Hessian Barracks – Frederick, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

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Hessian Barracks

Historic barracks utilized during both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. 


This two-story building has served many functions since it was erected as Frederick Barracks between 1777 and 1781.

The building served as a POW camp during the Revolutionary War, again in 1799 during the Quasi-War with France, and a third time during the War of 1812.

It also housed equipment for the Lewis & Clark expedition and was used at various times during that century as an armory and military academy.

One of the most unusual uses for the barracks was as a cocoonery for silkworms sometime around 1840, but this effort was largely fruitless. The cattle shows were far more successful.

During the Civil War, the barracks were used as a hospital servicing thousands of soldiers.

The name Hessian Barracks was coined by a local historian in 1945 in reference to German prisoners of war who had been captured and held here between 1782 and 1783.

The barracks still stand as a symbol of the shift from military to educational use. 

Know Before You Go

Hessian Barracks is located on the campus of the Maryland School for the Deaf. Street parking is available along South Carroll Street. Do not park in the school lot and please be respectful of any students or faculty you encounter.

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