Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

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The city of Baltimore is peppered with historic national sites. One the most important is the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House located on Pratt Street near Little Italy. Founded in 1927 the museum is the home of Mary Pickersgill, who sewed the 30 X 42 foot American flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the September 1814 Battle of Baltimore.

The United States was at war with Great Britain, and American commanders, anticipating an attack on Baltimore, wanted a flag that could fly over the Fort and be seen for miles around. In about six weeks, Ms. Pickersgill and her assistants made the flag out of 400 yards of woolen bunting.

Francis Scott Key saw the flag flying over the fort while he was imprisoned on a British Ship in the Baltimore harbor. The profound sight of it inspired him to write a poem that later became the national anthem of the United States.

The flag is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History but the house is preserved as Mary Pickersgill would have experienced it.