Fort Frederick – Big Pool, Maryland - Atlas Obscura
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Big Pool, Maryland

Fort Frederick

A star fort along the C&O Canal in western Maryland that protected America in three wars. 

Many forts have bloody, savage histories. But Fort Frederick did its job for America, without ever seeing action.

The British built the fort near the Potomac River in Western Maryland at the start of the French and Indian War, and it ably protected the state’s Western frontier, but never fired a shot. The modern star design made it too formidable to attack. During the Revolutionary War, Americans imprisoned captured British soldiers in the fort. More than a century of farming in and around the fort followed, with a brief interruption during the Civil War, when Union troops garrisoned nearby and guarded the C&O Canal. The Civilian Conservation Corps restored the crumbling fort during the Great Depression.

Today it’s in spectacular shape, and just far enough out of the way that it’s never crowded. There are two restored barracks, where you can lie in straw-mattressed bunks. Soldiers slept two to a bed, four beds to a room, but the docents will explain that Fort Frederick was a luxury post, since soldiers got to sleep in a barracks rather than a tent. 

Know Before You Go

Just a mile south of I-70's Big Pool, MD, exit.