“Home of the Star Spangled Banner”
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, is a historical American coastal star-shaped fort 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 September 13–14, 1814. It was first built in 1798 and was used continuously by U.S. armed forces through World War I and by the Coast Guard in World War II. It was designated a national park in 1925, and in 1939 was redesignated a "National Monument and Historic Shrine." During the War of 1812 a 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 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" that was later set to the tune To Anacreon in Heaven and become known as the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States.
A great place to learn about American history. Of all the National Parks I've been to this one definitely had me feeling emotional about being American. Upon talking to the staff they found that many foreign visitors said they really understood the America Pride upon their visit there as well. Be sure to make it there for the raising of the flag, the information they give you as well as being part of the ceremony is critical in telling the story of Fort Mc Henry.
My kids loved it! If you have time to spare the video inside is awesome and end really cool! If your kids like scavenger hunts - in the park outside there are plates in the grass for all 50 states! (It isn’t a formal thing but it would be easy to make up for cheap fun!)
Fort McHenry is a sight that many people overlook, but it’s a great attraction in Baltimore! Visitors can get a great view of the city from here, including the National Aquarium and many gorgeous homes.
Guests can also enjoy live shows put on by Fort McHenry’s fife and drum corps from spring to fall. The shows are great for all visitors, but are especially popular among children who can learn more about American history in a fun way.
The American War of 1812 was a turning point for America, and the government realized that new fortifications needed to be built to defend Baltimore from enemies at sea.
As a result, a site overlooking the water was chosen, and construction began on a star-shaped fort named after James McHenry, Secretary of War under George Washington.
The site was involved in several pivotal moments of American history. These events include the “Defense of Baltimore” during the War of 1812, which successfully thwarted an invading British navy. That defense of Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that became the U.S. national anthem!
We think a visit here is one of the best things to do in Baltimore!
Twice a day they perform a flag raising/changing in which you can participate. We caught the one at 4:30 one; very moving and honoring experience.
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Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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- National park