The Octagon House is located on New York Avenue in Washington, D.C. It was the home of Colonel John Tayloe III, a wealthy businessman and plantation owner, and his wife Ann Ogle Tayloe. The house began construction in 1799 under the guidance of architect Dr. William Thornton. The home sits on an oddly shaped plot at a corner intersetion, and because of this Thornton had to design the home to fit aesthetically into the area. He chose a circle, with two rectangles on either side, and a triangle in the rear. In this way the home nestles comfortably on the lot, with ordered views from all sides. Although called the Octagon House, it only has six sides, not eight. The reason for this choice of name is lost to time. The home played a significant role during the War of 1812. During the attack on Washington by the British the White House was set on fire, causing extensive damage. President James Madison and his wife, Dolley Madison, were offered the Octagon House as their home while the Presidential Mansion was being rebuilt. The Madisons moved in on September 8, 1814, and spent six months living here. The Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War, was ratified by President Madison here in his study on February 17, 1815. Although the Octagon House was built as summer getaway house by the Tayloe family it became their official residence in 1818. John Tayloe died here in 1828 and Ann Tayloe died here in 1855. Since that time the building has been a girls' school, a government building, an office building and an apartment. From 1898 to the late 1960's the house was the headquarters of the American Institute of Architects. It has served as a museum since 1970. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.