Built before 1782, the Indian Queen Hotel was one of the first public houses erected in Baltimore. It saw many notable guests in its day, such as Presidents Washington, Adams, Van Buren, and Jackson. Francis Scott Key also spent a night here after he had witnessed the “bombs bursting in air” over Fort McHenry. It was here that he completed the Star-Spangled Banner.
At that time, the proprietor was a notable hotelier, John Gadsby, who had operated several hotels in his lifetime in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA. While he ran the Indian Queen, Mr. Gadsby owned 36 people who worked there as waiters. This made him the largest holder of enslaved workers in Baltimore City.