Barbara Fritchie (1766–1862) is a central figure in the history of Frederick, Maryland. A Unionist during the Civil War, she is best known for her folkloric defiance in the face of Confederate troops. As the occupying rebel forces were marching out of Frederick in September 1862, Dame Fritchie, then 95, was said to have waved a Union flag from her upstairs window. Her fabled act of heroism was immortalized in an 1863 poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. The ballad uses a German spelling of her name, Frietchie.
The original house was built in 1806, but was washed away in a flood in 1869, 7 years after Barbara’s death in 1862. According to historians, so many people kept coming to the site where the house was that locals decided to build a replica of Barbara’s original house, at the same location in 1926. The house was operated as museum until 2017, when the house was purchased by my wife, Charlotte and me, Bryan Chaney from the Ausherman Foundation.
No renovations have been done to the outside of the house, but the inside has been renovated to be a cozy, high-quality Airbnb, complete with furnishings, decorations, equipment and supplies you would expect at a high-quality hotel. The house has all new HVAC, controlled individually in each room, new electric service, new plumbing, a new, but small kitchen, an expanded bathroom with shower, 2 bedrooms and a sofa bed in the living room, sleeping 6 people. Comcast basic and high-speed internet also provided. Barbara’s room has a queen size bed and the second bedroom has a full-size bed. There is also a washer and dryer in the basement and the entire house has been repainted. Furnishings are not exact replicas of the period, but close, with a mix of some warm, late day pieces. Our goal is for you to have a great, fun stay in the coolest house in Frederick, walking distance from downtown, with an air of a late 1800 house, with modern conveniences.
For those not familiar with Airbnb, reserving a stay at the house is as easy as browsing to airbnb.com, finding the days you want to stay and making a reservation, just like you would at any hotel. You’ll be given a confidential door code, and the house is yours until you check out. All linens, towels, and basic hotel accoutrements will be provided.