Barbara Fritchie House

Barbara Fritchie House

Barbara Fritchie House

Like many areas in Maryland, Frederick also played a part in the Civil War. Many areas and buildings were converted into places for soldiers to use and it was not uncommon to see soldiers throughout the state. While most civilians helped the soldiers, some did have conflicts due to political differences. One story in Frederick became infamous over a woman who risked her life to let her patriotic opinion be heard.

In 1862 the Confederate army passed through downtown Frederick. Legend goes as they passed by what is now the address of 154 West Patrick Street, an elderly woman named Barbara Fritchie stuck her head out her window and stated “Shoot if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country’s flag.” She held a Union flag out the window waving as she stated this. A poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote a poem one year after about Barbara’s patriotic act. It was later argued that Barbara never did this and that it was all folklore which is still questioned to this day. The poem can be found at

Barbara passed away 2 months after the infamous incident at 95 years old. She was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. In 1869 her home was demolished after being destroyed from flood waters. It was rebuilt in 1927. The home eventually became the Barbara Fritchie House & Museum. The house was set up exactly how the founders envisioned the home to be when Barbara lived there and they had a lot of her original belongings to display.

The house also seemed to still have Barbara as well. Lights are known to power by themselves. Her objects were known for going missing and found completely out of their original place, usually under beds. A projector that plays Barbara’s story will always start and stop on Barbara’s picture, no matter what slide it was originally on. In one of the bedrooms an unused bed will have the print of a woman laying in it in the morning. One person has claimed to have seen Barbara rocking in a rocking chair, which is also known to rock by itself. People believe she is still guarding her home from the Confederates.

The museum closed in December 2016 and the home was up for sale May of 2017. It was bought in January 2018 by the Chaney family. They are planning on renovating the house and making it an Airbnb.


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