Visiting Harper's Ferry National Historic Park
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
October 9, 2019 6:38am CST
The West Virginia village of Harper’s Ferry sits on a point overlooking where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meet. Maryland is on one shore and Virginia the other. Several historical notes of interest happened here. George Washington appointed a U.S. armory here and weapons manufacturers sprung up along the river. In 1859, abolitionist John Brown made his infamous failed raid. The Civil War Battle of Harper’s Ferry occurred in 1862. One of the country’s first black colleges, Storer, was established. Entrance fees are required at Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park. The visitors center is nothing more than an information desk. Visitors can either take a shuttle bus or walk the two miles to the town itself. Driving in is a bad idea since parking is severely limited. Once there, much to see and do in “Lower Town.” A theater plays the movie “A Place in Time.” The park museum is located there as well as a large gift/bookstore. You can enter John Brown’s Fort where he and his followers holed up before capture. Across the street is John Brown’s Museum that tells his story (he was a pathetic failed businessman grasping to find some meaning to his life), the events that happened at Harper’s Ferry and contains personal items like his rifle and sheep shears. The Industry Museum is interesting for its display of old machinery and explaining how muskets were made. Civil War buffs can enjoy two museums concerning the war between the states. 1862 Battle of Harper’s Ferry recounts how General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson captured Harper’s Ferry for the Confederacy. Across the street is the Civil War Museum filled with artifacts. Storer College gets a museum. This is a genuine old town (not a replica) and there are dry goods store, tavern and other businesses to explore. The park service does not own the entire town just Lower Town. The towering Catholic church of course belongs to the church. The rest of Harper’s Ferry is a regular public town with shops and eateries within easy walking distance. A real tourist mecca. There is more for visitors to experience than just the town. The park service possesses land areas scattered around Harper’s Ferry within all three states. There are mostly Civil War battle sites though a lot of scenic with hiking and driving trails. Harper’s Ferry is one of the most famous names associated with the Civil War.
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