North Point to Baltimore: Commemorating the War of 1812
Baltimore’s victory over British forces in early fall of 1814 was a turning point in the War of 1812. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent only a few months later. Baltimore’s role in the War of 1812 is commonly associated with the defense of Fort McHenry against British naval attacks and the penning of the Star Spangled Banner by Francis Key Scott. However, equally important was the role Baltimore’s militia played in defending the city as the British marched north from the shores of the North Point peninsula to Hampstead Hill in modern day Patterson Park.
One of the major developments arising from the Bicentennial Commemoration is the plan to establish a trail system throughout the Baltimore and D.C. areas, linking sites of historical significance and following the paths taken by American and British troops during the summer and fall of 1814. The National Park Service’s plans for the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway will stretch 290 miles, through both land and water, along the Chesapeake Bay. The National Park Service has routed a 15-mile segment of the trail from Fort Howard on the North Point Peninsula to Patterson Park in Baltimore City to follow the historic route of the British in their march to Patterson Park that took place in September of 1814. The trail planned by the National Park Service, however, is just one of three routes being proposed as a way to link important historic sites and provide recreational opportunities for both tourists and local residents.
The three trails, the StarSpangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway (SSB Trail), the Star-Spangled Banner Hiker Biker Trail (Hiker/Biker Trail), and the North Point Heritage Greenway Trail (Heritage Greenway Trail) each have their own merits regarding historical accuracy and accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists. This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the three trails that are proposed to link communities and historic sites from Fort Howard and North Point State Park to Patterson Park in Baltimore City. It examines and grades the physical conditions of the existing bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure in order to locate challenging segments along the proposed trails and determine the best possible route for linking these historic sites. Given the results of the walking and bicycling assessments, along with additional analysis and stakeholder involvement, this report provides recommendations for future investment for three focus points located along the proposed trail route. The report identifies the improvements that can be made to enhance the attraction of these sites and create a lasting legacy of the Bicentennial Commemoration for Baltimore residents and visitors alike.
Faculty Advisor: Sidney N. Brower