Clara Barton House, 5801 Oxford Road, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Glen Echo, Montgomery County, MD
Significance: The Clara Barton House, dating from 1892-3, is a wood frame, three story structure built originally as a warehouse and headquarters for the American Red Cross. The house is partially constructed from lumber sent first to Washington via the B & O Railroad from dismantled Red Cross emergency relief buildings in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Converted into apartments in the 1930's, the house with many of Miss Barton's original furnishings has sustained various renovations with no permanent damage to its unique character. Located seven miles from Washington, DC on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, the house will be maintained as a national historic site.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N690
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-145
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N812
Survey number: HABS MD-300
Building/structure dates: 1892-1893 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1929-1942 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1897 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 66000037
Clara Barton, (December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912), founder the American Red Cross, declared that the war put the American woman “at least fifty years in advance of the normal position which continued peace would have assigned her.” Clara Barton was born in North Oxford. When Clara was 10, she assigned herself the task of nursing her brother David back to health after he fell from the roof of a barn. Clara learned how to distribute the prescribed medication to her brother, as well as how to place leeches on his body to bleed him (a standard treatment at this time). She continued to care for David long after doctors had given until he made a full recovery. She was a teacher for 12 years at schools in Canada, West Georgia and at open a free school in Bordentown, NJ which was the first ever free school in New Jersey. She was also a patent clerk in Washington D.C., in the US Patent Office. She was the first woman in government office who had received a salary equal to a man's salary. She became a hospital nurse during the American Civil War. Nursing education was not formalized at that time and Clara did not attend nursing school and provided self-taught nursing care. On April 19, 1861, the Baltimore Riot resulted in the first bloodshed of the American Civil War. Victims were transported to Washington D.C. where she lived at the time. Barton went to the railroad station when the victims arrived and nursed 40 men providing crucial assistance to wounded.