Site 18FR636 is an early 19th century building complex located between 230 and 238 (now 240) West Patrick Street in the Historic District of Frederick, Maryland. 

Archaeological Investigations

The original structure on the lot may have been built as early as the late 18th century. A two-story brick house and a log shop are known to have stood on the lot by 1822. Sometime after 1827, additional portions were added to the building and these made up what became known colloquially as the “Barbara Fritchie Tea Room”. The “Barbara Fritchie Tea Room” was a restaurant associated with a motel complex operating at the site throughout much of the 20th century. The restaurant takes its name from Barbara Fritchie (also Barbara Frietchie), an American patriot during the Civil War and one of Frederick’s most famous residents. Fritchie won notoriety by supposedly waving the flag of the Union from her home in defiance of the Confederacy as Stonewall Jackson’s troops passed through Frederick. The event is largely thought to be a myth, popularized by a famous poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1864. Fritchie is not known to have any tangible connection to the actual site.

Phase I, II, and III work from 1989-2000 revealed that two levels of fill covered relatively undisturbed late 18th to early 19th century living surface deposits in the rear yard of the property. Intact deposits were also encountered beneath the floor of a kitchen outbuilding on-site. Within these various deposits, intact pit features, builder’s trenches, a well, and 18th and 19th century limestone foundations were encountered, some of which date back to the earliest historic occupations at the site.

Archeobotanical Studies

Twenty-one flotation samples were taken from 5 cm levels within the undisturbed late 18th to early 19th century living surface deposits (the Ab horizon) across the site. Eleven of these were selected for macro-botanical analysis. Non-botanical artifacts included 7 glass fragments, 5 whiteware sherdlets, 3 unidentified nail fragments, 2 cut nail fragments, 1 copper/brass pin, 4 corroded iron fragments, 275 brick fragments, 142 fragments of mortar, 783 pieces of coal/ciders, 474 wood charcoal pieces, 13 unidentified bone fragments, 7 fish bones, 17 mammal bone fragments, 4 pieces of snail shell, 39 fish scales, 4 egg shell fragments, 10 shell fragments.

All of the samples contained wood charcoal. Most of the charcoal was from ring porous wood, probably chestnut or oak. Thirty-five seeds were recovered.  Identifiable charred seeds represent black locust, possible huckleberry, mulberry, walnut, and sumac. Sumac and black locus are both disturbed-ground, pioneer species. A tea can be made from sumac. Huckleberry, mulberry, and walnut are edible and commonly consumed. Four samples produced a total of 6 uncharred seeds, all of which were raspberry. Raspberry is edible; it also represents a disturbed-ground pioneer species. The remaining 23 seeds were unidentifiable.


Goodwin, R.C. and A.M. Fehr
1989 Phase I, II, and III Archeological Investigation of the Barbara Fritchie Tea Room, Frederick, Maryland. (R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc.) MHT # FR 53.

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