One of the most significant locations in and around Baltimore is Fort McHenry. Not only was it a significant location during the War of 1812 but it was the location in-which the Star Spangled Banner was born.
A few days ago I talked about how Francis Scott Key coined the Star Spangled Banner when I talked about The House Of The Star Spangled Banner. This is the Fort and the place where he saw the flag flying high and still standing tall. A Fort named after United States Secretary of War James McHenry who served under presidents George Washington and John Adams, all of which signed the United States Constitution as well.
While the Fort is famously known for being defended against the British during the War of 1812 it was also a pivotal role in the Civil War as well as both World War I and World War II. During the Civil War it was turned into a military prison in which Confederate soldiers were held here as well as Maryland political figures who were suspected as sympathizers of the Confederacy. Some of these individuals held here include the Baltimore Mayor George William Brown as well as Francis Scott Key’s grandson Francis Scott Howard.
During the European conflict the fort was converted into a U.S. Army hospital where a bunch of buildings were built to facilitate this. As for the second World War it served as a Coast Guard base. In 1925 the Fort became a national park, over the time the construction of those extra buildings on the Fort during the first World War have been torn down and the area was restored to the condition it was when the War of 1812 occurred.
Currently on the grounds there’s a building in which tells the story of the Star Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry along with a gift shop. During our visit a camera crew was there and had mistaken me as someone who worked there. But I quickly assured this person I wasn’t news and maybe the guy with his back to the American flag was.
There’s a paved walking path which surrounds the Fort in which people are allowed to use for walking, running and biking as well as touring the Fort. For a fee you can enter the actual Fort, we choose not to. Instead we visited the aforementioned museum and shop area and walked around the Fort.
Pictured above is a statue of Orpheus standing tall in front Fort McHenry. Orpheus, from Greek mythological was a legendary poet, musician and prophet. He was chosen to be created here in 1914 to honor Francis Scott Key as well as the soldiers and sailors who were part of the Battle of North Point and defending Fort McHenry. The dedication of this statue, created by Charles H. Niehaus, was delayed until Flag Day on June 14th, 1922 due to World War I. President Warren G. Harding attended this ceremony where his speech would air live on the radio from coast to coast which happened to be the first time ever for a U.S. President’s speech.
This is a statue of Lieutenant Colonel George Armistead born in Caroline County, Virginia was one of five brothers who all served in the War of 1812 was the commanding officer at Fort McHenry. While serving as an artillery officer in Fort Niagara he held a very active role on the attack of Fort George in which British flags were captured and he then delivered them to President James Madison.
A month after this he took over command at Fort McHenry where he ordered a flag to be made “so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.” Which ultimately led to Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner. ”
While the flag Armistead ordered and Francis Scott Key wrote about was quite large the current American flag that flies high above Fort McHenry today is a little smaller and a lot less torn than the one Francis Scott Key wrote about.