• Living Flag

    Fort McHenry

    National Monument and Historic Shrine Maryland

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  • Special Operating Hours during the Star-Spangled Spectacular: September 6-16, 2014

    The park will have special operating hours during the Star-Spangled Spectacular: September 6-16, 2014. Please visit this link for more information: More »

  • Road Closures and Mass Transit options during the Star-Spangled Spectacular: September 6-16, 2014

    There will be road closures during the Star-Spangled Spectacular: September 6-16, 2014. Mass transit will be required & all visitors will pass through a security checkpoint prior to entering Fort McHenry. Please visit this link for more information: More »

The Star Fort

The Star Fort

Fort McHenry was constructed between 1799 and 1802. It was in the shape of a five-pointed star, which was a popular design during the period. Each point of the star was visible from the point on either side and every area of land surrounding the fort could be covered with as few as five men.

The walls of Fort McHenry and the buildings within were constructed of brick. There were four barracks to house the garrison consisting of the Commanding Officer's Quarters, Junior Officers' Quarters and two buildings for the enlisted men. A guardhouse stood next to the Commanding Officer's Quarters. Here, soldiers of the Fort McHenry Guard lived and worked, sometimes unruly soldiers were confined in the guardrooms. The Powder Magazine, where the gunpowder was stored, stood between the Commanding Officer's Quarters and the Junior Officers' Quarters. The magazine was of solid enough construction to protect the gunpowder from sparks, fire and explosion.

During the 1830's, major improvements were made to the fort. Second stories were added to the barracks and two new guardhouses were built on each side of the Sally Port to replace the two earlier ones.

Did You Know?

Troops assembling on the Fort McHenry parade.

Fort McHenry was garrisoned by Union troops during the Civil War. The fort served as a prison throughout the war.