Skip to Main Content

Plaque, Star-Spangled Banner First Sung In Public

Star-Spangled Banner First Sung

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

America's official anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," was written as a poem, "Defense of Fort McHenry," in 1812. Its author, Francis Scott Key, was told by his brother-in-law that the words fit perfectly to a popular English drinking tune, "The Anacreontic Song." This was somewhat ironic since The Star-Spangled Banner was inspired by an unsuccessful English attack against America.

In other words, you try to take away our freedom, we'll take away your drinking song.

To further complicate the story, the first public singing of what had become The Star-Spangled Banner took place in Baltimore at the Indian Queen Hotel, where Key had stayed while he finished writing his poem. But there was another Indian Queen Hotel, down the road in Washington, DC, and the owners of the building currently on the Indian Queen's former site put up a Star-Spangled Banner plaque, apparently unaware that their hotel was the wrong one in the wrong city.

But since Baltimore doesn't have a plaque, this one is close enough.

Star-Spangled Banner First Sung

601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC
The green plaque is mounted to the outside wall, just to the left of the entrance, of the building on the north side of Pennsylvania Ave. NW, between 6th and 7th Sts NW.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Oldest Working ElevatorWorld's Oldest Working Elevator, Washington, DC - < 1 mi.
Mythology of Canada StatueMythology of Canada Statue, Washington, DC - < 1 mi.
President Garfield Shot HerePresident Garfield Shot Here, Washington, DC - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Man with Pigs, Falls Church, VA - 9 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in DC

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in DC.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

DC Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado (Apr 15-21, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings