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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, 11/1977
Fort Frederick State Park
Inventory No.: WA-V-205
Date Listed: 2/28/1974
Location: MD 44; State Route 56, Big Pool, Washington County
Category: Structure
Period/Date of Construction: 1756-1783
NHL Date: 11/7/1973
Description: Built in 1756-57, Fort Frederick is a huge stone quadrangle with a bastion projecting from each corner. The curtain walls are three feet thick at the base, rise to a height of 17 1/2 feet, and are about 179 feet long. The throat of each corner bastion is about 41 feet wide, two faces are 31 feet long and the other two are each 89 feet in length. Bastion walls are 4 feet thick and each bastion was originally filled in with earth on its interior to within 4 1/2 feet of their height, so that cannon could be mounted there and infantry could also fire over the top of the bastion walls. Only the northwest bastion is now filled with earth in this manner, so restored to illustrate the original condition of the other 3 now empty bastions. The main gate, 10 1/2 feet wide, is located in the center of the south curtain. A short distance to the west, or left, of the gate is the hole that was knocked in the wall in 1861 so that a cannon could be utilized in the defense of the main gate. Inside, the stone foundations of three log barracks have been uncovered and stabilized. On the east and west sides stood two 2-story log barracks for the troops, each about 117 feet long and 18 feet wide and on the north wall, centered directly opposite the main gate, stood the third two-story log barracks, the officers' quarters, about 96 feet long and 28 feet deep. To the right of the officers' quarters, near the northeast bastion, is the reconstructed well. These barracks were designed for a garrison of 200 but could hold 400 men if needed. A very large portion of the fort's walls are still original. These sections have been stabilized and then the missing portions reconstructed to their original 17 1/2 foot heights over the original bases. Significance: Fort Frederick is the largest and best-preserved architectural example in the Southern Colonies of an 18th century fortress erected for frontier defense against the Indians. Built in 1756-57 as a defense against French and Indian attack, Fort Frederick was also utilized as a military prison during the Revolutionary War and again garrisoned during the Civil War. The fort, however, was never actually attacked during its long history. After extensive archeological and historical research by the National Park Service, the original plans of the fort were located. In the 1930s the outside stone walls were restored and reconstructed to their original height and a part of the interior restored with the aid of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
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