Located at 844 E Pratt Street, the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House was constructed in the late 1700s. Mary Pickersgill and her family began renting the house in the early 1800s. In a little over a decade, Mary saved enough money to buy the house, an unusual accomplishment for a woman at this time. She even added a kitchen and a boarder’s room to the house in 1820.
Mary, her daughter, and her nieces created a flag sewing business out of their home. Equally important to this work was Grace Wisher. She was an African American indentured servant who helped create one of the most iconic American symbols. In this house in the summer of 1813, the Pickersgill family and Wisher sewed the flag that was raised over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore (September 13-14, 1814). This 15 star, 15 stripe flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that is now the National Anthem of the United States.
Mary lived in the house until her death in 1857 and the property remained in the Pickersgill family until 1864. The house exchanged hands multiple times and later functioned as a saloon and a warehouse. In 1929, the City of Baltimore purchased the property and preserved it as a historic building. A National Historic Landmark, the house is now a historic home and museum.
Return to the Travel Baltimore main page.