Established in 1745 as a speculative land venture, Frederick has evolved over the years from a small, frontier settlement, to the second largest city in the State of Maryland. Two and a half centuries of growth has turned the City into an important regional center for commerce and industry as well as a convenient commuter location for those working in Washington, DC and Baltimore. Remarkably, because most growth has occurred within the 340 lots originally platted by Daniel Dulany, the Frederick Town Historic District remains relatively intact today and constitutes the largest, contiguous collection of historic resources in the state. As a result, the Frederick Town Historic District contains a broad spectrum of architectural styles that reflect our country’s built history. 

In 1741 Daniel Dulany the Elder, an Annapolis lawyer and proprietary official, bought approximately 20,000 acres from Benjamin Tasker. Mr. Dulany sought to resell the land to German settlers. Using a portion of his extensive land holdings, Mr. Dulany created 340 lots along a grid plan. When Mr. Dulany sold these parcels, he stipulated that buyers improve properties by erecting structures within a specified period. After three years the town was so successfully developed that Frederick Town became the county seat for the newly created Frederick County. This act was significant because at the time Frederick County encompassed all of the area west of present Baltimore and Howard Counties to the east to the Maryland border to the west. 

Due to its strategic location at the crossroads of early transportation routes, Frederick developed into a regional market center. A turnpike connecting Baltimore with the National Pike in Cumberland passed through the town along Patrick Street. A north-south route linking Gettysburg to Washington, DC also intersected the turnpike in Frederick. The burgeoning rail industry made its home in Frederick when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built a freight depot (Carroll and East All Saints Streets) in the City in 1832.  

Frederick played an important role during the Civil War. Several times throughout the war, both Union and Confederate troops marched through the City. Poet John Greenleaf Whittier immortalized Frederick resident Barbara Fritchie for her purported public defiance of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as he marched past. 

The City continued to prosper and grow during the early part of the 20th century. As a result of limited demolition, the City’s historic core remains largely intact. As early as 1954, the Frederick City Charter included provisions directed toward historic preservation by establishing an historic district and an advisory commission. Because of the City’s careful stewardship of its built past, Frederick enjoys the largest, contiguous historic district in Maryland. 

Our walking tour of this district will start in Baker Park, a lovely greenspace a scant two blocks from the City center...

Baker Park
bounded by Carroll Parkway, North Bentz Street and West 2nd Street

Joseph Dill Baker was born in Buckeystown in 1854 and came to Frederick as a young man, purchasing a tannery. In 1886 he organized the Citizens National Bank and became its first president. He also served as Receiver of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and was a member of the Maryland Budget Commission but he is most remembered for his philanthropic work in Frederick. he donated land and funds for hospitals, churches and schools; he was the driving force behind the paving of the City’s cobblestone streets; helped build the YMCA at Church and Court Street and donated the land for this 44-acre park that was formally dedicated on June 23, 1927. Culler Lake, honoring Mayor Lloyd C. Culler, was dedicated on January 7, 1940. In 1941, three years after his death, the Joseph Dill Baker Memorial Carillon was constructed to honor the long years of service of “Frederick’s First Citizen.” The original 14 bells were cast by the Meneely firm of Watervliet, New York although it only officially became a “carillon” in 1966, as the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America defines a carillon as having at least 23 bells. Today the carillon has 49 bells, including the largest bell in Frederick County - 3,400 pounds. The smallest of the bronze bells weighs about 22 pounds.  


Barbara Fritchie House and Museum
154 West Patrick Street

Supposedly, fiery Barbara Fritchie, then in her 90s, confronted Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and his “Rebel hordes” by waving the American flag as the Confederates marched past her house in 1862. Although some think another woman was involved in the exchange, it was Fritchie’s name that was passed to abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier, who immortalized the incident in a poem for the October 1863 Atlantic Magazine when he wrote, “‘Shoot if you must, this gray old head, but spare your country’s flag,’ she said.” The museum is an exact replica of the Fritchie home, which was ruined by a flood in 1868.    

John Hanson House
108 West Patrick Street 

John Hanson was born into a family of planters in Charles County, Maryland where he was elected to the lower house of the Maryland General Assembly in 1757, where he served over the next twelve years. In 1769 he sold his land and moved to Frederick and continued his career in public service in various capacities as county sheriff, treasurer and deputy surveyor. Hanson became an energetic patriot and organized the first southern troops to send to George Washington’s Continental Army. Hanson was elected to the newly reformed Maryland House of Delegates in 1777, the first of five annual terms. He was named as one of the Maryland delegates to the Second Continental Congress and during that time the Articles of Confederation, establishing America’s first government, were ratified. In 1781 Hanson became the first President of Congress to be elected for an annual term as specified in the Articles of Confederation, although Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean had been appointed to that office after the ratification of the Articles. This distinction has led some to label him America’s first elected President, although under the Articles of Confederation, the United States had no executive branch. Hanson served his one-year term but, in poor health, retired from public life afterwards and died in 1783 at a family plantation in Oxon Hill.

Francis Scott Key Hotel
northeast corner of West Patrick Street and North Court Street 

This part of downtown Frederick has long been a place of lodging and hospitality for travelers along the National Road. Kimball’s Inn, Talbott’s Tavern, the City Hotel and the Francis Scott Key Hotel have occupied this site for over two hundred years. The City Hotel hosted many notable travelers, including President-elect William Henry Harrison, Senator Henry Clay, Mexican General Santa Anna, Alexander Graham Bell and President Woodrow Wilson. On the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg in late June, 1863, 23-year-old George Armstrong Custer was at the City Hotel when he received word he was promoted to brigadier general. The City Hotel was finally demolished for the modern fire-proof Francis Scott Key Hotel. The 205-room, 150-bath hotel opened to great fanfare on January 8, 1923.

Weinberg Center for the Arts
20 West Patrick Street 

When the Tivoli Theater opened on December 23, 1926 it was the second largest structure ever built in Frederick. Designed to comfortably seat 1,500 people, the Tivoli not only had a sixteen-foot movie screen, but it could also accommodate live performances with an orchestra pit, a large stage, 50 sets of pulleys for scenery, and a full complement of dressing rooms. Ushers wore uniforms with gold-buttoned jackets, and the managers dressed in tuxedos. Surrounded by crystal chandeliers, marble and silk wall coverings and leather seats, an opening-night sell-out crowd watched a selection of short features and silent films. In 1938 the Tivoli became the first building inthe City to be air conditioned, paid for by Warners Brothers head Jack Warner, the story goes, after getting a tip to bet on local horse Challadon in the Santa Anita Derby. Like downtown movie palaces everywhere the Tivoli fell into disrepair in the 1950s in the face of suburban migration. In 1959, local businessman Dan Weinberg and his wife Alyce bought the theatre for $150,000 and eventually renovated and reopened the theater. In the 1970s the building was donated to the City of Frederick and restored to its original splendor, becoming a centerpiece in the revitalization of downtown Frederick. 

Square Corner
Market Street and Patrick Street

The Square Corner, at the intersection of Patrick and Market Streets, has long been the commercial and financial heart of Frederick. It is here that the National Road meets several important north-south roads that lead to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The Square Corner has witnessed both dramatic and ordinary events for over two hundred and fifty years. British, Hessian, and Tory prisoners marched through town during the Revolutionary War, while Union and Confederate armies marched through as they headed to fateful collisions at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg during the Civil War. Conestoga freight wagons and “Concord” stagecoaches rolled west on the National Road, while in recent times, presidential motorcades passed through on their way to the nearby retreat in the Catoctin Mountains.

Frederick County National Bank
northwest corner of Frederick Street and Market Street

In 1818, George Baer sold this plot of land to the directors of the newly organized Frederick County Bank who erected a two-story building on the site. The bank survived the country’s first great financial crisis, the Panic of 1837, and weathered a robbery in 1841 that netted $180,000 in gold, bonds and notes (all but $20,000 was eventually recovered). The bank was enlarged in 1898 and in 1911, as the Frederick County National Bank this impressive Neoclassical building rose over Square Corner. The Frederick County National Bank was purchased in 2000, ending nearly two centuries in the Frederick financial community. 

Kemp’s Department Store
northeast corner of Frederick Street and Market Street

This location on the National Road was a drug store in the late 1800s and later a home furnishing store operated by Baltimore merchants Meyer E. and Jacob Scoll who emigrated from Russia as children in the 1880s. In 1907 the property was acquired by C. Thomas Kemp who razed the building and opened a new department store. 

Citizen’s National Bank
southeast corner of Frederick Street and Market Street

The Citizens National Bank was established on this corner in 1886. This is the bank’s second building on the site, a Classical Revival design completed in 1909. Note that the bank, featuring Doric columns and rooftop balustrade, is not symmetrical, with a longer fronting on Market Street. Citizens National Bank continued to operate until 1953 when it merged with the Farmers and Mechanics Bank.   

National Museum of Civil War Medicine
48 East Patrick Street

This unique collection looks at the Civil War from the perspective of the wounded and caregivers. More than 3,000 items include medical instruments and books that demonstrate the state of medicine in the 1860s. The museum is housed in a building where soldiers were embalmed during the war. 


Community Bridge
South Carroll Street at Carroll Creek

The Community Bridge mural project transformed a plain concrete bridge into the stunning illusion of an old stone bridge. Artist William Cochran and his assistants painted the entire structure by hand, using advanced trompe l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) techniques. Many people walk by it and never realize they have been fooled. Once they grasp that the bridge is actually an artwork, visitors discover that there are mysterious carvings in the stones, images too numerous to count. They represent symbols and stories contributed by thousands of people from all over the community, across the country, and around the world.


Hessian Barracks
101 Clarke Place on the campus of the Maryland School for the Deaf

The Hessian Barracks, a two-story fieldstone structure built in 1777, housed Hessian mercenaries and British troops captured at the battles of Yorktown, Saratoga and Bennington during the Revolutionary War. Prisoners were kept here until 1782, when they were released, with some of the prisoners opting to begin a new life in Frederick. The barracks held supplies and equipment for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, as they set forth on their quest to map the way west in 1803. During the Civil War the barracks were used as a hospital. 


B&O Railroad Station
southeast corner of South Market Street and All Saints’ Street

This Italianate Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station initiated passenger service to Frederick in 1854. Cast iron lions decorate the cornice of the longtime landmark, now a community center. 

Federated Charities Building
22 South Market Street 

This building with a small Ionic portico was donated to the City by Margaret Jones Williams.

Byerly Building
27-29 North Market Street  

John Davis Byerly, known familiarly as Davis, was born on February 18, 1839 into a Pennsylvania German family from Newville, Cumberland County. Three years later his father Jacob moved the family to Frederick, setting up one of the first daguerrotype shops in Maryland. In 1869 Jacob turned the photography studio over to Davis., who had been a photographer in Frederick for over 25 years, retired from the business and turned the studio over to his son. The Byerly Picture Gallery flourished under Davis’s direction and the studio on North Market Street became widely renowned for its photographs. In 1899, J. Davis retired from the photographic studio and like his father, Davis gave the business to his son Charles. The business ended after more than 70 years in 1914 when the 2nd floor studio collapsed for unknown reasons. Although the studio no longer exists, the Byerly Building still stands on North Market Street, a proud remainder of a photographic dynasty.

Rosenour Building
39-43 North Market Street  

Bernard Rosenour emigrated from Bavaria and with sons Abraham, Gerson and Benjamin were leading merchants in Frederick in the late 1800s. They lived at 41 North Market and the “Double Store” of B. Rosenour at 39 and 43 North Market offered clothing, boots and and shoes.

Hendrickson Building
44 North Market Street 

Opened in the early 1900s, a trip to Hendrickson’s Department Store was a mainstay in Frederick life for many years. In that time six generations of family members were involved in the business. Hendrickson’s offered women’s, girls’ and infants’ clothing and was the place to buy finer bed and table linens. Men’s suits were carried up until the 1930s, but haberdashery items were sold after that. The distinctive Richardsonian Romanesque three-story building was designed by John A. Dempwolf, an architect from York, Pennsylvania.


Kemp Hall
4 East Church Street  

In the year 1861 the legislature of Maryland was called into extraordinary session by Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks to decide whether the state would secede from the Union. After convening in the court house on April 26, the senators and delegates assembled here the next day, in a building owned by the Evangelical Reformed Church. A peace and safety bill was referred to a joint committee and reported favorably, but after an amendment demanding secession was rejected the bill was recommitted. The legislature adjourned in September without passage of the bill because of lack of a quorum due to the arrest of a number of senators and delegates by Federal order, and Maryland never seceded from the Union.

Winchester Hall
12 East Church Street

Erected in 1843 by Connecticut educator Hiram Winchester, this stately Greek Revival structure with soaring Ionic columns originally housed the Frederick Female Seminary. A $30,000 gift in 1913 mandated that the school be renamed Hood College and two years later it moved altogether, to a new campus near Schifferstadt. Winchester Hall now houses Frederick County government offices.

Historical Society of Frederick County
24 East Church Street 

Originally constructed for the John Baltzell family in the 1820s, the elegant Federal-style home later served as the Loat’s Female Orphanage from 1879 until 1958. When the orphanage closed and the Historical Society acquired the property. It is open today as a house museum and research library.  

Evangelical Lutheran Church
35 East Church Street 

Organized in 1738, the first Evangelical Lutheran Church was built of logs in 1746. In 1762, it was replaced by a stone church structure. Designed in 1854 by the Baltimore firm of Niernsee & Neilson, this Gothic Revival church was a copy of the firm’s Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. The west tower of the church holds a bell cast in England and shipped to Frederick in 1771. During the Civil War a false floor was built over the pews so that sick and wounded soldiers could be hospitalized here.

101 East Church Street

The Italianate style was popular for downtown buildings across America in the 1850s and 1860s. Occasionally Italian villas based on rural farmhouses in Italy would be constructed as residences; two of the finest in Frederick stand opposite each other on East Church Street.

Trail Mansion
106 East Church Street 

This huge Italianate villa with ornate brackets supporting the eaves and a loggia on either side - now the Smith, Keeney and Basford Funeral Home - was built in 1852 by Colonel Charles E. Trail, president of the Mutual Insurance Company. Carved and gilded ornament, high ceilings and tall windows, marble mantels and a monumental staircase express the Victorians’ love of lavishness.


St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church
116 East 2nd Street

The Catholics who settled here received the services of the Jesuit Fathers from Port Tobacco, in Southern Maryland, and from Conewago Chapel near Hanover, PA., from 1750 until 1763, when the first place of worship was erected here by Father John Williams. This first St. John’s Church, a modest facility with the second floor used as a chapel, was more of the character of a Mission Chapel and it served the people of Frederick for nearly forty years. On St. Joseph’s Day in 1833, the cornerstone of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church was laid. The building was designed in the shape of a Latin Cross according tot he specifications of Father John McElroy. The church was consecrated on April 26, 1837. It was the first major church to be consecrated in the Eastern United States. The style of the church is Grecian ionic. Above the doorway is a pediment boasting an eleven (11) foot likeness of St. John the Evangelist. The bell tower, a square tower approximately five stories high, was completed in 1857. The gilding of the gold dome and cross at the top were finally completed October 26, 1954. The tower makes St. John’s the tallest building in the City of Frederick. Father McElroy went on to build Boston College and, in his later years returned to Frederick where he died in September, 1877. He is interred in St. John’s Cemetery.  

Evangelical Lutheran Church
26 East 2nd Street

The church school was erected in 1890 based on designs by John Dempwolf. Additions were made in 1912 and 1925. 

Grace United Church of Christ
25 East 2nd Street

The Grace United Church of Christ building dates to 1902.


The Professional Building
228 North Market Street 

Another picturesque building in the Romanesque style by York architect John Dempwolf, built in 1881 by A. Slagle. It housed the Misses Houck, six widowed and maiden ladies who wanted to live together downtown.


Farmers and Mechanics Bank Building
154 North Market Street 

The Farmers and Mechanics Bank was chartered in 1817 but the venerable bank chose a decidedly modern style for this building in the 1920s. It is one of the few Art Deco buildings in Frederick. 

Brewer’s Alley 
124 North Market Street 

This building was erected in 1873 as the City Opera House, owned and operated by the City of Frederick as a source of revenue. This is thought to be the first structure wholly dedicated to the performing arts. It was built “in the rococo style of the General Grant period” as one observer wrote in 1938. At one time it had the largest stage in Maryland, and Frederick was reputed to be the best show town for its size in the country. People traveled from Baltimore, Washington and Pittsburgh by train, it is reported, to see their favorite stars. For more than half a century, this large stage hosted some of the leading performers and productions of the day. One hundred years earlier on this site, the first residents of Frederick held a lottery to raise money to build a town hall and market house which was completed in 1769. Today a brew pub operates in the space.

Mutual Insurance Company
114 North Market Street

In December, 1843, the General Assembly of Maryland granted a charter to The Mutual Insurance Company of Frederick County. The company was established to safeguard the interests of Frederick County citizens from loss by fire. On May 1, 1844, the company’s first insurance policy was issued, and on August 5, 1845, the company received its first claim for fire damage. The firm moved from its original headquarters at 44 North Market Street to this Neoclassical commercial building in 1924.


“Angels in the Architecture”
southwest corner of Church Street and Market Street

This wall mural, “Earthbound,” is painted in a style known as “trompe l’oeil,” which translates to mean “trick the eye.” It is one in a series of artworks around town known as “Angels in the Architecture” by local artist William Cochran.   

Trinity Chapel
10 West Church Street 

The stone tower is all that remains of the original church built in 1763. Its graceful 1807 colonial steeple is the oldest of all the churches that make up Frederick’s “clustered spires” and it houses the town clock. The grave of the pastor who baptized Francis Scott Key is in the foyer of the old tower.

Independent Fire Company
12 West Church Street 

The oldest volunteer fire company in the state, Independent was established in 1818 and was called into service during John Brown’s raid on nearby Harpers Ferry. Independent Fire Company still serves the community but from a different location.

Evangelical Reformed Church
15 West Church Street 

This 1848 Greek Revival church was built when the congregation outgrew the older stone chapel across the street. The pews still display the numbered brass plates from when the church was supported with “pew rents.” In September 1862 Stonewall Jackson learned that pastor Reverend Daniel Zacharias was planning to pray for the success of Union troops and fearing trouble from his men, he came to the service to ward off any such action. The minister indeed prayed for the Union triumph, but there was no trouble to awaken Jackson, who slept through the sermon.  

Masonic Temple
22-24 West Church Street 

The Masonic Temple, built in 1901, is believed to be the first steel constructed structure of its kind in Frederick. Today it houses a Paul Mitchell hairdressing school. 


Pythian Castle
20 Court Street 

The cornerstone of the Pythian Castle was laid in 1912. The Order of the Knights of Pythias was begun by Justus H. Rathbone as an organization based on peace and friendship in the midst of the Civil War. The Frederick chapter was chartered in 1869. The letters F, C and B that appear on the building stand for the principles of the order: friendship, charity and benevolence.


City Hall & Courthouse Square
101 North Court Street  

This Victorian style building, constructed in 1862, has been described as “one of the prettiest courthouse squares in America.” In 1765, Frederick citizens assembled in the courtyard and burned effigies of government officials in demonstration of the Stamp Act. This is considered to be the first public uprising against the monarchist rule, occurring several years before the Boston tea party. Busts of Maryland’s first governor Thomas Johnson and Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney are displayed in the courtyard. This building replaced the original courthouse on the site that burned on May 8, 1861, with the bell in the cupola eerily tolling its own death knell as the roof began to collapse. Brick and iron fortify the present structure, a model of fireproof construction when it was completed in 1862. In 1986 the city government moved into the old courthouse. 


Ross House
105 Council Street 

In this home the Marquis de Lafayette lodged as a guest of Colonel John McPherson from December 29-31, 1824 on his tour of America a half-century after the Revolution. It was later owned by Eleanor Potts, a cousin of Francis Scott Key.


Ramsey House
119 Record Street

Returning from his inspection of Antietam Battlefield on October 4, 1862, Abraham Lincoln visited U.S. Army General Hartsuff, a guest at the Ramsey House, who was recuperating from wounds he received at Antietam. Lincoln spoke at an impromptu gathering in front of the house and later in the day, from the former B&O Railroad Station at the corner of Market and All Saints streets.


Birthplace of William Tyler Page
111 Record Street 

Born on October 19, 1868, William Tyler Page, a direct descendent of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote the American’s Creed in 1917 by cobbling together phrases from seminal documents and speeches in American history: “I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.” This creed was written as a result of a nationwide contest. Henry Sterling Chapin, of New York, conceived the idea of promoting the contest for the writing of a national creed, which should be the briefest possible summary of American political faith and yet be founded upon the fundamental things most distinctive in American history and tradition. Mayor James H. Preston of Baltimore, Maryland, offered a reward of a thousand dollars for the winning creed. It seemed especially fitting that the birthplace of the National Anthem should have the honor of presenting the prize for the National Creed.


All Saints Episcopal Church
106 West Church Street 

The Parish was officially founded in Frederick in 1742 by an act of the Provincial government, and is the oldest Episcopal parish in western Maryland. A small colonial building was constructed about four blocks from the present church a few years later, and served the parish for over sixty years. Thomas Johnson, the first post-Colonial governor of Maryland, and Francis Scott Key, prominent attorney and author of the National Anthem, worshipped at All Saints’. In 1793 All Saints’ was the site of the first confirmation service by Bishop Thomas John Claggett, who was the first Episcopal bishop consecrated on American soil. In 1814 a replacement structure was built on Court Street, now used as parish hall and classrooms. In 1855 the congregation moved into this brick Neo-gothic structure designed by the noted 19th century church architect Richard Upjohn.


John Tyler House
108 West Church Street 

Dr. John Tyler is considered to be the first American-born ophthalmologist and is credited with performing the first cataract removal. The cast iron dog, modeled after Dr. Tyler’s pet “Guess,” was stolen by Confederate troops in 1862 with the intention of remolding the iron into bullets. “Guess” was found sometime later near the battlefield at Antietam and returned to stand vigil over Tyler’s house.  

Tyler Spite House
112 West Church Street 

Dr. John Tyler constructed this Federal-style residence in 1814 as a means of “spiting” city officials who wanted to extend Record Street through to Patrick Street. And indeed, Record Street ends in front of the house to this day.