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Historical Society of Frederick County
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Fast Frederick Facts

Dr. John BaltzellDr. John Baltzell, the physician who built the house, which is the current home to the Historical Society of Frederick County, was the grandnephew of John Thomas and Margaret Schley, the first people to purchase a plot of land in the new city of Frederick Towne.




The Historical Society of Frederick County was formally organized in 1892 and incorporated in 1911. In its early years the Society’s activities centered upon lectures held at public meeting places and in private home. At these meetings, members presented papers “pertinent to the purpose of the organization.” During this time, however, the Society began to collect books, papers and artifacts of importance to the study of the county’s history. These items were stored in the basement of Winchester Hall, then the home of Hood College. In 1944, the Society acquired the Steiner House on West Patrick Street in Frederick and began operating a museum and library at that location.

The Society’s present headquarters, the former Loats Female Orphan Asylum, was built in 1820 by Dr. John Baltzell and was acquired by the Society in 1959. On June 10, 2003, the Society acquired, through a gift from the Francis Scott Key Memorial Foundation, the Roger Brooke Taney House, including all of the sites contents and collections.  After four years of planning and fundraising, the Historical Society completed the Frederick County Heritage Preservation Center, a dedicated collections storage facility, in the late summer of 2003.

Through outstanding collections care, diverse and dynamic programs, compelling exhibits, and a demonstrated commitment to excellence, the Historical Society of Frederick County is recognized as a leader among Maryland’s heritage organizations. At its Museum and Research Library, the Roger Brooke Taney House, and the Frederick County Heritage Preservation Center, the Society demonstrates how a museum with modest resources can accomplish great things through appropriate planning, a continuity of purpose and a spirit of cooperation. In March of 2003, the Historical Society of Frederick County became the first county historical society in the State of Maryland to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. In May of 2006, the Society was awarded the Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections by Heritage Preservation and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC.)


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