Annie Oakley House – Cambridge, Maryland - Atlas Obscura

Annie Oakley House

Historic home of America's sweetheart sharpshooter, Annie Oakley. 


An American superstar who starred in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show starting in 1885, Annie Oakley was a force to be reckoned with. Shooting and hunting by the age of 8, Annie helped to support her family after her father died and they were plunged into poverty, but at 15, much loftier uses for her natural talent with a firearm were presented.

Francis Butler, a traveling show marksman that had blown into town, bet a local hotelier that there wasn’t a man in town that could outshoot him, and he was willing to put his money on it. While he may have been right – there was no man in town he couldn’t shoot circles around – he hadn’t prepared for 15-year-old, 5-foot-tall Annie. After she won the match, he paid his bet and promptly married her.

Setting marksman records well into her 60s despite major injuries sustained in a train accident, Annie went on to be a shining star of the extremely popular Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, traveled the world, and became a standout in American culture for her shooting as well as her feminine moxie, which was idolized by young girls everywhere.

Annie and Frank lived together in this historic, Colonial-revival influenced brick-and-frame from 1913 to 1917. It was meant to be a retirement home in sleepy Cambridge, Maryland, but they soon grew restless and went back to performing. The house, a private residence, is historically protected and stands out from those around it with a few special features that only a sharpshooter would need, the least of which is a roof designed for easy access to shoot at game from the second story.

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