ghosts

Filed Under:DC

The Octagon House's Tales from the Grave

The Octagon House. (Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO)When John Tayloe III was looking to build a winter home, his personal friend George Washington suggested the District. Tayloe commissioned William Thornton, who designed the Capitol building. Thornton designed a structure, costing $13,000, which fit neatly into the triangle lot it was situated on at 18th St. and New York Ave.

The layout of the building is quite imaginative, but today the house is not just known forits architecture. It's also known for the spirits that are said to linger on in the residence.

Filed Under:DC

Every Second Counts: The Decatur-Barron Duel of 1820

Commondore Stephen Decatur made some enemies during his naval career and was challenged to a duel by James Barron in 1820. (Photo source: Wikipedia)In the early 19th century, taking a life was as easy as taking offense. Just ask Commodore Stephen Decatur. 193 years ago today he was killed in a duel leaving (as some claim) his spirit to wander and perhaps seek retribution from the parties that coldly arranged his death.

Decatur was born in 1779 and had a mostly praise-worthy navy career, earning “the heart of a nation” and the malice of a few whose careers he stepped over to achieve his own greatness. One of these was Commodore James Barron.

Things got ugly between the two men with the help of two others who apparently wanted a piece of Decatur, too.

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