Maryland, Where We've Been

Fort McHenry (Star Spangled Banner) & The B&O Railroad Museum

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Fort McHenry (Star Spangled Banner)

“O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light…” wrote Francis Scott Key after watching Fort McHenry be attacked by the British during the War of 1812. Key stood watch through the night from the deck of a ship sailing on the Patapsco River. When the early morning light shone upon the fort, Key peered through his spyglass to find who had won the battle by which flag was flying over the fort. To his and other passenger’s delightful surprise, the American flag with its 15 white stars waved proudly at the top of its flagpole. Inspired by the outcome of the battle, Key wrote a poem, which was later put to the tune of a British song, The Anacreontic Song, and became our National Anthem.

Today a large 15-starred American flag proudly waves over Fort McHenry, just as it did when Key witnessed the famous battle.

Many cannons and cannon balls still remain at Fort McHenry and, as Jaden found out, are quite heavy for one person to load into the barrel of a cannon.

The B&O Railroad Museum

The B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad Museum is located on the original site where the first commercial railroad was founded in 1827. The B&O Railroad’s first passenger and freight station was located here and also the first railroad manufacturing complex. It’s also a $200 space you can purchase if you land on it, but I digress.

The main attraction of the museum is the Roundhouse. It’s a 22-sided structure that measures 245 feet in diameter, 135 feet tall and has a rotating turntable in its center. It was built in 1884 to service and repair passenger train cars owned by the railroad. Today, it houses a historic collection of early American locomotives. The turntable rotates on ball bearings and is powered by the push of a single person. Demonstrations for its rotation are given on a regular basis. You’ll need to check the calendar for specific dates if you want to catch it in action. 

Below are several of their locomotives lined up, some with their lights on. 

There were a number of cars that people can venture into to get a look at what it was like to ride in one of the rail cars. This one showed the rather cramped “accommodations” for passengers who rode the train.

In the historical portion of the museum are a large assortment of model trains. The one shown below is called the Richard Trevitrick’s locomotive. As the description reads, it was generally considered the world’s first steam powered locomotive, first appearing in 1803-1804.

A scale model railroad can be seen in a side room of the museum. The model is detailed with people, cars, houses, and even a baseball stadium. 

The railroad was also used as an escape route for the Underground Railroad and the inspiration for the book Henry Brown’s Box. There were instances of runaway slaves hitching a ride on the train while mailing themselves in a small crate. With a few drilled air holes in the side of the box, a small amount of crackers, and water, Henry journeyed for 27 hours in the crate to freedom. 


JB Andrews, MD

There are a few military campgrounds around the D.C. area, but this one was the closest and at the right price. It’s actually the same base where Air Force One planes are located.

The FamCamp is situated in the between several holes on a golf course. There are plenty of trees around and out away from the golf course so unless someone hit a really bad shot, there’s not much of a chance of getting hit by a ball. 

The office used to be located at the FamCamp, but has since been moved to the recreation office. The building that used to be the office has a few pamphlets and an old foosball table (without a ball). There isn’t much else here for the kids to do, but there is a large picnic area behind our site where we were able to play some soccer. 

Starlink was a bit obstructed by the trees, but still gave us decent yet intermittent service. Verizon, however, gave us a poor signal (1 bar) and was slow.  AT&T came in at 3 bars and was decent with the cell antenna.