Englishman Thomas Twining visited Baltimore, Maryland, in 1787. "We drove in good style into the court-yard of the 'Indian Queen,' a large inn of very respectable appearance...and was shown into the largest room I had ever seen in any hotel even in England. It extended the whole depth of the house, from Queen Street to the great court-yard...At four o'clock we drove into the great yard of the Indian Queen."
The Indian Queen is connected with the story of Francis Scott Key who was trapped in the Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812 British attack on Fort McHenry. He and John Skinner had just secured the release of American Dr. William Beanes, who had been arrested by the British after the burning of Washington. Recognizing the group knew too much of the British plan of attack, they weren't allowed to head to shore until after the Baltimore bombardment was complete.
It at this hotel, that Francis Scott Key found a bed for the night after arriving on land on September 16th. In his room, he compiled all of his notes and finished writing out his 4 verses. The lyrics were published the next day with no title, but it was soon given one by a friend: Defence of Fort McHenry. It was noted that the lyrics could be sung to the music of a well-known British club song called "Anacreon in Heaven."
On September 29, 1809, traveler Samuel Breck stopped in Baltimore and stayed at the Indian Queen, observing: “We alighted at the Indian Queen in Market street, kept by John Gadsby in a style exceeding anything that I recollect to have seen in Europe or America. This inn is so capacious that it accommodates two hundred lodgers, and has two splendid billiard-rooms, large stables and many other appendages. The numerous bed-chambers have all bells, and the servants are more attentive than in any public or private house I ever knew.”