Today we are going to finish up our Key connections to Baltimore. Well, let me say not so much finishing up as surrendering. Baltimore, you can be proud of your tributes to Key, so many, you kicked my butt!
By way of reviewing, so far we have looked at Frederick, Georgetown, Alexandria, Bladensburg, and Fort McHenry. Remaining on the slate are D.C., Annapolis and Terra Rubra.
Francis Scott Key was born in Terra Rubra, graduated from college in Annapolis, earned a living in Washington, gave time and talents to Alexandria, and was laid to rest in Frederick. ‘Tis the hearts in Baltimore, however, that have fluttered the strongest for the author of our national anthem. Valentines for Key are aplenty in Charm City, so many, in fact, I seriously doubt the list I have compiled is a complete one.
Battle Monument Park
Eshelman notes this is the first substantial war memorial built in the Unites States. No time was wasted, as the cornerstone was set one year after the Battle of Baltimore. Some of the leaders such as Major General Samuel Smith, Brigadier General John Stricker and Lt. Colonel George Armstead helped with the ceremonious laying. In subsequent years, “Defenders Day” ceremonies took place here.
The Maryland Historic Society notes the significance of the monument.
Battle Monument is second only to the Washington Monument as the finest early monument in Baltimore and one of the reasons Baltimore was called "the Monumental City." It is significant for its Egyptian Revival architectural design and as a democratic monument displaying all the names of those who died in the Battle of Baltimore, regardless of rank. It was designed by Maximilian Godefroy, an important early architect in Baltimore. The sculptor of the statue was Antonio Capellano, the artist of the bas reliefs of Christ and Moses on St. Paul’s P.E. Church. The monument is rich in symbolism..
Maryland Historic Society
W. Monument St
Founded in 1844, this organization is Maryland’s oldest continuos operating cultural institution. Right now their Civil War exhibits are front and center but this is a must stop for Keyphiles. Paintings, prints, artifacts, and the holy grail, the original manuscript.
Corner of Eutaw Place and Lanvale Street
Key’s great granddaughter, Mrs. William Gilmore, unveiled this 30-foot bronze and granite monument in 1911. Funded by Charles L. Marburg and sculpted by Jean M.A. Mercie of France, Myer notes it is not nearly as well known as others. The monument was re-dedicated in 1999, after being restored.
The Historical Marker Database site writes the following:
On one side, ships are depicted bombarding Fort McHenry. On the other, the view is from Fort McHenry out onto the ships in Baltimore harbor.
Place of Passing
Northwest corner of East Mt. Vernon Place and North Charles Street, on the side of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church.
Key spent his final years alternating between light work in Washington and visits to Terra Rubra. On January 7, 1843, he visited his daughter Lizzie in Baltimore. A few days later he caught a sore throat and fever, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. On January 11th, he fell asleep and passed away around 8 pm.
A trip to this marker can be combined with a visit to the Maryland Historical Society. The inscription, prepared by the Baltimore Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution, reads:
Author of The Star Spangled Banner departed this life on the site of this building Jan. 11, 1843.
Indian Queen Tavern Site
It’s not certain if this site is where Key went to after he landed in Baltimore. No marker that I’m aware of.
Coming up on its 35th birthday, this long span is used for I-695 on the east side of Baltimore.
When I visited Fort McHenry, I could see it in the distance, but visibility was poor due to the cloudy day.
A buoy marks the place where historians made a best guess as to where the boat was located with Key on board.
As this article notes, a Coast Guard cutter placed the buoy during a ceremony in 2008. The buoy, painted as the American Flag, is set in the spring and removed in the fall.
When Bill and I visited Fort McHenry, we saw this statue but didn’t stop due to the rain.
The HMDB site has the wording of the interpretive marker.
The heroic bronze figure in front of you is not, as many suppose, a likeness of Francis Scott Key. The statue represents Orpheus, the artful poet, musician, and singer of Greek Mythology.
In 1914 Congress appropriated funds for a monument at Fort McHenry to mark the centennial of the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the defense of Baltimore. Orpheus with the Awkward Foot, the creation of sculptor Charles H. Niehaus, was selected from thirty four designs submitted in a national competition.
Orpheus is depicted playing a lyre, and stands twenty-four feet from head to toe. The marble base bears a medallion honoring Francis Scott Key, flanked by a procession of allegorical figures. The pedestal contains a time capsule filled with documents of patriotic and historical interest. In 1962 the statue was moved here from its original site near the fort's principal entrance.