Chevrolet Dealer Near Harpers Ferry, WV
History of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
The area that came to be known as Harpers Ferry is located at the intersection of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. It was originally established by Peter Stephens as a ferry stop between Maryland and Virginia (later West Virginia). The town got the first half of its name from a man named Robert Harper who bought land in order to harness the potential of the water access in the area. In 1794, the nation’s first president, George Washington, chose the area as the location for the new national armory and arsenal. It was officially established by 1796, along with various industries and factories that helped to bring in jobs and increase the population. That very same armory was the site of the infamous raid led by abolitionist, John Brown, in 1859. The American Civil War, in which Harpers Ferry was greatly affected, began shortly after. The town’s location along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad made it a desirable location for both the Union and the Confederacy, thereby making it a hot zone for conflict and destruction.
After the war ended, Harpers Ferry became a popular haven for newly freed slaves and a hub for tourism. Due to its newly acquired historical significance pertaining to the African American community, it garnered immense attention from black citizens. The population grew substantially and the market was flooded with outside business that essentially saved the town. Throughout the next century, Harpers Ferry thrived with the addition of a National Historic Park and its recognition as an official Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, with the efforts of the Harpers Ferry Historic Town Foundation, the town’s natural beauty and rich history remain to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Food and Entertainment in Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry, first and foremost, is known for its rich history that can be found in its many museums and famous historic sites. The John Brown Wax Museum, Industry Museum, and the Restoration Museum are all some worthwhile historical experiences. You may also want to visit some of Harpers Ferry’s many historic landmarks and attractions including the Lockwood House, Jefferson Rock, Arsenal Square, and Murphy Farm. You may also be interested in some of the guided tours in the area such as “O’ Be JoyFull” Historical Tours and Entertainment and Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry. This town is also full of natural beauty to explore. You can take a hike on the Appalachian Trail or enjoy a walk along the Shenandoah Canal. For some amazing views, you will most definitely want to visit The Point and Split Rock Overlook.
After an invigorating day of exploring the town, you will probably be in need of some quality sustenance. So, you will be pleased to find that Harpers Ferry has an abundance of fine eateries and local watering holes to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst. You can grab a bite at The Rabbit Hole, Rossy’s Place, or The Anvil Restaurant. You might also enjoy the cuisine at places like Kelley Farm Kitchen, known for its vegan menu, La Mezzuluna Cafe, a great option for Italian food, and Mi Degollado Mexican Restaurant. Many historic figures including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington hailed the town for its remarkable beauty, and that was before all of the wonderful additions mentioned above. You won’t want to miss out on all this town has to offer!
Fun Facts About Harpers Ferry
- Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry for the first time in 1783. He described the town as a “scene worth a voyage across the Atlantic.”
- Throughout the Civil War, the town of Harpers Ferry changed claims fourteen times before the Union took permanent hold of the area in 1864.
- In 1868, Storer College, a university dedicated to the education of freedmen, was opened in Harpers Ferry. Despite opposition against the primarily black school, it remained open until 1955.
- The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is right next to Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and there is a bike trail that runs through Harpers Ferry to Washington DC.
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