The Octagon House

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Built by Colonel John Tahoe in 1799, the historic Octagon House was used as The White House during former president Madison’s term. One ghost here is the spirit of Colonel Tahoe’s pregnant daughter, who died when she threw herself from the top banister. She committed suicide after finding out her father had killed her soldier lover, whom he disapproved of. Other ghosts said to linger here include Colonel Tahoe himself and some slaves. The house is open to group tours by appointment.

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Geographic Information

18th St. and New York Ave. NW
Washington DC
United States

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38.89634056653689, -77.0414181103813
Nearest Towns:
Washington, D. C., DC (0.3 mi.)
Arlington, VA (3.5 mi.)
Claremont, VA (5.0 mi.)
Mount Rainier, MD (5.2 mi.)
Friendship Village, MD (5.3 mi.)
Brookmont, MD (5.3 mi.)
Friendship Village, MD (5.3 mi.)
Chillum, MD (5.4 mi.)
Chevy Chase Village, MD (5.4 mi.)
Chevy Chase, MD (5.5 mi.)


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Comments (3)

  1.  |  

    Hi. Nice article, except the last name is Tayloe. I’m not sure about the hauntings, because one of the tour guides said she had never heard anything and nobody who worked there had either. I had never heard about the Dolley Madison haunting, at all. What the Hey, why ruin a good story.

  2. I’m going for ‘no’ on a tour i politley brought up the ‘legend’ of a daughter who ran off with the British and the guide said ‘oh the ghost’ which she discounted. the central stairs have a chandelier in the way that goes back to 1812 that would have been taken out by a body falling and the hall has a wooden, not marble floor, to hit marble the girl would have had to have bounced a good 10 feet to hit the area around the front door AFTER landing.

    The back servants’ stairs “wherer i’d have gone if I was sneaking out” said the guide were very narrow and steep and unsettling in modern clothes but soemoen falling down those would roll down the stairs not go over the edge.

  3. I don’t know about the other ghost, but I know the daughter story isn’t true. I asked when I visited and was told that none of the Tayloe’s children ever died in the house. And of the 15 only two of the daughters died while their father was still alive, one as an infant, and one of the flu over the summer at their plantation house. The house definitely has an interesting history and some creepy stories attached to it though! Who knows about the other ghosts!

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.