Blodgett’s Hotel, Washington, D.C., engraving based on a photograph, ca. 1860-1880
Blodgett’s Hotel, at Seventh and E Streets Northwest, never served its intended purpose as a guesthouse. Congress authorized the purchase of the unfinished building in 1810 for federal offices and used it as temporary quarters in 1814 after the Capitol was burned.
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
The British Burn Washington
On August 24, 1814, British forces entered Washington, D.C., attacked the Navy Yard, and burned the major federal buildings: the U.S. Capitol, President’s House, War Department, and Treasury. The Capitol fire destroyed the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court, along with irreplaceable records. Congress reconvened in the only remaining public building, the Patent Office, which President James Madison secured as its temporary quarters. In March 1815 Congress authorized the rebuilding of the Capitol and President’s House.