Frederick has a long history which includes prominence in Colonial, Revolutionary War and Civil War events. During the time of Lewis and Clark, “Fredericktowne” was a “jumping off” point, not only for them, but for many pioneers traveling west. Frederick history is a rich story of German heritage and Colonial, Revolutionary and Civil War events.
Frederick Town, originally laid out in 1745 and settled by German immigrants, is rich in Colonial and Civil War History. The city served as a major crossroads from colonial times.
It served as a place to house Hessian soldiers in the War for Independence. British General Braddock marched through Frederick on the way to Fort Duquesne to what would be the fateful ambush during the French and Indian War. To control the important crossroads during the War for Independence the British brought Hessian soldiers and quartered them in Frederick. The Hessian Barracks are located today on Clarke Ave. Afterward, with no way to return to their homes, the soldiers stayed on and married into the families of the town.
During the Civil War, the many downtown churches became hospitals for the wounded soldiers from several battles surrounding Frederick. The Civil War Medicine Museum in downtown Frederick tells the story. Frederick was the site of a speech given by President Lincoln during the Civil War. The speech took place at what was then the train depot of the modern intersection of South and Market Streets, commemorated by a plaque.
From these beginnings, Frederick grew to an important market town, and Mining became an important industry in the 19th Century. With the first wave of Irish refugees from the potato famine in 1846, the English language was introduced to Frederick residents. Up until that time the language had been German.
Frederick was know for its religious diversity, and a drive along Church Street confirms it. The main Catholic Church, St. John’s was built in 1800 and rebuilt in 1837. This and the half dozen other churches with their spires dominated the scenic town, and set against the mountains as a background, were the immortalized in John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem of Barbara Fritchie: “The clustered spires of Frederick stand — greenwalled in the hills of Maryland”.
Find out more about Frederick History at these sites:
Museum of Frederick County History: 24 E. Church Street, Frederick. 301-663-1188
Enjoy our video of Frederick Historic District: