The Baltimore Department of General Services (DGS) owns and stewards many historic properties across Charm City and maintains the buildings for the public good. One of those special properties is The Flag House in Baltimore City that will soon undergo preservation assessment and maintenance supported in part by the City of Baltimore.


The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore City will soon embark on a project to preserve and protect this historic landmark for future use. Through a public-private partnership between the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association and the Baltimore City Department of General Services, the project will perform exterior preservation work including masonry repointing, shutter and hardware replication, gutter replacement, and iron work repair.

The Flag House, ca. 1910.

The Flag House, ca. 1910.

Star-Spangled Banner House History

Built in 1793, the house is a Federal style brick rowhome. In this house, Mary Pickersgill designed and fabricated the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. Inspired by the sight of the flag, Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Star Spangled Banner,” which is now known today as the National Anthem of the United States of America. For its national significance, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969.

Preservation Maryland members at the Visitor's Center, 2017.

Preservation Maryland members at the Visitor’s Center, 2017.

The City of Baltimore has owned the house since 1927. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association leases the property and operates a museum inside the home which showcases many early 19th century objects that belonged to the Young-Pickersgill family. The Jean and Lillian Hofmeister Visitor Center, located on the same site as the historic house, features interactive activities for visitors of all ages, as well as the most current permanent exhibit, “Family of Flagmakers: The Women Who Created the Star-Spangled Banner” which focuses on the life of Mary Pickersgill, her family, household and neighborhood. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday.

Preservation Project

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Association has engaged Encore Sustainable Design to develop a preservation proposal which will perform an assessment of current conditions and design studies for specific architectural elements. The assessment included a drone survey by Elevated Element and the creation of this 3D model:

Following completion of design, the house will undergo remediation measures and preservation treatments aimed at extending the longevity of the building. Remediation measures will include masonry repointing to prevent moisture and structural damage to the brick exterior, the application of protective coatings to ironwork to prevent corrosion, and gutter replacement in order to direct water away from the structure.

The preservation project will be funded by a capital grant of $50,000 awarded by the City of Baltimore and matched through private donations from the DSF Charitable Foundation and the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Memorial Foundation. Tours of the preservation work will be held Thursday, May 17, 2018 by Encore Sustainable Design at the Best of Maryland awards event.

More DGS-Owned Properties

Visit the Flag House

This post was co-written by Jennifer Baehr, Historic Preservation Associate and Jackson Gilman-Forlini, Historic Properties Program Coordinator, with the Baltimore Department of General Services. DGS is also owner and stewards of The Peale Center — currently undergoing rehabilitation in preparation for a reopening as the Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture.