Clara Barton, humanitarian and founder of the American Red Cross, spent the last 15 years of her life in a house in Glen Echo, Maryland, now known as Clara Barton National Historic Site. Here her contributions to American life and her personal achievements are memorialized. Here you can see many of her personal effects and some of the awards given to her. Here, too, you can learn of the substance of her life and see how she lived and worked.
From Glen Echo, you can go on to several other National Park System sites associated with Clara Barton: Antietam, Andersonville, Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Johnstown. Together these diverse sites document her life, her work, and her legacy. Begin here at her house and fill in details of her life as you come across them at the other sites. For example, the lumber you see in the building at Glen Echo was originally used as temporary housing for victims of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood in 1889. After Clara Barton and the Red Cross finished helping the injured and the homeless in that city, the structure was dismantled and shipped to Washington, D.C. Two years later, the materials were used at Glen Echo to construct a national headquarters for the American Red Cross.
The new building had essentially the same lines as the Johnstown structure with various alterations to accommodate the needs of the American Red Cross and Clara Barton herself.
Initially she planned to use this building as a warehouse for American Red Cross supplies. Six years after its construction, the building was remodeled and used not only as 7 a warehouse, but also as the headquarters of the new organization and as the residence for her and her staff. The structure served all purposes well. Clara Barton did not distinguish between herself and the organization she founded. The lines were blurred; she was the Red Cross, and the Red Cross was Clara Barton. That is evident here in the house, for she did not separate living space from working space.