for those interested in the john brown raid may want to visit the execution site in nearby charles town. john brown was executed on this site on december 2 nd 1859. for more information on this historic event see my charles town wv pages. charles town is located seven miles west of harpers ferry on US 340. the site of the execution of john brown is located at the intersection of n. samuel and hunter streets four blocks south of washington street, downtown.
for those interested in the john brown raid the jefferson county courthouse in nearby charles town is worth a visit. john brown and his co-conspirators were tried and convicted at the jefferson county courthouse in november 1859. the jefferson county courthouse was also the location of the 1922 trial of union leader bill blizzard. for more information on this historic site see my charles town wv pages. the jefferson county courthouse is located at 100 e. washington street downtown charles town. charles town is seven miles west of harpers ferry on US 340.
I list this area in 'Off the Beaten Path' because I'm always surprised how many visitors don't take the walk under the railroad trestle out to "The Point". The Point is the junction between the Potomac (on left) and the Shenandoah (on right) Rivers. You look down river (the Potomac) towards Washington. The view is much the same as it was in the 1860's. All of the visible high ground is owned by the park and preserved in it's natural state.
The Potomac River cuts through the Blue Ridge Mountains at this point. The Maryland Heights (on the left) and the Loudon Heights (on the right) are the disjointed pieces of the Blue Ridge. Three states are visible from this point. Maryland (the river and lands to the left), Virginia (Short Hill Mountain downriver on the right) and West Virginia, Loudon Heights (near ridge on the right).
During the Civil War, Harpers Ferry became one of many Union garrison towns where runaway slaves, or "contraband," sought refuge. Following the Civil War, New England Freewill Baptist missionaries acquired several vacant Armory buildings on Camp Hill and, in 1867, started Storer College, an integrated school designed primarily to educate former slaves but open to students of all races and both genders. Frederick Douglass served as a trustee of the college, and delivered a memorable oration on the subject of John Brown here in 1881.
Today, the school grounds are used by the National Park Service operates the Stephen T. Mather Training Center developing programs to improve the skills of employees. Located on the grounds is the National Park Service's Harpers Ferry Design Center. The Design Center creates the video and audio programs for all the national parks, as well as museum exhibits and trail information.
On October 25, 1783, Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry, viewing "the passage of the Patowmac though the Blue Ridge" from a rock that now bears his name. In 1785, Jefferson's description of this view was published in the Notes on the State of Virginia.
This town in West Virginia is not far from Harpers Ferry. It is an attractive town with a historic center. Serious history buffs will find this to be the town where John Brown was tried and hanged for treason against the United States. His revolt in Harpers Ferry was one of the key events which helped divide the country and lead it into civil war.
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