The Flag House

The Flag House

The Flag House is located on the northwest corner of Albemarle and Pratt Streets in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the home of Mary Pickersgill from 1807 to 1857, and it was where she made the original "Star-Spangled Banner," which measured 30 by 42 feet.

The stripes were two feet wide and the stars were two feet from point to point. Mrs. Pickersgill was paid $405.90 for her services. The flag was delivered to Fort McHenry on August 19,1813, a full year before the Battle of Baltimore.

In 1876, Caroline Pickersgill Purdy wrote a letter to Georgiana Armistead Appleton, daughter of the Fort McHenry Commandant, in which she recounted the details of the making of the flag. Caroline wrote"

"It was made by my mother, Mrs. Mary Pickersgill, and I assisted her. My grandmother, Rebecca Young, made the first flag of the Revolution under George Washington's directions, and for this reason my mother was selected by Commodore Barney and General Stricker to make this star-spangled banner, being in exceedingly patriotic woman. This flag, I think, contained four hundred yards of bunting, and my mother worked many nights until twelve o'clock to complete it in a given time."

The flag bears the autograph of Lt. Col. George Armistead as well as the date of the British bombardment. The flag remained in the Armistead family for many years until it was loaned to the Smithsonian for an official display in 1907. On December 19, 1912, it was donated to the Smithsonian where it is now on permanent exhibit. In 1914, much-needed preservative work was done on the flag by Mrs. Amelia Fowler and several other restoration experts. Although the flag was reduced in size in order to repair it, the reinforcement technique used has preserved its existence.

The Flag House is a National Historic Landmark, and is operated by an independent non-profit association. The flag is flown over the house 24 hours a day.

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