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Historic Sites in Maryland
A staple of historic America, Maryland is known as the Free State, Little America, and America in Miniature. As the seventh state to ratify the union – all the way back in 1788 – it's safe to say Maryland is home more than its fair share of historical sites.
The most famed of Maryland’s historic sites is Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine – the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner.
The country’s American National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 at the famed Inner Harbor of Baltimore. Fort McHenry is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer – and features an orientation film in the visitor center.
For more Maryland history, head to the capital city of Annapolis for the Maryland State House – finished in 1772. A National Historic Landmark since 1960, the State House is available for tours daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – and be sure to grab some information from Office of Interpretation on the first floor.
More history awaits in Annapolis. For the military history fan, visit the United States Naval Academy – a federal military academy established in 1845. Visitors may tour the grounds daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. after stopping by the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center.
Closer to the DC Region of Maryland, make your way into the city of Rockville. Once there, explore two of the most iconic and historic landmarks in the state. Fans of American literature will certainly want to visit the F. Scott Fitzgerald Burial Site at the St. Mary's Parish Cemetery. Continue your exploration of historic Rockville and plan a tour of the Beall-Dawson House, just off I-270 on West Montgomery Avenue. Appreciate the Federal Style architecture, and be sure to visit the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine within the Beall-Dawson House.
Visiting northern Maryland? Try historic Hagerstown City Park in, you guessed it, Hagerstown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this public park was established in 1916, and features walking trails, playgrounds, and attractions like the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and the annual Western Maryland Blues Fest.
Just southeast of Hagerstown you’ll find Historic Downtown Frederick – known as Frederick Town when it was first established in 1745. Frederick’s historic downtown is home to historic churches and structures, plus the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the home of Barbara Fritchie.
Located just south of D.C. in south-central Maryland, Harmony Hall is an 18th century, Georgian-style mansion in Fort Washington. The mansion is found within Fort Washington Park alongside the Potomac River.
Due to the mansion’s historical significance and cultural embodiment of the region it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The mansion’s grounds encompass over 60 acres in total near Broad Creek.
Built in 1815, the Beall-Dawson House is an iconic and historic landmark in Rockville. As you explore western Maryland, be sure to include a tour of the Beall-Dawson House on your list of things to do.
You'll find the Beall-Dawson House on the northwest corner of Adams Street and Middle Lane. Built in the Federal architecture style, popularized in North America between 1780 and 1830, the Beall-Dawson House is the headquarters of the Montgomery County Historical Society, who operate the house as a museum; tours are available throughout the year at various times.
On the grounds of the Beall-Dawsone House, you'll also find the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine.
Historic Downtown Frederick
Attention history buffs, make your way to Historic Downtown Frederick – the skyline being a distinct cluster of historic church spires appearing on the city seal and logos.
Stroll through the 19th and 20th century row houses in downtown Frederick and tour the 1756 Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, one of the oldest houses in Frederick.
Other notable historic sites in Frederick include the Bjorlee Museum, on the campus of the Maryland School for the Deaf, the Brunswick Railroad Museum, and the Camp David Museum. The historic Catoctin Aqueduct over the C&O Canal was vital to the city's transportation in the 1800s.
Frederick is approximately 42 miles northwest of Baltimore and 40 miles northwest of Washington D.C.
Travelers in the Appalachian region of Maryland, make time to learn about the history of the city of Cumberland near La Vale. The city was developed at the location of Fort Cumberland, a frontier fort built in 1754, during the French and Indian War.
Members of the Maryland militia built the fort at the site where the Potomac River and Wills Creek meet, in what is now downtown Cumberland. Due to the strategic location of the fort, it was established as a rally point for General Braddock's troops.
General Braddock began his unsuccessful expedition against the French, from Fort Cumberland. After Braddock's death, George Washington led the troops back to the fort. The remains of the fort exist below the current Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Visit the church to read the interpretive signs and learn more about this historic fort.
St. Mary's City
History comes alive at St. Mary's City. Once notable for being the fourth permanent settlement in British North America, St. Mary's City has thrived and survived throughout the years. Now, it pays tribute to its historical heritage with an accommodating welcome center, living history museums, hands-on archeological sites, and costumed interpretations of colonial life.
Located in southern Maryland near La Plata, this site offers many opportunities for a fun-filled day, perfect for the family or the traveling history buff. Be sure to check out the town's calendars for some of the annual events.
Hampton National Historic Site
Just north of Baltimore in the city of Towson, the Hampton National Historic Site preserves the 60-acre, 18th century estate known as the Hampton Mansion. The site not only features the home itself, but also the Hampton Farm House, slave quarters, Long House/granary, and more.
The park draws roughly over 30,000 visitors each year – all looking forward to taking an informative mansion tour, lower house tour, and grounds tour. Guests can view actual décor from over 150 years ago, trees over 200 years old, and attend one of the frequent Hampton Mansion events as well.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument
Encompassing over 11,000 acres on Maryland’s eastern shore, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument preserves several historical sites throughout Dorchester County. Within the national monument is a large portion of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, giving way to a wide variety of outdoor recreation.
A small portion of the national monument has been dedicated to the creation of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, featuring a visitor center and over 17 acres of forested landscape. Other on-site historical attractions include the Jacob Jackson and Stewart’s Canal.
Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Found just a short drive south of D.C. and just outside of La Plata, the Thomas Stone National Historic Site preserves the home of Thomas Stone – one of the 56 signees of the Declaration of Independence. The site encompasses over 360 acres in total, including the Stone family’s estate – sometimes known as Haberdeventure.
The Stone’s home, farm buildings, and family center are available for viewing via both ranger-led tours and self-guided tours. Guests can also stop by the Thomas Stone Visitor Center for a variety exhibits, displays, and a short orientation film.
Clara Barton National Historic Site
Found in the western Maryland town of Glen Echo – just south of Rockville – the Clara Barton National Historic Site preserves the former home to American pioneer Clara Barton. The 38-room home was restored and is now currently maintained by the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
After being constructed in 1891, the home still features much of the same architecture, including the Red Cross offices, where the American Red Cross operated during Barton’s life. Visitors can view the three-story mansion via guided tours nearly all year round.