National Historic Site
5801 Oxford Road
Glen Echo, Maryland 20812
Main Phone number
GWMP - Park Headquarters
Clara Barton National Historic Site
Clara Barton National Historic
Site commemorates the life of Clara Barton, founder
of the American Red Cross. The home served as the
headquarters and warehouse for the organization. The
house is shown by guided tour only. Tours start on
the hour between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. There is no
admission charge. The site is open daily but closed
on Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and January 1.
Clara Barton National Historic
Site is located at 5801 Oxford Road, Glen Echo,
Maryland 20812 off of MacArthur Boulevard adjacent
to Glen Echo Park. Glen Echo, Maryland is a suburb
of Washington, D.C. near the Bethesda/Rockville
areas of Maryland and Arlington/McLean/Tysons Corner
areas of Virginia. The following directions from
Virginia and Maryland bring you to the site from
I-495 the Capital Beltway.
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 northwest of
Washington D.C. in Glen Echo, Maryland.
The United States National
Historic Site protects 9 acres of land at her Glen
Echo home including the 38-room former residence of
Barton. The site is managed by the George Washington
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, 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
It was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Clarissa Harlowe Barton
(December 25, 1821 � April 12, 1912) was a pioneer
American teacher, nurse, and humanitarian. She has
been described as having a "strong and
independent spirit" and is best remembered for
organizing the American Red Cross.
Clarissa Harlowe Barton was
born on Christmas day, 1821, in Oxford,
Massachusetts, to Stephen and Sarah Barton. She was
the youngest of five children. Clara's father was a
farmer and horse breeder, while her mother Sarah
managed the household. The two later helped found
the first Universalist Church in Oxford.
In April 1862, after the First
Battle of Bull Run, Barton established an agency to
obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers.
She was given a pass by General William Hammond to
ride in army ambulances to provide comfort to the
soldiers and nurse them back to health and lobbied
the U.S. Army bureaucracy, at first without success,
to bring her own medical supplies to the
Finally, in July 1862, she
obtained permission to travel behind the lines,
eventually reaching some of the grimmest
battlefields of the war and serving during the Siege
of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. In 1864 she
was appointed by Union General Benjamin Franklin
Butler (politician) as the "lady in
charge" of the hospitals at the front of the
Army of the James.
Barton at first dedicated the
American Red Cross to performing disaster relief,
such as after the 1893 Sea Islands Hurricane. This
changed with the advent of the Spanish-American War
during which it aided refugees and prisoners of
In 1896, responding to the
humanitarian crisis in the Ottoman Empire in the
aftermath of the Hamidian Massacres, Barton sailed
to Istanbul and after long negotiations with Abdul
Hamid II, opened the first American International
Red Cross headquarters in the heart of Beijing,
China. Barton herself traveled along with five other
Red Cross expeditions to the Armenian provinces in
the spring of 1896.
Barton also worked in
hospitals in Cuba in 1898 at the age of
seventy-seven. As criticism arose of her
management of the American Red Cross, plus her
advancing age, Barton resigned as president in 1904,
at the age of 83.