One of Maryland’s largest cities, Baltimore is colorful and diverse. The city is known for its scenic and always busy harbor; quirky, distinct neighborhoods; and unique museums. Baltimore is Home of the Star Spangled Banner, and get inspired with these must-see historical sites of the Star Spangled Banner.
Baltimore, Home of the Star Spangled Banner
My first visit ton Baltimore coincided with the Star Spangled Spectacular. This event marked 200 years since the penning of the U.S. national anthem celebration.
In 2014 Baltimore celebrated the 200th anniversary of America’s national anthem with a series of special events and exhibitions. More than 30 naval ships and tall ships packed into the Baltimore harbor. These ships sailed into Baltimore from all over the world: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, German, Spain and Turkey.
I just missed the historic event. But still, two ships remained, an awe-inspiring sight to see the U.S. flag waving in the Baltimore Harbor. This event was certainly a tribute to how we won our freedom.
Historical Sites of Star Spangled Banner
Francis Scott Key witnessed American troops hold down a British attack on Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. That’s inspired him to write a poem entitled “Defence of Fort McHenry.” The words were sung to the tune of an old British drinking song. This eventually become America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
With its connection to the American flag, Baltimore features several historical sites connected to the United States national anthem. These historical sites include the Fort McHenry National Monument, the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, and the original draft of the Star-Spangled Banner at the Maryland Historical Society.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry defended the Baltimore harbor and stopped a British advance into the city. Surrounded by water on three sides, the valiant defense of the fort by 1,000 Americans inspired Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, to compose The Star Spangled Banner. This poem was originally entitled Defense of Fort McHenry.
Administered by the National Park Service since 1933, Fort McHenry is the only area of the National Park System designated as both a National Monument and Historic Shrine. Open year-round to the public, Fort McHenry offers visitor programs and special events that highlight the park’s history.
Did you know? When a new flag is designed for use by the United States, it is first flown over Fort McHenry. Over the same ramparts referred to in our National AnthemStar-Spangled Banner Flag House. Doesn’t that just give you chills?
Star Spangled Banner Flag House
Step into living history at the Star Spangled Banner Flag House where you’ll immerse yourself in one of the most riveting stories in our nation’s history – the creation of the American flag. Built in 1793, the Flag House was once the home and business place of Mary Pickersgill, who sewed the garrison flag Francis Scott Key witnessed flying over Fort McHenry that inspired him to write our national anthem.
Kids will love the discovery gallery. Here kids can design a flag and fly it on the gallery’s flagpole. Kids can also cook at a replica of the Flag House kitchen.
Maryland Historical Society
Did you know Baltimore is home to the original, hand-written manuscript of Francis Scotty Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” here at the Maryland Historical Society. One of the must-sees is the Star-Spangled Banner Gallery. Here you’ll enjoy a showcase of paintings and artifacts that tell the story of the Battle of Baltimore and the War of 1812.