Frederick Maryland, founded in 1745, and is a true historic American city. If houses could talk, Frederick homes would tell the stories of the French & Indian Wars, The American Revolution, The Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.
Architecture from all of these historic periods is represented throughout Frederick County, but in rich concentration in the Historic District in the city of Frederick.
If you’d like to research the history of a particular home, you can spend a day or a couple of afternoons looking through some local resources, and you might find some interesting information. Your first step will be the County Courthouse on the corner of Court Street and Patrick Street.
Enjoy our Photo Slides of Historic Frederick Architecture:
Sometimes when you’re in downtown Frederick you just have to get out of the car and take a walk with your eyes pointed towards the sky!
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How to Research A Historic Frederick Home
- The people in the Records Room are very helpful. They’ll set you up on a computer and teach you how to do a title search. You trace the chain of title as far back as you can, and with older homes, you’ll eventually have to switch from the computer to the giant tombs of catalogued names. There is much fascinating information for the inquisitive history buff. In some of my research, I’ve gone far enough back to see handwritten titles, surveys, and wills.
- If you run in to a break in the chain of title, you might have to take a trip across the hall to the Wills and Documents Room. There you can see who left property to whom in their will.
- Once you get as far back as you can in the chain of title, you visit the Maryland Room at C. Burr Artz Public Library, second floor. The staff there are extremely helpful and friendly. You can look up people by name, you can see maps, you can explore all the history of the area and the period.
- Research previous owners in newspaper archives. You may find old photos, and you’ll probably get an idea of the history surrounding the particular area and events.
Then, you may want to supplement your work with an online search. Some helpful sites:
- The Frederick Historical Society You can purchase books online or in their building on Church Street.
- Frederick County Rootsweb This site contains everything online that you could possibly need.
- Maryland Historical Trust has an Inventory of Historic Properties, which is comprised of nearly 90,000 resources.
- Look for properties in your area on the National Register of Historic Places.
- And for great general information on researching the history of a home: Geneological.com
Some added tips: Explore your yard with a metal detector; you may find some old coins, or old metal toys. Look under the porch, people have been know to bury treasures there. Look in the attic and the basement for artifacts that will tell the story of your home. Look for old newspapers used to pack things or line the bottoms of things.
If you inspect the rafters in your attic, or the bricks in your basement or around a fireplace, you might find dates or stamps left by the builder; different-sized bricks will tell you that the house was built in different construction cycles. A good book about architecture during the time your home was built will also be a good resource.
Have fun exploring your historic home!