The Key House



Francis Scott Key lived in a house was located at 3516-18 M Street, NW. He lived there in 1814 when he traveled to Baltimore to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner of the British. Taken prisoner himself, Key watched the Battle of Baltimore from Bay and afterwards wrote the poem that would eventually become our national anthem.

Key left the property on M Street in the mid-1830s because of the traffic, noise and congestion brought on by C&O Canal. The house was empty for decades, fell into
disrepair and generally became an eyesore.



In the 1900s Admiral George Dewey led the first effort to preserve the Key House and formed the The Francis Scott Key Memorial Association to raise funds to save the house. In 1917, the U.S. Army Corps of engineers began construction on the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge and as part of that, the federal government purchased the Key home in 1930.

Eventually the house was dismantled to make room for a clover entryway onto the Bridge from the DC side.  Congress passed a bill to finance the reassembly of the house and give it to The Historical Society. But the bill was vetoed by President Harry Truman and the house disappeared forever in 1947 never to be seen again.

The Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge sits on about the same spot where the house once stood.