Years before I met The KingofHearts, I was dating a guy who went to school in Baltimore.  I spent lots of time there and in the Mount Vernon area in particular.  I love the city as much as I love Washington, D.C. but for entirely different reasons.  No two cities could be any more different.  I'm not even sure I can explain how.  They just are, hon.  

I have always been fascinated by the Mount Vernon Place United Method Church from the first time I saw it's gorgeous red doors.

Not being a Methodist, I've not spent any time inside.  I tend to think all large churches are tourist attractions - can't imagine how I got that impression - so I keep trying to see the inside.  But every time I've been by this building, which is a proper functioning church, it's either been closed or they were in the act of holding services and walking in with a camera to gawk seemed... well, rude. 

I've pointed it out to lot of people as we drive around the Other Washington Monument though, because on the outer corner of the foundation, this plaque is displayed.  And as we pass by, I generally say something all know-it-all and tourist-guide-y like "See that church?  That's the church where Francis Scott Key died."  And I'm all impressed with myself because I know Stuff.

Inscription reads: 
Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner departed this life on the site of this building, 
January 11, 1843. 
And this be our motto "in God is our trust." - Key
Baltimore Chapter, D.A.R

It wasn't until I was doing a little research for this post that I finally asked myself after a decade-plus of seeing and passing this plaque, "Wait, what?  He died in a church?  That's odd."  So I consulted my local Baltimore history professor and learned the Whole Story.  And the Whole Story is that Francis Scott Key died on this site, but not in this church.  From the Mt. Vernon Place website:

The church sits on the site of the mansion of Charles Howard, who was married to Elizabeth Phoebe Key. Her father, Francis Scott Key, the author of The Star Spangled Banner, died here in his daughter's home. A plaque observing his death adorns the southern outside church wall, marking the church as a highlighted location on the National Historic Register. The cost of this grand structure, including land, building, and furnishings was $400,000.

Well, color me embarrassed. Turns out the church was completed in 1872, while Francis Scott Key died from pleuritis in 1843.

Let that be a lesson to you.  Do not believe everything I tell you on a free tour around the city.  Between The KoH and I, the Underground family are piss-poor tour guides.

But on second thought, it was a free tour, so what do you want for nothing?  Eggs in your beer?

Despite it's only tenuous connection to the history I thought it had, I love this building.  It's a great example of Gothic Revival Architecture (I looked that up to make sure I was right before I said anything) and I love the different colored stones used in the exterior.  More from the website:

The building is made six of different types of stone. Its extraordinary color (especially when wet) comes from the use of the now rare green serpentine marble from the Falls Road area of Baltimore County, and buff and red sandstone trim. Because neither stone wears well, major repairs and replacements of individual pieces with more stable materials were necessary in 1932 and again in 1978.

It really is more beautiful in the rain.  However, the steps are more slippery too.  Some people will be able to tell you that from experience. 

More pictures: