The Holliday Street Theatre used to be located directly across from Baltimore’s City Hall, at the present site of War Memorial Plaza. Junius Brutus Booth, the father of John Wilkes Booth, made his first American appearance in the historic playhouse, as did Francis Key’s Star-Spangled Banner. Aside from Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, the Holliday was the oldest playhouse in the country.
Constructed 1794 by Thomas Wignell and Alexander Reinagle, the wood-framed building was given the nickname “Old Drury” by locals. Robert Cary Long rebuilt the theater between 1811 and 1813 after a devastating fire. Long’s building lasted until 1873 when another fire wiped out the historic structure. Rebuilt again in 1874, the Holliday Street Theatre was eventually razed in the 1920s to make way for War Memorial Plaza. This tablet, located at the base of War Memorial Plaza’s southern flagstaff, marks the original spot of the building.