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Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry is a historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort on Locust Point, now a neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. It is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay on September 13–14, 1814. It was first built in 1798 and used continuously by the U.S. armed forces through World War I and the Coast Guard in World War II. It was designated a national park in 1925 and 1939 and was redesignated a “National Monument and Historic Shrine.”  During the War of 1812, an American storm flag, 17 by 25 feet (5.2 m × 7.6 m), was flown over Fort McHenry during the bombardment. It was replaced early on the morning of September 14, 1814, with a larger American garrison flag, 30 by 42 feet (9.1 m × 12.8 m). The larger flag signaled American victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore. The sight of the ensign inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which was later set to the tune “To Anacreon in Heaven” and became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

18th Century

Fort McHenry was built on the site of the former Fort Whetstone, which had defended Baltimore from 1776 to 1797. Fort Whetstone stood on Whetstone Point (today’s residential and industrial area of Locust Point) peninsula, which juts into the opening of Baltimore Harbor between the Basin (today’s Inner Harbor) and Northwest branch on the north side and the Middle and Ferry (now Southern) components of the Patapsco River on the south side.

The Frenchman Jean Foncin designed the fort in 1798 and built it between 1798 and 1800. The new fort’s purpose was to improve the defenses of the increasingly important Port of Baltimore from future enemy attacks. EZ Bed Bug Exterminator Baltimore

19th Century

Star-Spangled Banner 

Francis Scott Key, a Washington lawyer who had come to Baltimore to negotiate the release of Dr. William Beanes, a civilian prisoner of war, witnessed the bombardment from a nearby truce ship. Mary Pickersgill had sewed a giant American flag for $405.90 in anticipation of the British attack on the fort. When Key saw the flag emerge intact in the dawn of September 14, he was so moved that he began that morning to compose “Defence of Fort M’Henry” set to the tune “To Anacreon in Heaven,” which would later be renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and become the United States national anthem.


The fort has become a center of recreation for the Baltimore locals and a prominent tourist destination. Thousands of visitors come each year to see the “Birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner.” It’s easily accessible by water taxi from the famous Baltimore Inner Harbor. However, to prevent abuse of the parking lots at the Fort, the National Park Service does not permit passengers to take the water taxi back to the Inner Harbor unless they have used it to arrive at the monument.

Address: 2400 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 

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