited the exhibit named, Monumental Miniatures: The Weingarten Souvenir Building Collection. This was just after their first book, Souvenir Buildings and Miniature Monuments, was published. Microcosms produced a well-made and heavy replica of the Museum for the convention. The real Octagon building was designed by Dr. William Thornton, first architect of the U.S. Capitol, was the first house to be completed in the area. It established a residential presence where none had existed before in fact, the streets only existed on paper. Its construction between 1799 and 1801 formalized a plan of streets, avenues, and parks and insured their development. For Washington's planners, the Octagon was a seminal presence. For John Tayloe, as an entrepreneur with political aspirations, being close to the center of government was a powerful incentive to invest in this still undeveloped location. Originally it was built for Col. John Tayloe III who raised family there. During the War of 1812, the Octagon served as a temporary residence for James and Dolley Madison after the White House (then known as the President's House) was burned in 1814. In the Octagon's second-floor parlor on February 17, 1815, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the war with Great Britain. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) saved the building from further decay by leasing it from the Tayloes in 1897, purchasing it in 1902, and restoring the Octagon several times during the period it served as the AIA headquarters. During its years in the Octagon, the AIA played a prominent role in shaping the growth of the nation's capital. The McMillan Commission Plan, which cleared the Mall, established a site for the Lincoln Memorial, and created the park plan for the city, was born in the rooms of the Octagon. In 1968, the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), which was founded in 1942, purchased the Octagon from the AIA and opened it to the public in 1970

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails