Orpheus Statue Fort McHenry:
The heroic bronze figure in front of you is not, as many suppose, a likeness of Francis Scott Key. The statue represents Orpheus, the artful poet, musician, and singer of Greek mythology.
In 1914 Congress appropriated funds for a monument at Fort McHenry to mark the centennial of the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the defense of Baltimore. Orpheus with the Awkward Foot, the creation of sculptor Charles H. Niehaus, was selected from thirty-four designs submitted in a national competition.
Orpheus is depicted playing a lyre, and stands twenty-four feet from head to toe. The marble base bears a medallion honoring Francis Scott Key, flanked by a procession of allegorical figures. The pedestal contains a time capsule filled with documents of patriotic and historic interest. In 1962 the statue was moved here from its original site near the fort’s principal entrance.