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In 1995, the city of Frederick celebrated its 250th anniversary. The town began as a settlement for German immigrants in the 1740s. It grew quickly as a crossroads between the North and South near the western frontier. It was the site of a meeting by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Gen. Edward Braddock to plan a campaign in the French and Indian War in 1755. In 1814, Frederick attorney Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner after seeing the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Frederick played a key role in the Civil War as troops moved north and south and fought along the Potomac. In July 1864, the Battle of Monocacy was fought south of the town, with the Confederates claiming victory. Confederate General Jubal Early occupied the town, demanding (and receiving) a ransom of $200,000 to prevent burning the city.
Today the town has a major historic district with well preserved homes and commercial buildings. A good place to start is the Frederick Visitor Center, which has brochures and information on the city and surrounding Frederick County. The Visitor Center conducts tours of the historic district on weekends from April through December.