A building fad from the mid 1850s until the Civil War, Octagon and Round-shaped houses were built throughout the country. The famous Octagon House at 1799 New York Avenue, NW, hosted the signing of the treaty ending the War of 1812. It is now a museum for architecture and design.
Washington, DC, was home to a handful of other octagonal houses as described in the book The Octagon House Inventory by historian Ellen L. Puerzer. These now-razed structures were once located in the Sheridan-Kalorama and Petworth; the commercial octagon of the Mills Foundry was on Bladensburg Road and 26th Street, NE. The Round House in Brookland is the only other home of this style still in existence in DC today.
Historical lore says that Mr. Louthan had the Round House built to accommodate his wife, who was in a wheelchair. The last long-term owner, Mrs. Ethelda McKinney, lived in the house from 1950 until 2010. With only four owners in its 110-year history, the Round House is a landmark in Brookland and is a source of pride for its neighbors.