Here at City Garage, we believe that every detail matters. From the cinderblock walls to the reclaimed wooden furniture, every piece of this reconstructed Baltimore city bus depot has been finely engineered by craftsmen in our country to reflect what it means to be “Made in America.”

Every detail you’ll notice upon entering our space has an intention, a story behind it. This blog series, Behind The Scenes, will pull you in for a closer look at each of these details and their stories.

Want to read more? Tweet us questions you’d like us to answer in this series @citygaragevc!


THEN

“By the dawn’s early light” on September 14th, 1814, the day after the 25-hour bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British began, a great garrison flag could be seen waving proudly in the skyline of Baltimore. An American lawyer named Francis Scott Key, who had been watching the bombardment from a truce ship anchored miles down the river from Fort McHenry, saw this triumphant banner as a sign that the city – and the nation – refused to surrender. With this flag in sight and victory in mind, Key penned a poem which would one day become the Star-Spangled Banner, our National Anthem.

This flag, the icon of Key’s inspiration, was the larger of two flags commissioned by Major George Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Assembled by Mary Pickersgill, a Baltimore flag maker, both flags were stitched from a combination of white cotton and dyed English wool and were intended to fly ninety feet above Fort McHenry, making them visible from miles around.

Amid the fray of the Battle of Baltimore, Major Armistead hoisted the smaller of the two flags – the storm flag – which was meant to fly during the heavy rainstorm which had hit Baltimore during the battle. On the morning of September 14th, 1814, the British called an end to their attack and withdrew their fleet. Upon this withdrawal, Major Armistead ordered the larger flag – the garrison flag – to replace the storm flag as a sign that his troops had not surrendered.

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NOW

Anchored to the back wall of City Garage stands a steel replica of this great American icon with the words “Made in America” scrolled across the center. Sixteen massive steel plates were fixed to the wall and painted by a Baltimore mural artist in replication of the original garrison flag flown during the Battle of Baltimore.

The superimposed aluminum letters are meant to appear as if floating above the triumphantly flowing banner.

City Garage chose to adorn its center focal point with this flag for a multitude of reasons. To name a few:

  • Mary Pickersgill, maker of both flags, was a true American craftsman. She learned her craft from her mother and honed her skills while actively supporting social issues in Baltimore, such as housing and employment equality for women.
  • The National Anthem, a song so essential to American culture, was created right here in Baltimore, born from the inspiration this flag fostered in the heart of Francis Scott Key.

A major goal of City Garage is to illuminate the history of Baltimore and its overarching importance and influence on the United States as a whole. We could think of no better way to display such an essential part of American and Baltimorean history than to pay homage to an icon so vital to our roots.

Come check out this massive tribute to American history for yourself by attending our next public event! Check out a list our upcoming events HERE and be sure to follow us on Twitter @citygaragevc for more news, blogs and behind the scenes updates.