SE Quadrant, Capitol Hill, Architecturally Significant, Lawyers, Also of Interest

Francis Scott Key
(August 1, 1779 - January 11, 1843)

The Maples, 619 D St. SE, Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Marked with an historic plaque.

A lawyer, Key is best known as the poet who wrote the lyrics to the US National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." The poem was written after witnessing the bombing of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812, and was set to the tune of the British drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven." In addition to occasional poems (collected into a book that was published 14 years after his death), Key published a nonfiction book, The Power of Literature, and Its Connection with Religion (1834).

Key lived at this address from 1815 through 1838. It is listed on the Register of Historic Places. The mansion is currently being restored, and, with new connected structures on the site, will be converted into 20 residential units.

Key is remembered locally by a bridge named in his honor, linking the Georgetown neighborhood where he also once lived with the Rosslyn neighborhood in Arlington. A park on the DC side includes a bust of the author. In addition, Key Elementary School, part of the DC Public School system, and Key Halls at the George Washington University and at the University of Maryland at College Park are named for him.

Also home of Emily Edson Briggs.

Architect: William Lovering. Year: 1795
This Georgian style mansion has been known variously as Friendship House, The Maples, and Maple Square. It was built for William Mayne Duncanson, who hosted George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, among other guests. The house also served as a temporary hospital after the Battle of Bladensburg in the War of 1812. From 1936 to 2008, it operated as a settlement house and community center. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the current owners turned the property into condominiums in 2014.

Author photo courtesy of Library of Congress.