Rise, Put Your Hands on Your Hearts and Celebrate our National Anthem with Spectacular Events Around Maryland this September
Maryland stands proud as the birthplace of the Star-Spangled Banner and host to major events commemorating the War of 1812
BALTIMORE (August 26, 2014) – Oh say can you see—the tall ships and naval vessels sailing into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to kick off the Star-Spangled Spectacular celebration? On Sept. 10, both native and foreign ships will arrive in Baltimore to kick off the week-long festival celebrating the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.
Beyond the main spectacle, Maryland offers a variety of ways for visitors and residents to take in the places that make the state an important site in our nation’s history. From waterside towns like Havre de Grace, that the British invaded and nearly destroyed, to notable battlefields, to an historic fort and other locations along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail - a route that traces the movements of British and American forces during the War of 1812’s Chesapeake Campaign - Maryland offers many memorable things to see and do in September.
Below is a list of locations in Maryland that reveal the legacy the War of 1812 left behind:
From Fort McHenry in Baltimore to McHenry, MD, Deep Creek Lake is set to host the 2014 ICF Canoe/Slalom World Championships at Adventure Sports Center International Sept. 17-21. Don’t miss Olympic-level athletes from over 35 countries who will converge in McHenry to participate in this whitewater competition.
Head to the Miller House in Hagerstown, now home to the Washington County Historical Society, to see historic attire, including a War of 1812 Maryland militia cavalry jacket owned by Sgt. Jacob Huyett. Sgt. Huyett was a member of Hagerstown Blues, a cavalry unit that was part of the Maryland Light Dragoons, who saw action at the Battle of North Point during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.
The Mount Aetna Furnace Site in Washington County showcases two iron furnaces on a 15,000-acre site used during the War of 1812. During the war, Mount Aetna Furnace produced artillery for the Chesapeake Flotilla. At least five cannons made here survive. One is at the Boonsboro Museum, another is at Shafer Park in Boonsboro and a third is on loan at the Hager Museum. Two others are on property next to the furnace site.
Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry after they traveled through Upper Marlboro to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, a well-respected Maryland doctor. Beanes is buried near the site of his home in Upper Marlboro.
Visitors to Bladensburg Waterfront Park will take in the view of the bridge site where the British forces crossed the Anacostia River and attacked the first line of the American defenses during the Battle of Bladensburg on Aug. 24, 1814. The park features interpretative waysides about the battle, along with a free boat ramp, playground, pontoon boat rides, and paved riverside promenade.
After the burning of Washington, D.C., British troops withdrew through Upper Marlboro en route to their ships. While several British soldiers were arrested then, the British also took three American civilians hostage. John Hodges of Darnall’s Chance unwillingly made the exchange and was later tried for treason. Darnall’s Chance House Museum now conducts guided house tours on Fridays and Sundays and by appointment. In addition, the museum offers educational programs, exhibits and special events throughout the year.
A monument to Star-Spangled Banner writer Francis Scott Key stands over the gravesites of Key and his wife, Mary Tayloe Lloyd Key, in Frederick. Dedicated in 1898, the granite pedestal and statue of Key stands near the main entrance of Mount Olivet Cemetery.
The historic Concord Point Lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in Maryland, stands at the juncture of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay in Havre de Grace, a charming waterside town which was nearly destroyed by the British in May 1813 in retaliation for defiant cannon fire by the town's citizens. In 1827, John O’Neill, a War of 1812 hero, was appointed first keeper of the lighthouse. O’Neill had single-handedly manned his militia unit’s artillery at Potato Gun Battery in an attempt to save Havre de Grace from the British navy on May 3, 1813. He was captured and detained on a British ship until his eventual release.
Explore Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine and discover the site over which the Star-Spangled Banner flew. From Sept. 12-14, 1814, Fort McHenry was key to Baltimore’s water defense during the Battle of Baltimore. Today, visitors can take tours, exploring exhibits and the history behind the fort with the help of park rangers and daily programs.
Historic Savage Mill, an 18th-century textile mill, produced canvas that supplied sailors and soldiers for nearly 150 years. Now fully restored, the Mill offers visitors great shopping, dining, art galleries and more. Visitors can pause here, along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, to pay tribute to Commodore Joshua Barney who, by scuttling his flotilla in the Patuxent River, was instrumental in delaying the march of the British as they made their way to Washington DC to burn our nation’s capital.
Plan a day along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail which traces the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. The trail is a 560-mile land and water route that connects historic sites in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. The trail follows American and British troop movements, introducing visitors to communities affected by the war. It also features stops at Fells Point Historic District, Patterson Park and North Point State Park.
The Star-Spangled Spectacular event Sept. 10-16 will celebrate the 200th anniversary of our national anthem with tall ships, Navy gray hulls and the Blue Angels in Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor. Landside festivals include re-enactments, a family fun-zone, live musical performances, and Chesapeake food and beverage. Don’t miss a star-studded patriotic concert and extraordinary fireworks display over Fort McHenry and the Baltimore harbor on Sept. 13.
Visit the U.S. Naval Academy and Museum in Annapolis to see its War of 1812 exhibit. Features include the battle flag of Lake Erie inscribed “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” which paid tribute to Captain James Lawrence of the U.S.S. Chesapeake, whose dying words inspired this battle slogan. The museum also includes collections of prints, paintings, ship models and artifacts relating to the War of 1812.
Don’t miss the Calvert Marine Museum, featuring an exhibit of artifacts recovered from one of the gunboats of the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla, which fought in the Battle of St. Leonard Creek on June 8-10 and 26, 1814. Visitors will also learn more about local hero Joshua Barney and his famous flotilla.
British ships, boats, and rocket barges fought against the war barges of the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla in 1814 at what is now the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. The historic Battle of St. Leonard Creek (June 8-10, and 26, 1814) was the largest naval engagement in the history of Maryland. Interpretative panels explain the significance of the battle. An exhibit barn is open 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 1 through Oct. 31, 2014. Additional exhibits are in the park's Visitor Center.
Visit the historic Sotterley Plantation, the only tidewater plantation in Maryland open to the public with a history that spans three centuries. During the War of 1812, American militia used the plantation as a mustering point during the Battle of St. Leonard Creek. Today, Sotterley Plantation offers visitors the opportunity to tour the plantation house or explore one of the few original, restored slave cabins in Maryland, along with special events and tours.
About 260 British naval forces attempted a surprise attack on Maryland militia in August 1814, but the Maryland regiment met them in advance at Caulk’s Field, near Chestertown. The British eventually withdrew their troops and the Marylanders won. Caulk’s Field is located on a private farm, seven miles west of Chestertown, north of Rock Hall, and still looks much like it did in 1814.
Stay a night at The Kitty Knight House Inn & Restaurant. According to local reports, Kitty Knight convinced British Admiral George Cockburn not to burn two houses in the upper part of Georgetown. Supposedly, Knight even stamped out flames to save these homes—and the Kitty Knight House Inn & Restaurant is one of the houses that survived the British assault.
Before dawn on Aug. 10, 1813, British troops sailed up the Miles River, planning to attack the town of St. Michaels and the militia that defended it. Aware of the attack, the town evacuated women, children and livestock. According to legend, St. Michaels’ citizens placed lanterns in treetops outside of town while the town itself went dark. The British overshot St. Michaels with their cannons and retreated as St. Michaels became known as “the town that fooled the British.”
About Maryland Tourism
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.9 billion on travel-related expenses in 2012. During 2012, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 135,000 jobs for Maryland residents.