Clara Barton National Historic Site, Glen Echo

#2 of 8 in Historic Sites in Montgomery County
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
The Clara Barton National Historic Site, which includes the Clara Barton House, was established in 1974 to interpret the life of Clara Barton (1821–1912), an American pioneer teacher, nurse, and humanitarian who was the founder of the American Red Cross. The site is located 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Washington D.C. in Glen Echo, Maryland.

The United States National Historic Site protects 9 acres (0.04 km²) of land at her Glen Echo home including the 38-room former residence of Barton. The site is managed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The first national historic site dedicated to the accomplishments of a woman, it preserves the early history of the American Red Cross and the last home of its founder. Clara Barton spent the last 15 years of her life in her Glen Echo home (1897-1912), and it served as an early headquarters of the American Red Cross as well.
The National Park Service has restored eleven rooms, including the Red Cross offices, parlors and Clara Barton's bedroom. Visitors to Clara Barton National Historic Site can gain a sense of how Barton lived and worked surrounded by all that went into her life's work. Visitors to the site are led through the three levels on a guided tour emphasizing Barton's use of her unusual home. In 2005, 12,529 visitors toured the site.
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  • When Clara Barton finally began to slow down after a life of labor, she "retired" to the house we see today. The site was originally part of the local Chautauqua facility. The house was built with.....  more »
  • My kids (12 and 9) and I visited on a day off from school in April. While the house is unfurnished, the ranger did a great job giving the tour for both kids and adults. Many historic sites are about.....  more »
  • The Clara Barton National Historic Site is a delightful gem, made more delightful by the Park Service guide. The house tour begins with the history of Glen Echo MD, followed by foundation of the American Red Cross, and finally Clara Barton who started the American Red Cross and lived in the historic house. The building served as home, Red Cross headquarters and warehouse. Under renovation, none of the furniture is in place, but photos provide visitors an idea of how everything looked. The history was richly detailed and covered multiple layers of Clara Barton's humanity. The guide answered questions thoughtfully, and, without editorializing, often drew parallels to present day issues. Without his presentation the building would have been a lifeless shell, but he energetically described its occupants and significance to the extent we could imagine conversations and visitors and the busy hum of life. We walked away filled with new respect for a remarkable American, a conscientious humanitarian, and a woman ahead of her time.
  • Some maintenance from the Park Service is in order here. Open for tours on the weekends from noon till 4pm. The grounds are open to wander though its not a huge area, more like a large yard. Clara Barton's home is directly against to Glen Echo Park. The National Park Stamp cancellation is in the Glen Echo Park visitor center. Take some time and research the history before you visit, for the most part you're on your own.
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